2019 was the year of the dual-threat quarterback in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Seniors such as Coatesville's Ricky Ortega, Downingtown West's Will Howard, Episcopal Academy's Maurcus McDaniel and Haverford High's Trey Blair, among others, led their teams as both passers and runners.
It was the Year of the Pass. It was the Year of the Run.
For several of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s top dual-threat quarterbacks, it was the Year of Both.
And those guys weren’t just generating yards and touchdowns through the air and on the ground. They also were leading their teams to lots of victories.
Here’s a look at some of the top pass-run quarterbacks this season:
Ricky Ortega, senior, Coatesville: The Villanova recruit is the poster boy for this category. He made a four-year career of leading the Red Raiders with both his arm and his legs.
Ortega was slowed a bit in the first half of the season with a foot injury. He still passed for 2,408 yards and 27 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Ortega also ran for 663 yards and 13 scores as Coatesville went 10-3 and captured a share of its fourth straight Ches-Mont National Division title.
Will Howard, senior, Downingtown West: The Kansas State recruit looks like a classic pocket passer, standing 6-foot-4 with a strong arm. He passed for 2,543 yards and 27 touchdowns for the District 1 Class 6A champions, who reached the state semifinals in a 13-2 season.
But Howard also made plays as a runner, especially in big games late in the season. He finished with 272 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns.
Maurcus McDaniel, senior, Episcopal Academy: Nobody balanced high-production passing and running better than McDaniel. who led the Churchmen to a 9-1 record that included an impressive victory over Public League 6A champion Northeast.
McDaniel passed for 1,311 yards and 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He might have been more dangerous as a runner, generating 1,329 yards with 21 touchdowns.
Trey Blair, senior, Haverford High: A Buffalo recruit, Blair might be a defensive back at the next level. He’s that instinctive in the secondary and that hard of a hitter.
But in his one and only season as a varsity quarterback, Blair was a revelation in the offensive backfield. He passed for 1,155 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ran for 2,192 yards and 27 touchdowns in leading the Fords to 11 wins, including a pair of District 1 Class 6A tournament triumphs.
Adonis Hunter, senior, Cheltenham: The versatile quarterback led the Panthers on a dream season that ended with a last-second loss to Archbishop Wood in the PIAA Class 5A title game.
Hunter set school records with 2,208 passing yards and 28 passing touchdowns, per research by sports historian Chuck Langerman. Hunter also ran for 440 yards and 14 scores as Cheltenham set a program record for victories in a 14-2 season that included the school’s first District 1 title in football.
Barry Brown, senior, Academy Park: The speedy Brown ran for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Knights went 10-3 and reached the District 1 Class 5 title game, losing by 43-42 to Cheltenham.
Brown also passed for 1,714 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Kamal Gray, senior, Pope John Paul II: Nobody in this stellar group generated more yards from scrimmage than Gray, who led the Panthers to a 10-3 record and the combined District 1/District 12 Class 3A title.
Gray passed for 2,744 yards and 38 touchdowns, both school records. He also ran for 620 yards and seven scores.
Cahsid Raymond, senior, Ben Franklin: The dynamic athlete led the Electrons to a 9-2 mark. He ran for 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns and passed for 1,245 yards and 11 scores.
Tamir Berthau, senior, Abington: The Ghosts’ star was another quarterback who generated more than 1,000 yards as both a runner and passer.
He passed for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 1,060 yards and another 17 scores as Abington went 8-3, including a win over Class 5A state finalist Cheltenham.
Lonnie Rice, senior, Bishop McDevitt: A Buffalo recruit as a defensive player, Rice led the Royal Lancers to the Catholic League’s Class 2A title as well as a state-tournament victory.
Rice ran for 1,102 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 1,659 yards and another 15 scores.