TAMPA — Garrett Young wasn’t always a dual-threat quarterback. Through his sophomore season, the now senior was a classic drop-back passer.
During the spring game at the end of his sophomore year, Young had a play in which he was flushed from the pocket and he ran. He said that play gave him the confidence to keep running.
Young’s opponents wish he would stop running. Last year, Young passed for more than 1,800 yards and ran for 600 — and Cambridge has benefited from the added dimension.
“It just opened up our offense a lot more,” Young said.
Young might be even better this season. He worked in the offseason on his technique and added arm strength. Young might not notice the added strength, but his receivers surely have.
“Some of the receivers will ask, ‘Why did you throw it so hard,’ ” Young said.
While he doesn’t approve of Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel’s off-the-field antics, Young said he does like Manziel’s play on the field.
In fact, Young might put up Manziel-like numbers this season.
“My goal is 2,000 passing and 1,000 rushing,” Young said.
Colleges are taking notice of Young, who has gotten looks by FCS schools.
Cambridge is hoping Young can lead the team to the postseason in his final year under the Friday night lights.
“We want to win the district,” Young said.
Cambridge runs a spread attack that seeks balance with an effective running game. According to head coach Bob Dare, Cambridge doesn’t do well when forced to predominately throw the ball.
“We try to stick to 50 percent run and 50 percent pass. If we get stuck throwing more than that, it is a bad sign,” Dare said.
It helps that Cambridge has senior dual-threat quarterback Garrett Young. Last year, Young threw for more than 1,800 yards with 20 TDs and only three interceptions. He also was the team’s leading runner with more than 600 yards and 14 TDs.
Look for sophomore Zach Stein and freshman Andrew Cunningham to help out in the running game. Cunningham averaged more than 7 yards a carry and had seven touchdowns last year as an eighth-grader.
Cambridge was hurt by big plays last season. This season, the Lancers hope to tighten up those mistakes and limit big plays by the opposition.
“We gave up too many big plays last year. We need to be more sound in tackling and develop a culture where we all swarm to the ball,” Dare said.
While Cambridge will look for more fundamental tackles, that doesn’t mean the Lancers are going to back off their opponents.
“We have a gap-control defense and will play multiple fronts. We are focusing on attacking the offense this year,” Dare said.
Cambridge has gone 6-4 the past three seasons. Dare is looking to get over that hump and make the playoffs after finishing third in the district last year. Cambridge plays in a competitive Class 2A district that will see the Lancers travel outside of Hillsborough County for five of their six road games.
“We don’t have a weak team in our district,” Dare said. “We have to stay at a high level week to week.
♦ About The Lancers
Stadium: Skyway Park, 4840 Independence Parkway, Tampa
Class-District: 2A-5 (with Bradenton Christian, Canterbury, Carrollwood Day, Indian Rocks Christian and Northside Christian)
Coach: Bob Dare (26-24, Sixth Season)
Last season: 6-4