Long and short of QB job

October 10, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Francis Scott Key senior quarterback Jordan Chiaruttini isn't going to overwhelm opposing defenses with a great arm or exceptional speed.

A 50-yard throw downfield isn't likely to happen, and Key coach Mike Coons had to sell his 5-foot-8, 160-pound leader on the shorter, 10- to 15-yard passes.

"It bugs him, but I tell him if our guys can catch it and run another 30 yards, it's about the same. He can get it where we need it," Coons said.

At 3-2, the Eagles are off to their best start since Coons took over the program seven years ago.

There's a new kind of confidence and attitude that has come with their breakthrough season and it's one Chiaruttini has well in perspective. Ask him about the season and the reply is quick and direct: "We're working on it and not done yet."

Chiaruttini -- with his intelligence, strong work ethic and ability to smoothly run a balanced Eagles offense -- is a big reason.

"The intangibles are what makes him what he is," Coons said. "He has an innate sense of what has to be done to make our offense work. He runs things, he's in charge and I don't think we taught him that. He showed up with that and has developed it a bit more since he's been here."

Chiaruttini has completed 34 of 81 attempts for 464 yards and eight touchdowns this season. The improved passing game has been a good complement to the Eagles' running game, led by senior Cortney Woodyard.

"We can mix it up and now teams can't predict us," Chiaruttini said. "I like knowing every time we have the football, if we do the right things, we can score."

Two Fridays ago, he had a career night with four touchdown throws in a pivotal 34-20 win over Catoctin. In this past Friday's game against Boonsboro, he said he didn't play well, but the Eagles still came away with a win. On defense, where Chiaruttini sees time at strong safety and on the corner, Key stood its ground when needed. He's learned from the two-week lesson.

"Last week [against Catoctin], I sat in the pocket waiting for things to happen. This week, I tried to make things happen. I have to be calm and not do too much," he said.

That gets back to the intangibles Coons likes so much from Chiaruttini.

"When he makes a mistake out there he'll come to the sideline and let you know he knows he did and that it won't happen again," Coons said.

"He's also not afraid to get on a teammate if they make a mistake and he does it in a way that's not abrupt or personal. That's something young kids have a hard time with, but they take it well from him."

This week Key is at undefeated Middletown and the Eagles aren't planning on backing down.

"We went up there two years ago without as much talent and almost knocked them off. And they may have had more talent back then," Chiaruttini said. "I can't think of us as underdogs."

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