Dual-threat quarterback gives Southmoreland offense an edge

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021 | 6:19 PM


Spiders and stink bugs make Anthony Govern cower.

A snarling middle linebacker with a score to settle? Not so much.

The senior quarterback plays with an edge, but he has a soft side, too.

“People say I’m a big baby,” he said. “I’m a big teddy bear.”

Fair enough. But his play would say otherwise. The Scotties will be ruled by a tough governing body this season as they try to rekindle the playoff magic of two years ago.

A dual-threat quarterback if there ever was one to play in Alverton, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Govern will take the reins from all-time leading passer Zach Cernuto, who graduated and moved on to Washington & Jefferson, where he might switch to defense.

“I know I can’t be him,” Govern said of Cernuto. “I just want to be the best I can be.”

Govern, who played only one year at quarterback in junior high, is pleased to return to the prominent position. He has been effective for the Scotties for the last two years, running and catching the ball while ruining opponents’ Friday nights from his defensive end spot.

The three-sport athlete (baseball, wrestling) even threw a couple of trick-play touchdowns as a sophomore.

“Anthony has a lot of speed and size,” Scotties coach Dave Keefer said. “He’s more of an H-back, really. Last year, he was a Swiss Army knife for us because he could do so many different things.”

When he wasn’t lined up wide or at tight end, Govern was playing wildcat quarterback.

Keefer said Govern can sling it downfield. But he is more dangerous running the ball.

The Scotties should be one of the faster teams in the Class 3A Interstate Conference.

“He can run people over, and he can get outside and make things happen,” said Keefer, a track coach at the school. “We listed him as a tight end last year. He caught a ton of passes for us.”

Govern pulled in 29 receptions for 365 yards and four touchdowns last season. He had 30 tackles and four sacks on defense.

“Teams aren’t going to be sure if I am going to run or throw it deep,” Govern said. “We have a lot of roll-out stuff. Am I going to run for 15 (yards) or throw for 15?”

When he does throw, Govern will have reliable targets capable of making big plays. The Scotties have about nine uniform combinations, but two main targets lined up wide.

Seniors Isaac Trout and J.J. Bloom, a pair of third-year starters, will be go-to wideouts — and defensive backs. If Govern does chuck it “55 or 60 yards” downfield like they say he can, Trout or Bloom will be there to run under it.

“Anthony can hit the big play,” said Trout, who had 20 receptions last season. “He can run it, too, when he gets in space.”

Govern has confidence in an offensive line that includes senior Kory Ansell and junior Mason Neiderheiser.

“I know I have enough good receivers who will be there if I have to throw,” Govern said. “And I know I can run behind my linemen.”

Govern said what makes this Scotties team unique is its loose attitude. This team likes to have fun.

“So much fun,” Govern said. “We could run and run and run. Do push-ups. Whatever. We enjoy it so much. J.J. Bloom is huge that way. He has like 900 different personalities.”

Trout (jumps) and Bloom (sprints) are track and field athletes.

Govern said his father, Al, and late grandfather, Randy, nurtured him in sports from a young age.

“When I was 4 years old, they would take me outside for like six hours a day,” he said. “It was always such a good time. They pushed me so hard in sports. My pap would text me before every game or match, ‘Play like a champion.’”

Govern said he plans to play for his grandfather, who died in November, as well as former teammate Brandon Peterson, who was killed in a vehicle accident about a month later.

School spirit also means something to him.

“I don’t do this for myself,” he said. “I live and breathe Southmoreland. It’s for my team and community.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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