FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The biggest question for Northern Arizona football heading into the 2013 season is, "Who will be the starting quarterback?" Although quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello has not made an official decision, the two individuals at the top of the list are junior Chase Cartwright and sophomore Kyren Poe.
"Kyren and Chase are still battling it out," said Scangarello. "It's been very competitive throughout camp. They've each had great moments. Either one of those guys can be the leader of this football team and guide us to a Big Sky Championship. It's exciting."
Cartwright would appear to be the frontrunner for the starting spot having the most experience out of the four quarterbacks. He started a pair of games last season, including leading the Lumberjacks to a 17-14 win over UNLV for its first Football Championship Subdivision win since 1987. Unfortunately, Cartwright went down with a season-ending knee injury versus Fort Lewis in the next game. In his three games of the season, Cartwright completed 37-of-79 passes, including three touchdowns.
"Chase is 100 percent," said Scangarello when asked about Cartwright's knee. "He looks great and has been able to move around pretty well. I don't see any lingering effects from the surgery."
When it comes to Poe, he has been battling it out against Cartwright and has shown great poise in the pocket. Although Poe's playing time last season came primarily as a wide receiver, he completed 16-of-25 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown while also rushing eight times for 21 yards in the NAU Blue & Gold Spring Game.
Meanwhile, sophomore Jordan Perry and freshman Pete Denham round out the NAU quarterbacks with Perry having appeared in two games last year at the QB position. He completed eight of his 11 pass attempts, including two touchdowns in last season's home opener versus Fort Lewis and is another suitable option for the Lumberjacks.
Denham joins the NAU quarterback lineup after completing his high school career at Placer in Auburn, Calif. Denham, who could potentially redshirt the 2013 season as a true freshman, led Placer to a perfect 10-0 season for the first time in 30 years.
NAU will have a starter named within the next week leading up to the Arizona game. Until then, the battle will have to continue between Cartwright and Poe.
Position Preview Schedule
Aug. 14 – Offensive Line
Aug.15 – Tight Ends and Fullbacks
Aug. 16 – Wide Receivers
Aug. 17 – Running Backs
Aug. 19 – Quarterbacks
Aug. 20 – Linebackers
Aug. 21 – Defensive Line
Aug. 22 – Secondary
Aug. 23 - Special Teams