- November 12, 2015
WINTER GARDEN Things could have gone differently for Legacy Charter football head coach Jarrett Wiggers. Things could have been much more stressful.
It all started with some good news — the news over the offseason that brothers Gehrig and Gabriel Chambless, who are home-schooled, would be coming over from CFCA to play for Legacy. Gehrig, in particular, had been a big part of CFCA’s breakout season in 2014 as a freshman.
Gehrig is also a quarterback.
That seemed immediately problematic, because rising junior Hilton Lamprecht, who had been learning the offense at Legacy for years as Colton Liddell’s backup, already had been tapped as the Eagles’ man under center from the spring.
“Going into it, I think everybody anticipated that it was going to be a really stressful thing,” Wiggers said. “I heard from several people, ‘All right, Coach, what are you going to do? The pressure is on.’”
Fortunately, it never quite played out that way. Although both athletes are described by those who know them as competitive, they seemed to adopt a positive mindset toward the situation.
“I was, at first, a little nervous,” Lamprecht said. “But then I thought, ‘It’s only going to make me play that much better.’ I saw him as, ‘He’s my new teammate, and I’m going to do my best to make him better.’”
Very quickly, though, it became clear to the coaching staff at Legacy that this was no run-of-the-mill quarterback competition. What started as a competition to earn the starting job soon became the blueprint for the Eagles’ offense. The two young men showcased two unique skill sets.
“Right away, it was very, very clear that Gehrig was going to be able to carry the ball and be a force running down the field,” Wiggers said. “And Hilton is a really good finesse player — he’s learned our offense, and he understands how to read the defense. He’s very, very used to what we try to do. They both bring totally different things to the table.”
And so during Legacy’s fall camp, it went from Gehrig versus Hilton to Gehrig and Hilton. With Lamprecht’s ability to throw the ball and Chambless’ bruising style of running it, Wiggers saw no reason to limit himself by choosing one over the other.
With a 5-2 record to their credit, the decision seems to have paid off for the Eagles. Lamprecht has thrown for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, while Chambless has run for 700 yards and seven touchdowns.
Accordingly, the success of the dual approach Legacy has used all season is no secret around the Sunshine State Athletic Conference.
“(We were playing) an away game, and the announcer said, ‘All right, so now the Legacy running quarterback is coming into the game,’ and they were talking about Gehrig,” Wiggers recalled. “Everybody knows what we’re trying to do.”
Just as things could have been different for Wiggers, things could have gone much differently for the two boys.
Although the two attend the same church, Mosaic in Oakland, and are even in the same youth group, they did not know each other well before Chambless joined the team. The competition for reps could have led to a rivalry, but instead, Wiggers recalls observing the two boys walking into practice together during the Eagles’ preseason camp and chatting it up.
“I asked them what they were up to, and Gehrig had already gone to the Lamprecht house, and they were out on the lake all day,” Wiggers said. “Those two boys are so similar in so many ways. They’re both ultra-competitors, and they’re both nice kids who are academics-first, 4.0-type students. They’d both been raised in a way that they’re very respectful.”
Since then, the two have emerged as leaders, thanks to their play on the field, and more importantly, they continue to enjoy one another’s company.
“We’ve really enjoyed getting to know each other at church and in football,” Chambless said.
At 5-2, Legacy finished tied with CFCA and Orangewood Christian for second place in the SSAC’s Coastal Orange division. The tiebreaker format favored Orangewood, meaning the Eagles will have to wait a year for another shot at the SSAC Playoffs. Still, for the two quarterbacks who have one more year to compete with and for one another, the season has undoubtedly been a success.
“It’s really just a good friendship,” Lamprecht said. “I’m blessed to have a friendship with him and not an enemy.”
Although public address announcers have jokingly referred to sophomore quarterback Gehrig Chambless as Legacy’s “running quarterback,” head coach Jarrett Wiggers said teams would be unwise to box his budding star into that niche.
“To be honest with you, as he becomes more and more comfortable with our offense and how it works, he’s not going to be a strictly-running quarterback — he can still throw the ball,” Wiggers said. “He’s becoming more dual-threat every single day.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected]