September 24, 2009
CENTRAL POINT — Over the past few seasons, Crater has had no trouble putting an outstanding athlete at the quarterback position.
From Cory Staniforth to Nick Brothers to Josh Lokeno, the raw natural ability to make plays on the football field has not been a question during John Beck's tenure with the Comets.
The same can be said of this year's signal caller, junior Tyler Turituri. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound quarterback is tough to bring down and even harder to catch in the open field, and boasts a strong passing arm.
But where his predecessors seemed to level off behind center, Turituri has all the promise of elevating past the others once his time is done at Crater High.
"He's an exceptionally gifted athlete, but his work ethic is unbeatable," Beck says of Turituri. "He's put more time into football than the other kids, Nick, Josh and Cory, and that's only natural. Football was maybe their second sport and football is the first sport for Tyler. I think that's what makes more of a difference for him."
So far, the results support the theory that Turituri is a star in the making. Through three games as a starter, the junior ranks third in the Southern Sky Conference in rushing and passing. He's carried the ball 44 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 36 of 55 passes for 551 yards, 10 TDs and three interceptions.
"I worked really hard over the summer to become really better so it's nice all the hard work is kinda paying off for me," says Turituri.
To be fair, Turituri says most of the credit for his early success has to go to his teammates and the Crater coaches.
"All the guys have been really important because I wouldn't be able to do all this by myself," he says. "If I didn't have their talent out there to help me, I don't know what would happen."
"We've got a lot of talent on our team, especially skill-wise," adds the QB. "We may not be as big as some teams but we can play with them. All the guys do a great job, and our coaches do a great job, also, from managing our practices and during the games. They really help me prepare for the game."
Turituri and the No. 7-ranked Comets (2-1) expect a big challenge Friday night at Dutch Meyer Field when they welcome Jefferson to town. The Democrats are winless at 0-3, but that doesn't tell the full story. Jefferson suffered close defeats at the hands of Class 6A Grant (24-22) and 5A stalwart West Albany (22-19) before losing 40-7 to top-ranked Sherwood last week. The Bowmen also boast a 35-18 win at Grants Pass.
"It's going to be fun," the 17-year-old says of Friday's game. "Jefferson's pretty good so we've been practicing pretty hard for them."
The Comets are averaging 378 yards of offense heading into the game, and Turituri's ability to spread the football is a main reason for such lofty numbers.
"The kids like him because he spreads the wealth and doesn't have a favorite guy," says Beck. "They all run hard because they know they all have a chance at the ball. I think his unselfishness has been a huge developing thing for him and I think the kids like him and trust him."
Turituri is coming off his best game, having thrown for five touchdowns and run for another in a 44-13 thumping of host Lakeridge.
"Our line did a great job," Turituri says of the romp. "I only got sacked once, I think, so they really did a great job protecting me."
He completed TD passes to Christian Massey, Josh Dalton, Jacob Ziegler and Kelley Beck (twice), and also ran 68 yards for a score. Turituri was 13-of-18 passing for 271 yards and no interceptions, and has completed almost 66 percent of his passes thus far.
"I think a lot of the success is due to Tyler, but a lot of it is also due to the receivers he's throwing to," adds coach Beck. "You've got guys who are all seniors in the skill positions and they're very good and very fast and getting looks from colleges themselves."
Turituri is the first to admit he's a work in progress. He's been playing quarterback since his fifth-grade Pop Warner days in Ashland, but is only now learning how to truly manage a game from his position. Add to that the increased speed of the game and how much more physical players are at the varsity level, it's all been a learning experience thus far.
To help with the transition, Turituri spent the winter attending the Barton quarterback camp in Portland, and has made it a point to heed the words of offensive coordinator David Douglas.
"He's really helped me a lot about reading coverages and managing the game better than I used to at the JV level," says Turituri. "I wasn't really good at that last year, but I think I'm getting better."