Oct/18/12 08:58 AM Filed in: Vinny Testaverde
Two nights before his team's must-win encounter with undefeated district foe Lakewood, Jesuit coach James Harrell announced he is making another quarterback change.
This time, he's opting for a kid with three varsity completions -- and six prominent syllables -- to his name.
Vincent Testaverde, a 6-foot-1 junior who wears the same jersey number (14) as his Heisman Trophy-winning father, becomes the Tigers' third starter of the season behind seniors Leland Saile and D.J. Diaz.
"They've both been afforded opportunities to start, so now it's his turn," Harrell told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday evening.
Though Testaverde has performed modestly (3-for-7, 38 yards, one interception) in limited action this season, Harrell said his arm and accuracy give Jesuit (5-2, 5-1) the best chance to win should the Tigers have to veer from the power run game they've employed almost exclusively the last month.
In its last four games, all victories against teams with losing records, Jesuit has attempted 28 passes but run for more than 1,100 yards.
"I think right now, he's deserving of an opportunity based on the amount of progression that he's made in such a short time," Harrell said.
"He's just been working hard, and now, I think when you play a team of Lakewood's magnitude, we not only have to be able to run the ball but we have to be able to throw it. I feel confident that if we have to throw the ball, he's the guy that can get it done."
A Jesuit win, coupled with a victory against 2-4 Gibbs next week, gives the Tigers no worse than a share of the Class 5A, District 8 title. If they lose and Robinson tops Spoto on Thursday, they're eliminated from playoff contention.