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Two-quarterback system provides early positive results for Tigers

Quintevin Cherry and Tate Robards celebrate a second half Robards touchdown pass during Friday's win over Union.
5b85a37aba0bdQuintevin Cherry and Tate Robards celebrate a second half Robards touchdown pass during Friday's win over Union.
Quintevin Cherry and Tate Robards celebrate a second half Robards touchdown pass during Friday's win over Union.

When Tate Robards moved to Broken Arrow last November he knew no one. Friends came quickly.

“My teammates, as soon as I moved here, right off the bat they accepted me,” Robards said. “I wasn’t expecting that, but as soon as I moved in I was accepted by the whole team.”

When Quintevin Cherry moved to Broken Arrow this past summer the only student he knew was a kid he played football with on a Sooner Classic team in fifth grade – Tate Robards.

Together, the duo has formed quite the quarterback combo for the Oklahoma’s top-ranked 6A-1 Broken Arrow Tigers.

“They give us something that is difficult for other teams to prepare for,” said Tiger offensive coordinator Jay Wilkinson. “Teams aren’t going to be able to prepare for both of them, unless they just stay with a base defense, but we are too diverse on offense for them to do that.”

Though Robards and Cherry’s statistics weren’t eye-popping – Robbards 9 of 17 passing for 122 yards and Cherry 11 carries for 36 yards – in this world of fast-break football offense, they were consistent and didn’t turn the ball over. Those two key quarterback attributes – as important as any stat – were strikingly noticeable in the Tigers 33-10 win over Union on Friday.

“I’ve never played in a game that big,” said Cherry, known as “Q” to coaches, teammates and friends. “For us to be a part of us getting that win was big.”

Since their first workouts together this summer, it’s always been about “us” for the two senior quarterbacks.

“The role I have now, I’m fine with it,” Cherry said. “I can come in at the quarterback position and run the ball, that’s fine. Anything to help us win.”

Even as players new to the program, Cherry and Robards share in the passion of playing and winning as a team.

“It would just bring the whole team down if we were butting heads, so we can’t do that,” Robards said. “We have to bring the right attitude every day, the team is going to bring the right attitude. It really falls on our shoulders how practice goes.”

Robards and Cherry took it upon themselves to make sure the other was ready for action in the home opener. Not just through each practice session, but also as game time neared.

“On Friday, I was just trying to keep Tate up,” Cherry said. “I knew he was a little bit nervous, because I was nervous. I was like ‘if I make him comfortable, then he’s going to be comfortable. He went out there and did what he was supposed to do.”

While Robards did admit to having ‘jitters’ early, eventually he gathered his emotions and led Broken Arrow to its first victory over Union since a 24-9 win in 2008.

“In the first half, I wasn’t too accurate on certain throws,” Robards said. “But in the second half I was more accurate.”

Then he shifted credit to his offensive line, which many around Class 6A recognize as the state’s best.

“Definitely makes it a lot easier knowing you’re going to have more time allotted than other teams do because of our O-line,” Robards said. “That’s probably the best D-line we’re going to play, so just getting that much time in that game makes you think how much more time we’ll have in other games.”

The challenge for the Tigers doesn’t get any easier as Mansfield High School journeys north of the Red River to face a confident bunch led by two team-first quarterbacks who opened the season with an historic and memorable win that earned them the highest ranking, in the highest class, in Oklahoma.