Replacing Cale

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Aug 20, 2010 3:55 PM CDT

Bobby Lewis
Oklahoma Sports Mobile Journalist

TULSA, Oklahoma – Some top-tier programs around the state have the difficult duty of replacing senior leadership this season, including at the position that, some say, is the most important in all of sports.

The quarterback touches the football on every offensive play of the game, and every time Lincoln Christian play-caller Cale Grauer got his hands on the ‘hide, good things happened for the Bulldogs in 2009.

Head coach Darren Melton needed just one word to describe his former quarterback.

“Competitor,” he said.

The strong righty led the Bulldogs to the Class 2A title a year ago thanks to his laser-like accuracy and impeccable football instincts.

Grauer racked up 2,702 yards through the air last season for the 14-1 Bulldogs. He completed 182 of his 290 attempts, good enough for the highest completion percentage in 2A among passers with at least 225 attempts. He ranked third overall in passing yards behind Atoka’s LT Pfaff (3,649) and Stigler’s Jarret Radford (3,185).

But the most impressive thing about Grauer on the field in 2009 was his touchdown to interception ratio, which was a blistering 33 to 8.

Replacing one of the top quarterbacks in 2A will be a tough task for Melton and the Bulldogs. The reigning state champions lost 15 seniors from its title team, but few will be harder to replace than Grauer.

“(The quarterback) has to be an extension of you on the field,” the coach said. “So, it’s a big deal. We get to do it this year, but we’re looking forward to it.

Melton had a couple of early candidates to replace Grauer’s 33 touchdowns, but decided to put the fate of the team in the hands of Chris Turner.

“We’re excited about the guy we’ve got coming in,” Melton insisted. “He’s a guy that’s earned the position and we think he’ll do a great job.”

Turner says he’s up for the task after watching Grauer lead game-winning drives a season ago.

“I’ve got to be like that this year,” he said. “Just give me the football. Everything will be alright. Just stay relaxed, go down the field and do what we’re supposed to do.”

He admits that he wanted the job badly. He waited for two years to get this chance, but isn’t coming in 100 percent green. Turner started last season against Holland Hall, a week after Grauer got injured, and he led the Bulldogs to a 36-20 win.

“I think that week was when we finally started putting everything together,” said Melton. “We were able to come away with a win, hard-fought as it was.”

Turner has to keep the bar raised high at Lincoln. In its first two season of OSSAA football, Melton’s squad is 26-3. After winning the 2A title, the team’s new leader will have to step up into the limelight and win games with his patient right arm.

Melton thinks he can do it.

“You want your quarterback, the guy that touches the ball every time, to be a leader. Chris is that.”