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Friends battling for starting quarterback job at Oak Ridge

By: Matt Long
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Two players with the same goal: Be Oak Ridge High’s starting quarterback. Oak Ridge senior Frank Trifeletti and junior Jason Samuels are battling for the starting job and only one thing is for sure; one player will achieve their goal and the other will not. What could be a tense situation is not. Both players said it’s a friendly competition and that he is good friends with the other. Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere is proud of the way that each player has handled the competition for the job. “Frank and Jason are so supportive of each other and are both team guys,” Cavaliere said. “Their attitude toward the competition has found it’s way into the team and I know that the team would play for either guy. It’s been a real positive competition.” Frank, 17, is a 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound left-hander, who last led the Oak Ridge JV team to a 7-3 record two years ago. “I like being the leader,” Trifeletti said. “I like being the guy that everyone looks to.” Samuels, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 175-pound right-hander quarterbacked the Oak Ridge JV team to an 8-2 mark a season ago and played at Folsom High as a freshman. He’s been a quarterback for eight years, coming up through Folsom’s youth program. Like Trifeletti, Samuels likes the leadership role that the quarterback position offers. “My dad was a quarterback and my cousin’s a quarterback,” Samuels said. “It’s just what I love to do.” Samuels attended two camps over the summer, the Nike Camp in Oregon and the Schuman Camp in Sacramento. Trifeletti also went to the Oakland combine, which was basically a camp to test his agility and athletic ability. “I felt that I competed really well against older guys and held my own,” Samuels said at the camps. Both players enjoyed their time at the Oak Ridge team camp at Fresno State. “We had a really good camp,” Trifeletti said. “We played really well and the team came together well.” Samuels added, “It was a great experience for me because it was my first varsity snaps. I felt comfortable and the team played awesome football.” Picking the starting quarterback will be a difficult decision for the Oak Ridge coaching staff, if not for any other reason than because the quarterbacks are so different, each bringing something different to the offense. “Jason is taller and more of a pocket passer, while I’m more of a roll-out guy,” Trifeletti said. “I try to run it when I can.” Cavaliere added, “Frank has a little more experience and is real strong with his tempo and his execution of the offense. He’s a really good athlete and his good with his feet and is a good runner. “Jason has a strong arm, is an accurate passer and can throw the ball well downfield.” While the quarterbacks are different physically and bring a separate set of skills to the offense, both have the same goals: Be the starting quarterback and other than that, they both want the team to qualify for the playoffs and go far. “I want to end our losing streak of losing in the first week,” Trifeletti said. “I feel we can do well. Offensively, Dylan Collie is a big weapon at receiver and Jake Rosada is a big running back who’s hard to bring down. Our offensive line is also big up front.” Samuels said the team’s offense seems to be clicking in the preseason. “We’ve got a lot of talent and I love playing with this group,” Samuels said. No matter who wins the starting job, Cavaliere knows that he will have a solid player running the offense. “Both of these players have earned the right to get a shot and we feel we can win with either guy,” Cavaliere said. “Like any other position on the field, whoever we feel gives us the best chance to win will be the guy who plays.”