Next man up.
It’s an age-old, coach speak expression which usually refers to a player stepping in and performing at a high level due to injury or disciplinary suspension.
At Desert Edge High School it simply means be ready for your time, particularly at quarterback, where the Scorpions are starting a fresh face for the third consecutive season.
Through six games sophomore Tehran Thomas has had no problem with the big stage and the bright lights. He rushed 21 times for 130 yards (6.19/attempt) including a 46-yard score and added another 115 and a touchdown through the air as Edge routed cross-town rival and previously unbeaten Verrado 40-7 Friday night in Goodyear.
“It’s been fun they [the quarterbacks] have all been three different kids, too,” Scorpions head coach Rich Wellbrock told Sports360AZ.com in the locker room after the game. “It’s been fun to watch him…he’s been doing a great job.”
Thomas has been a quick study. Leading DEHS to 529 total yards on a team who’s getting it done on the field (6-1) and in the classroom with a combined varsity roster grade-point-average of 3.26 this semester.
He was able to get his feet wet at the varsity level last season as a freshman seeing spot duty in five games and believes the reps helped him prepare for what to expect this fall taking the reigns full-time.
“It was great,” Thomas explained. “I got to see what happened when people made mistakes and how they bounce back. I got better from that. Knowing that we’re going to grow together over the next couple years [and] keep playing together.”
The Scorpions staff have to be extremely pleased with a quick start to the season considering 17 of the 22 first-team starters against the neighborhood Vipers were underclassmen. Edge is a program used to winning and sustained success reaching the state semifinals or beyond three of the past four seasons. Wellbrock’s balanced offensive attack features two starting freshman offensive lineman, a freshman starting wide receiver and one of the elite young backs in the state in sophomore Roshaun Johnson (nearly 200 total yards, three touchdowns Friday).
Youth is being served and it starts with the 5’10, 190-pound Thomas behind center.
“He’s still got a long ways to go and that’s a great thing…he’s [only] a sophomore.”
Wellbrock certainly won’t welcome or need a change at quarterback this time for a couple more years.