The platooning of Bearcats quarterbacks has worked for many years at Rock Hill High. Former coach Jim Ringer swapped his QBs on Friday nights as freely as someone saying "hit me" in a game of five-card draw.
Bearcat fans will remember the names of Al Peterson and Jonathan Hefney, who led the team to a state title in 2002. They'll also recall Ben Poore and Delvin Ware, who helped win it again in 2004.
The platooning would often send PA announcers into a frenzy trying to find a roster to see which quarterback was in the game.
Last year was the same situation for coach Joe Montgomery and Rock Hill.
Jujuan Crockett played quarterback when Johnathan Meeks was lined up in one of the many different positions he played other than quarterback. But Meeks was valuable taking snaps, as well. Montgomery used them as he saw fit.
Crockett was the passer, Meeks was the do-everything runner.
Meeks has graduated and Crockett is not on a football field this season. That left a hole in the Rock Hill offense. Fortunately, Montgomery only had to look as far as the P.E. class he teaches to decide juniors Randall Dixon and Jatavious Stewart would be his quarterbacks.
Dixon is the passer, Stewart is the do-everything runner.
Montgomery had his P.E. students outside last spring playing tag football. Dixon and Stewart were the first two kids chosen when sides were picked.
"I was throwing and Jatavious was catching," Dixon said. "Coach Montgomery saw I could throw and asked me to play quarterback."
Dixon agreed to do so, even though he had never played the position. He played defensive end and tight end on the junior varsity team last year.
Stewart is similar to Meeks, not in size, but in versatility. Meeks was 6-2 and 185 pounds. Stewart is 5-10 and says he is 180 pounds. The roster has him at 160. Stewart was the starting inside linebacker for Montgomery in 2007.
Just put Stewart on the field and let him make plays. He will start at free safety on defense and he'll be the No. 2 receiver in Montgomery's offense when he's not at quarterback.
The transition has produced good results through the summer and into the preseason. The Bearcats participated in several 7-on-7 passing tournaments and won at Ridge View, beating out 15 other teams.
Rock Hill went on to set a Herald Football Jamboree record two weeks ago by scoring 34 points against Weddington (N.C.). Dixon threw a pair of touchdown passes in that onslaught.
"I'm confident. I'll do anything to make the team better," Dixon said. "In our scrimmages and the Jamboree we have executed our plays very well."
The real test though is tonight at Wando. Will those preseason pass-happy points continue to light up the scoreboard?
"I just gotta make my reads. Our receivers are going to be faster than (Wando's) D-backs," Dixon said.
That should allow for some wide-open targets.
"We're ready to show everyone that we are better than they think we are," Stewart said.
Dixon has been taking about 90 percent of the snaps in practice, Montgomery said. He may play the whole game under center at Wando tonight, or not.
"I'll change (quarterbacks) when I feel like we need it," Montgomery said, as though he enjoys the uncertainty.
He said he plans to go no-huddle at Wando. But then backed off that statement saying some games he will go no-huddle. He won't give Wando any hints as to what they'll see.
"We need to find our identity. and under me, it is going to mean throwing the ball," Montgomery said. "What I don't know yet is who is going to be our go-to receiver on third-and-4, third-and-5 situations. It could be Xavier McDaniel or Asa Watson or Jatavious."
Throwing the ball Montgomery-style is called "The Microwave." Montgomery came up with the name because the offense can "heat up quick."
"We don't have a bunch of 6-4 lineman to run behind. We do have a lot of small, quick kids to pass protect. The Microwave is the best system for that," Montgomery said.
The Microwave is a big change from the Bearcats' I-formation last year. It is an adaptation of the "Air Raid" offense popularized by Valdosta State and coach Hal Mumme.
The system is now a staple at Appalachian State, Elon and Georgia State. Montgomery and his coaching staff traveled to each of the three schools to learn more about the offense.
"We ran the ball more last year than we will now," Montgomery explained. "The kids love the offense. It's simple, really. There's nothing to it. It is what kids play in P.E. Just get out, and get open. It is a very simple way to play."
If the offense heats up quick against Wando tonight, it could mean simply, 1-0.