Piedmont’s head coach Steve Smith does not believe in that.
“We’ve played two quarterbacks pretty much every year since I’ve been here,” Smith said. “I’ve seen people before have a quarterback go down in the middle of the year and struggle because there’s nobody else ready to play.”
Playing two quarterbacks is not as uncommon as it used to be. Playing three, however, is still relatively unusual, but that’s what the Bulldogs do regularly.
It has worked well so far for Piedmont, which is 6-0 and averaging 50.3 points a game. The school record for a season is 35.4, set in 2011.
The trio has combined for 811 yards through the air with 13 touchdowns. They have done their share in the Bulldogs’ run-based offense by rushing for 302 yards and two touchdowns.
“All three of these guys do a lot of good things,” Smith said. “They all have certain qualities and strengths that they bring to the table that make our team better.”
The Bulldogs had been preparing for junior Tyler Lusk and freshman Taylor Hayes to be the quarterback duo this season. Then, senior quarterback Ty Sparks transferred in from Randolph County.
Sparks is the starter and takes the most snaps of the trio. Lusk often will enter early as the chief backup, while Hayes is a solid runner, who sometimes will take control when Piedmont needs to keep the ball on the ground.
“I normally just come on for short-yardage,” Hayes said. “I try to get the hard-nose yards for the offense whenever we need it.”
Sparks is the most experienced of the three, having started two seasons at Randolph County before transferring to Piedmont.
“I think my experience has really helped me throughout this season,” Sparks said. “I’ve been in all kinds of game situations, managing the game and coming in at crunch time.”
Added Smith: “The biggest thing about Ty probably is just his instincts. Just the little nuances of the game that comes with playing-time and experience and not turning the football over. That’s something we really stress to our quarterbacks.”
Lusk and Hayes spend most of the game on the field helping lead a defense that allows only 8.3 points a game. Lusk starts at safety, and Hayes is a starting linebacker. Lusk also started at safety in 2012, and Hayes lettered as an eighth-grader.
“Tyler is kind of our quarterback on defense,” Smith said. “He helps people get lined up secondary wise and making calls there.”
Hayes leads the team in tackles with 59. Smith said Hayes has a “headhunter’s mentality.” That is a mentality that he shows on both sides of the ball.
“He looks for contact,” Smith said. “He’s a contact magnet. He loves contact.”