On some offensive drives this season, Northwest‘s Joshua Gills has started at quarterback, then moved to slot – throwing, running and receiving in one series of plays. Then, when the ball changes hands, he’s moved to cornerback on defense.
It’s not rare to see a talented player used in such utility fashion, but it was rare for the Jaguars Friday night against Paint Branch when Gills solely played quarterback in the second half. He only logged a couple plays on defense. Quarterback is not necessarily his natural position, yet Northwest needed its best player to have every snap in his hands if it was going to overcome a 21-7 deficit at the break.
” No one held their heads. For most teams, they would give up at the point,” Gills said. “We just kept fighting.”
Gills was sensational in the comeback, 31-28, overtime win, with the pivotal play coming early in the third quarter, when he split the Panthers’ defense with his legs and ran 63 yards for a touchdown (he also ran for a 21-yard touchdown earlier in the game). It was Gills who went to the coaching staff at halftime of the game and “suggested” a few more zone-read plays, based on the creases and missed opportunities he saw in the first two quarters.
“We came out and executed well, and came out with the win,” Gills said. “I knew we needed a spark at some point, and that play got the team going.”
Gills is likely to carry one of the most interesting statistic lines in the area. He has completed 11-of-25 passes, with one touchdown. He has rushed 61 times for 385 yards and eight touchdowns, and he has caught 10 balls for 179 yards and two touchdowns. And he has blocked two punts in six games, one of which he returned for another touchdown.
Those kind of instincts shown on Friday, and those kind of numbers strewn across the field, could land Gills a deal at the next level. He doesn’t have any offers at the moment, but was visited by New Hampshire before Friday’s game – and has received recent interest from Johns Hopkins. He could end up playing quarterback at either school, but both are coming at him as an athlete. That’s a pitch he’s grown accustomed to hearing.
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