Glenelg's McQuigg has a season to go as a record-maker Football: Gladiators' 6-foot-3 quarterback has a shot at the state record for passing yardage if he keeps the ball flying next fall at this year's rate.

November 06, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Dig out the state and county football records. Glenelg quarterback Zack McQuigg's name might enter them after next season.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior has his eyes set on the state career passing yardage record of 4,768 set by Erik Lipton of Arundel from 1994-1996.

And he's much closer to the county career passing yardage record of 3,351 yards set by Jim Traber of Wilde Lake.

With one game left this season, McQuigg has a career total of 2,585 yards. Saturday's opponent, Centennial, lacks a strong pass defense, so a 200-plus day is possible. That would mean McQuigg could break the state record with a senior season of just under 2,000 yards -- also possible.

This season, McQuigg has completed 98 of 194 passes for 1,461 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has thrown just six interceptions.

Those numbers are more impressive considering he's been sacked 28 times this season and normally passes on the run.

"We run mostly play-action stuff, and I don't get a lot of time to get rid of it," McQuigg said. "But lately we've gone to the shotgun, and that's bought me more time. And our blocking has improved a lot the last few weeks. Our center, Joe Caruso, and right tackle Spence Baxter are our best pass blockers. I'd like to be able to do more drop-back."

As a sophomore, he completed 87 of 169 passes for 1,124 yards and seven touchdowns and made second-team All-County. He threw nine interceptions. So this season represents a dramatic improvement in his ratio of touchdown passes to interceptions. The stat pleases him.

"My dad worked with me in the backyard on how to hide the ball, and that has bought me some time. Our running backs fake real well, which helps a lot, too," he said.

His father, Mike, was a high school and semi-pro quarterback.

McQuigg excels as a passer because of his strong arm and ability to read defenses. He has thrown the ball 60 yards in practice. His longest touchdown pass was for 80 yards the last play of last season.

"He knows the defense before the snap and picks out open receivers, and that sets him apart, especially at his age," Glenelg coach John Davis said.

McQuigg, 16, said he learned to read defenses by watching a lot of football on television. His father helps him analyze defenses.

His favorite team is Miami and favorite quarterback is Dan Marino. He wears Marino's No. 13.

McQuigg has impressed most opposing coaches.

"He was awesome," Mount Hebron coach Larry Luthe said. "He found the second receiver a lot and was very patient. I thought he could score on us at any time."

McQuigg threw for 292 yards against Mount Hebron -- his second-best day. He threw for 300 against Atholton. And he tallied 214 yards and four touchdowns against South Carroll. Against Oakland Mills his yardage totaled 196.

His worst day was 67 yards against Hammond.

"They pressured us most of the game," he said. "And I held it too long."

He has some fine receivers. Tight end Mike Rice has 33 catches for 470 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver J. T. Smart has 32 catches for 495 yards and four touchdowns.

His organized football experience dates back to the seventh grade, when he played for the Columbia Bulldogs. He was back-up quarterback that season but started as an eighth-grader.

Howard's Gerald Smith and Wilde Lake's Luke Vanderwagen were two of the best-known players on that team.

Maryland is taking a look at some football game films of him, and Michigan, Virginia and Syracuse have sent letters of interest.

McQuigg made second-team All-County in lacrosse last season, his second on varsity.

"I'd like to play football or lacrosse somewhere," he said.

He has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and scored 1,150 on the PSAT.

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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