Cherry and White Game: Quarterbacks continue to battle

Four quarterbacks continued to compete for the starting job, and other notes from Temple’s spring football game.

Freshman quarterback Todd Centeio (right), is chased downfield by redshirt-junior linebacker Zach Mesday during the Cherry and White game at Chodoff Field on April 22. | JAMIE COTTRELL / FILE PHOTO

Because last season’s starting quarterback, Phillip Walker, graduated, the Owls are in need of a new quarterback and they have four viable options.

Redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo, freshman Todd Centeio, and redshirt junior Frank Nutile all had an opportunity to display their skills during the Cherry and White game at Chodoff Field on Saturday.

Russo and Centeio split the quarterback role for the Greatness Doesn’t Quit team, while the Temple Tuff team switched between Marchi and Nutile.

The game ended with a 17-14 win by Greatness Doesn’t Quit. Centeio threw an 18-yard pass to redshirt-junior wide receiver Marshall Ellick to score the winning touchdown.

As for Temple Tuff, Nutile threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-freshman wide receiver Freddie Johnson for the first touchdown of the day. Nutile ran in Temple Tuff’s second touchdown on a 16-yard option run.

The Cherry and White game gave fans an opportunity to see the quarterbacks in action and allowed the coaches to watch their quarterbacks in a game situation. This, however, doesn’t mean a decision will be made any time soon about the starting quarterback for next season.

“We’re just worried about every single day,” coach Geoff Collins said. “They were out there competing. I thought Todd Centeio did a good job out there, Russo played some nice balls.”

Playing both sides of the ball

In the final two-minute drill, redshirt-senior wide receiver Keith Kirkwood lined up at def defensive end position.

Shortly after a play began, Kirkwood chased down Marchi and got a sack for Greatness Doesn’t Quit. Kirkwood pumped his fist and the sideline went crazy.

Other personnel changes included having redshirt-junior defensive lineman Freddie Booth-Lloyd play fullback and moving sophomore linebacker Shaun Bradley to tailback. Bradley had a carry and was in the backfield for Nutile’s rushing touchdown.

“We move guys all the way around and the reason we do that is all for development,” Collins said. “We’re a developmental program and we want guys, when they develop and go to the next level, to have played a lot of positions and globally understand the scheme. They’re not just locked into one thing.”

Running backs shine

With the Owls looking to replace running back Jahad Thomas, one of Temple’s main running backs last season, junior Ryquell Armstead and junior Jager Gardner look to step into the role.

Gardner jumped over a defender on a 23-yard run and proceeded to gain extra yards after initial contact was made by breaking tackles and pushing the pile.

“I thought Jager had a great day today, running the ball,” Collins said. “He was like a
Playstation 4 character out there, juking and hurdling people. So he was phenomenal.

Gardner finished the game with nine rushes for 67 yards and tallied 34 yards receiving. He also scored for Greatness Doesn’t Quit on a 5-yard run.

“Anytime I get in front of a crowd, I feel like I can do great things,” Gardner said. “Any time you get in a mojo, it’s hard to come down out of that mojo, so I just tried to keep that mojo going.”

Meanwhile, Armstead gained 10 yards on four carries and redshirt-freshman running back Tyliek Raynor ran four times for 61 yards.

Single-digit status

The day before the Cherry and White game, junior defensive back Delvon Randall earned a single-digit jersey, which is given to the toughest players on the team.

On Saturday, he wore No. 2 instead of No. 23. Former linebacker Avery Williams, who wore No. 2 for the past three seasons, presented Randall with the jersey at a team banquet on Friday.

“It means a lot,” Randall said. “Single digit means you’re tough, so I look at myself like one of the tough guys on the team now.”

Randall’s play complemented his award, as he finished the game with four tackles and an interception.

Maura Razanauskas can be reached at or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca. The Temple News can be reached @TheTempleNews or @TTN_Sports.

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