Two-quarterback system pays dividends for Milan offense
Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com
Jesse Hoskins knows how the math usually works when it comes to utilizing multiple quarterbacks.
“People say if you have two quarterbacks you don’t have any,” Hoskins said.
But the second-year Milan head coach instituted a two-quarterback system at the start of the season, and has watched both Justin Aceves and Robert Kanitz become key contributors to the undefeated Big Reds team.
Both took their turns shining in the last two weeks of the season. Last week, in a win over Carleton Airport, Aceves starred with an 11-for-15, two touchdown performance, his best of the year.
Friday against Lincoln, in a 36-14 Milan win, Aceves threw only four times on a rainy night, while Kanitz had a career night, rushing for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
“It’s working good,” Kanitz said. “We’re both unselfish, and we know that this is what it’s going to take to win it, and we’re willing to do it.”
This is hardly a typical two-quarterback system. Kanitz lines up at quarterback and takes snaps, but has only thrown the ball five times all year. Aceves plays the more typical quarterback role, rarely rushing.
Having Kanitz in the backfield, alongside Arthur Dukes and his 1,454 rushing yards, gives Milan the benefit of two strong running backs options on many plays.
That came in handy Friday. After Milan struggled to mount a consistent rushing attack during the first half, Hoskins called for fakes to Dukes in the second half, opening up space for Kanitz.
“Arthur Dukes was very unselfish, faking over and over again, and Kanitz is a workhorse,” Hoskins said.
And Kanitz made use of the space, with four rushes over 30 yards.
“He’s a workhorse, he’s the guy that you want with the ball in his hands in a tough situation," Hoskins said. "He’s just one of the toughest kids that I’ve ever coached. He’s Milan born and bred and he loves Milan football, and you can just see it in the way that he runs."
Dukes finished with 156 yards and a score.
And with 52 rushes for more than 400 yards combined, the system wore down on the Lincoln defense as the game went on.
“We kind of wore out at the end of the game,” Lincoln coach Chris Westfall said.