Leadership under center big focus for 2017 Bearcats

Published 4:32 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

Bainbridge senior Mark Loeffler is in position to lead the Bearcats this season at quarterback, and is learning a few new tricks from offensive coordinator Mike Harville while he’s there.

“Mark does everything very well,” Harville said. “He enjoys the game, but he is a no nonsense type of person.”

The no-nonsense attitude helped Loeffler lead the Bearcats in a big region win against Harris County last season after quarterback Brett McLaughlin was injured the previous week playing Thomas County Central.

Email newsletter signup

In 2016, he passed for 134 yards, going 14-of-31 with three interceptions over 5 games. Harville expects those numbers to improve with the focus and practice he’s brought to the position this summer.

“He’s right there,” Harville said. “He’s in line to take it over. It’s his team right now. It’s his position. He’s going through a big learning curve, too. And I realize that.”

Harville admitted he’s put a lot on Loeffler’s plate as he prepares to lead the Bearcats’ offense in 2017. The plan was to put as much information in front of him this summer that he could, then to narrow things down as August rolled around. That way, the quarterbacks will at least know the terminology.

If there’s one thing he would like to see Loeffler improve on, it’s for him to be more vocal. His communication with his teammates is important, Harville said.

Harville was promoted to offensive coordinator from wide receivers coach this spring when former OC Scott Roberts was offered a head coaching job at Swainsboro. Now he’s taken on coaching the roster of quarterbacks that includes junior Alex Baker, sophomore Jackson Wheeler and freshman Quayde Hawkins.

“(Hawkins) is taking some snaps,” Harville said. “As he gets to understand the play selection a little bit more, I think he will be able to take the ninth grade helm and do really well.”

Bainbridge will play Lowndes County for a scrimmage at Centennial Field next Friday, Aug. 11, at 7:30 p.m. The season kicks off Friday, Aug. 25, at Lee County.