With options under center, Penn-Trafford could go off script offensively

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | 5:30 PM

Senior Gabe Dunlap and junior Ethan Carr once competed for the starting quarterback spot at Penn-Trafford. The friendly competition brought out the best in each athlete as they pushed each other to improve.

In the end, there were no hard feelings. That is because both have become primary players — principal characters with big-play ability — in the Warriors’ scheme.

Their efforts could help take the team a long way in WPIAL Class 5A.

Don’t get the wrong idea: Penn-Trafford is not a two-quarterback team — in the true sense that Dunlap and Carr will be splitting snaps. Both will get the call to move the football, but in different ways.

Dunlap appears to be the unquestioned starter at QB. But the versatile Carr is ready to move under center or line up in the Wildcat formation at any time.

He will be a viable receiving target for Dunlap and also is expected to return kicks.

“Ethan is a great athlete,” Dunlap said. “He’s also a big receiver, which is always nice to have. We have a lot of guys who can catch the ball and all of our linemen are back.”

Dunlap (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) passed for 1,306 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and also rushed for 971 yards and 12 scores.

“Gabe is our quarterback,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. “But with a player like Ethan, you want to have the ball in his hands a lot. He needs to get touches. He is a QB, yes, but he is a QB who can do a lot of things.”

If Dunlap is a dual-threat, Carr is a multiple-threat. Plan on the Warriors going off script from time to time; with Carr’s athleticism, there are options.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Carr ran for 197 yards on 29 carries last season and rushed for three touchdowns. He caught four passes for 50 yards and a score, and completed 2 of 11 pass attempts for 37 yards and a score.

“Collectively, we all need to play better on special teams,” Carr said. “That’s why we lost (to Peters Township in the playoffs) last year. But we can be pretty good (offensively). With two QBs, there is so much we can do: Trick plays, Wildcat, whatever. I want to be a Swiss Army knife; I’m ready.”

Dunlap believes he is well-suited to take the reins at quarterback in his second year as the starter.

“The speed of the game was a big thing for me,” he said. “But I got used to it. You’re not fully prepared for how fast varsity football is until you’re out there. I feel more confident with a year under my belt. I feel I have great chemistry with all my teammates.”

Penn-Trafford, which finished 9-3 last season and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals, will begin the season as the No. 3-ranked team in WPIAL Class 5A by the Tribune-Review.

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


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