PEMBROKE — Whatever clear-cut decision that seemed to come from the quarterback battle for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team after its season opening loss at Winston-Salem State got complicated on Saturday.
In the Braves’ 51-6 win in dominating fashion in their home opener against Elizabeth City State, both freshman quarterbacks Josh Dale and Josh Jones directed the offense to 193 total yards through the air in a game where passing wasn’t needed after the Braves built a three-touchdown lead in the second quarter and didn’t slow down.
Both also had one touchdown pass in the game.
“We still need to look at film and see what the film tells us in terms of execution,” Richardson said about the still murking quarterback battle. “We’re going to keep evaluating and make sure we put ourselves in the best position possible at that position.”
Jones was named the starter after passing for over 250 yards and helping the Braves back from a big deficit in his collegiate debut, and rightfully so with a pair of touchdown passes. The battle seemed over, barring a bad outing from Jones against the Vikings, which didn’t happen, but Dale responded with a near-perfect passing performance on Saturday.
Just like in the opener, the Braves switched quarterbacks in the second quarter. For the offensive players sharing the huddle with the interchanging quarterbacks, there was no real change in the dynamic.
“We go based on a system. It doesn’t matter who is the guy in there,” UNCP running back Josh Sheridan said. “We back them up no matter what. There’s no change, we keep the same beat.”
Dale came in for his one drive in the first half, completing all five pass attempts, including a back-shoulder throw in the end zone to Tyshawn Carter for a 12-yard score midway through the second quarter, putting the Braves up 24-0.
That’s when the drama started.
Jones responded to the quarterback battle seven minutes later with a 44-yard pump-and-go pass in stride to Quay Threatt, a throw that a QB1 makes, but didn’t get a chance to up until that point in the game as the Braves were looking to establish the run.
In the second half, Jones directed the offense for three drives that all went into Elizabeth City State territory and ended with a touchdown, a missed field goal and a successful field goal.
Dale then came in for the fourth quarter to lead a drive that ended with a field goal, with the redshirt freshman going 4-for-5 with 55 yards.
The quarterback saga continues next week at Catawba.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.