Fresh off his team’s disappointing loss at Marriotts Ridge in early October, Oakland Mills Coach Thomas Browne didn’t even make it off the bus before he started looking for answers. Without the explosiveness of do-it-all quarterback Tre Hopkins, who was suffering from a calf injury, the offense was stagnant in a second straight loss.

So, from the bus, Browne called his junior varsity coach and told him the deal: He would bring up sophomore quarterback Aaron Gibson for a few days of practice. If Browne liked what he saw, the varsity team would have its new quarterback. If not, Gibson would be back on JV by that Friday night’s game.

Fast forward three weeks to the chilly Halloween-eve night in Columbia, and Gibson and the host Scorpions rattled off their third straight win. In this one, a 40-0 smackdown over Atholton, the sophomore threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for two touchdowns.

“I’ve had to fill in [Hopkins’s] shoes,” Gibson said. “It’s been tough, but I’m just working and working. I’ve done what I needed to do to fill those shoes.”

And then some. In three games, the sophomore has thrown for more than 13 touchdowns and 900 yards.

“I’m trying to stay humble as much as I can because people are expecting these things from me every game,” Gibson said. “I’m just trying to give them what they want.”

With the verbiage and scheme consistent between varisty and junior varsity, the learning curve came not when Gibson got the call up, but during the summer when he had to learn the whole new concept after transferring into the school system.

On Friday night, he didn’t miss a beat, leading the Oregon-fast offense to three touchdowns before Atholton (5-4, 5-4 Howard) managed its opening first down.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Browne said, thinking back to that mid-week tryout session three weeks ago. “I wondered if he’d be able to play with the same tempo that we do on varsity. . . . Couldn’t be happier. He made a couple mistakes tonight, but that’s going to happen.”

Gibson’s mistakes — two interceptions inside the red zone — would have been costlier in a closer contest, but with weapons such as Hopkins chipping in, the Scorpions (7-2, 7-2) were never in danger.

After missing the Marriots Ridge game, Hopkins was limited through the next two. On Friday, he was finally back to 100 percent and caught two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown, while running 11 times for 52 yards and another score.

“[Gibson] threw six touchdowns his first game filling in,” Hopkins said. “We knew then that he was going to be a big factor. Now that I’m healthy and at receiver, we’re all right where we need to be.”