Westmoreland football Q&A with Yough’s Gamal Marballie

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 4:57 PM


The closest Gamal Marballie got to playing quarterback in recent years was on his Xbox.

“I’m pretty good at video games,” the Yough junior said.

But Marballie was thrust into the position on the field when Cougars’ starter Tristan Waldier went down with a knee injury in Week Zero against Serra Catholic.

It was a move he didn’t expect because he figured on being the team’s primary receiver and a shifty rusher.

“It’s been different, but I like it,” Marballie said. “I never thought I’d be a quarterback.”

Since moving under center and restoring order to the position, Marballie has been one of the area’s top dual-threat signal callers. He has passed for 580 yards and seven touchdowns, and rushed for 338 yards and three scores.

He is one of those prototypical, get-the-ball-in-his-hands types of players.

“The more comfortable he gets with (playing QB), the more it shows,” Yough coach Scott Wood said.

“There are a lot of things we can do with him. Am I surprised by what he is doing as a QB? Yes. Am I surprised by what he is doing as a football player? No.”

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Marballie has been a starter since his freshman year. He also plays defensive back for the Cougars (1-3).

Last week, he completed 17 of 32 pass attempts for 324 yards and three touchdowns, including a 62-yard bomb to C.J. Waldier, in a 61-30 loss to Deer Lakes. He also ran for 139 yards and a score in the game.

When Yough beat Uniontown, 25-0, he rushed for 122 yards.

“We got him some reps (at QB) during 7-on-7s,” Wood said. “We knew he’d be ready if we needed him. He is making nice progress for us.”

Marballie is the subject of this week’s Westmoreland County football Q&A.

What has helped you transition so well to playing QB?

Confidence. I play with a lot of confidence. I knew I’d have to take on a leadership role. I hate to lose.

Had you played any quarterback growing up?

Just some in midgets (youth football).

But then, you ran most of the time? Who has worked with you on throwing the ball?

Coach Wood works with me. I always threw to my brother (freshman Khadeem Marballie) in the backyard.

It must have been devastating to lose Tristan Waldier.

It was crushing for us. Really sad. He’s a really good tackler for us on defense.

You tweeted you were dedicating your season to “Grady”?

Yes. Grady Hoffman was a good friend. We had gym class together. He was killed in a car accident.

What helps you improve each week at quarterback?

I study film a lot. I feel like I know the offense inside and out. I enjoy studying the playbook.

Did you look up to any Yough players while you were growing up?

Dustin (Shoaf). I like the way he played. He’s a good dude. I still talk to him.

What did you think when Ben Roethlisberger was injured last week?

It was crazy. At first, I couldn’t tell what happened. (Mason Rudolph) played pretty well.

What is your favorite NFL team?

Saints or Ravens.

Who is your favorite NFL player?

I like (Ravens quarterback) Lamar Jackson. I like to play like him. I like watching his highlights in college and high school.

Is Cougar Mountain really a mountain?

I don’t think, but we have to walk up the hill to get here.

Can’t-miss TV show?

QB1: Beyond the Lights. And SpongeBob, I always watch that.

What is your go-to Primanti’s sandwich?

I don’t like Primanti’s.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

Jioio’s in Greensburg. I love their pizza.

With anchovies?

No way. Black olives for sure.

What musician could you listen to over and over?

I like the old stuff. Tupac, “All Eyes on Me.” I like Biggy Smalls, too.

What is your favorite video game?

NBA 2K.

What is your team’s strength?

We’re a brotherhood. We’re all close. Every now and again, we can get scrappy. But our bond is something nobody can break.

Can Yough reverse course this season?

There is a whole second half of season left. I think we’re going to be a lot more competitive if we play like we can.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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