A year ago, the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division was awash in veteran quarterbacks, as five of the six teams had returners under center.

Not surprisingly, four of those teams qualified for the playoffs.

In 2018, however, it is the complete opposite as all six teams will have first-time varsity starting quarterbacks.

Unlike the pro and college games, however, the high school quarterback position, especially in the PAL, is not necessarily the face of a team. Most of the time, the quarterback is asked to simply run the offense and make plays when given the opportunity.

Just like any other player.

“If you’re a program that all you do is hang your hat on throwing the ball and you have a brand-new quarterback, that’s going to be a little dicey,” said Aragon head coach Steve Sell. “It’s certainly important to have a (competent) quarterback, but he doesn’t have to carry our team.”

Such is the case with several of the Bay Division teams as only Menlo School and Terra Nova rely heavily on the pass. The other four squads — Aragon, Half Moon Bay, Menlo-Atherton and Sacred Heart Prep — all tend to feature run-first offenses.

“It’s our job as coaches to put players in position to be successful,” said M-A head coach Adhir Ravipati. “You know (Bay Division quarterbacks) will be ready by the start of league (play).”

Ravipati will have the added pressure of getting two guys playing time, but the decision has been made for him the first half of the season. An injury to Jack Alexander, a junior, that has him out until at least late September, means senior Feleti Malupo will handle a bulk of the duties under center.

Last year, Malupo moved into a starting linebacker position halfway through the season.

Ravipati, however, has no qualms about Malupo as his signal caller.

“He was our backup quarterback last year,” Ravipati said. “We’ll be OK with him.”

Aragon’s new starter, senior Sean Budiman, may have the easiest of transitions. The Dons will feature one of the best running back tandems in the entire PAL in Paul Lautaimi and Cam Grant, who accounted for 2,100 of the team’s 2,600 rushing yards in 2017.

Add in three returning offensive linemen in Liam Laughlin, Michael Killcullen and Ben Nembhard and the surrounding talent should make up for any lack of experience by the quarterback.

“When we lost our backup quarterback (last year), we started to develop Sean and he really took to it,” Sell said. “His footwork and technique are very good.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Half Moon Bay, which not only is breaking in a new starting quarterback, it is grooming a new quarterback, period. Tristan Hofmann, who started at linebacker and was a part-time running back as a freshman last year, is transitioning to quarterback this season. An effective runner, Hofmann should have no problems picking up Cougars’ head coach Keith Holden’s run offense, but he may have his work cut out for throwing the ball. He completed one of four attempts last year — that one completion went for a 34-yard touchdown.

Hofmann, however, doesn’t have a lot of experienced weapons around him, so the Cougars’ offense could be a work in progress for at least the first half of the year.

Sacred Heart Prep head coach Mark Grieb wasn’t prepared to name his starter when interviewed last week, but it can be expected Raymond Price III will eventually have a say in who does get the starting nod. Only a sophomore, Price is a rising dual-threat quarterback.

If anyone can get the best out of their signal caller, it’s Grieb, who quarterbacked the San Jose Sabercats of the Arena Football League to several AFL championships.

While he didn’t want to fully commit to a starter, he did have some general ideas about the position.

“Whether you’re a senior or a sophomore, you have to have [good players] around him,” Grieb said. “There is no substitute for experience, however.”

Menlo School and Terra Nova, on the other hand, need to have their starting quarterbacks ramp up their development timeline if those teams are to be successful. Both teams run a version of the run-and-shoot, spread-and-shred types of offense.

Of the two, Menlo might be in a better position to hit the ground running as projected starting quarterback Kevin Alarcon appeared in eight games last season, including several as a starter when Emilio Simbeck was down with injury.

‘He did get a lot of playing time (in 2017),” said new Menlo head coach Josh Bowie. “His in-depth knowledge of what we do is outstanding.”

At Terra Nova, head coach Tim Adams is looking forward to seeing what senior Jared Julian can do as the starter.

“The last three years, it’s been kind of guys who throw the ball, but not really run the ball,” Adams said. “[Julian] is going to run the ball. That’s what is going to put a lot of pressure on defenses.”

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