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Hubs' Kelso grows in role

November 16, 2006|by MARK KELLER

Over the course of his senior season, North Hagerstown's Logan Kelso has grown into one of the top high school quarterbacks in the area.

Hubs coach Danny Cunningham has seen that coming for two years.

In the summer before his sophomore season, the Hubs were playing in a 7-on-7 tournament and Kelso was alternating series with starting senior Robbie Thompson.

On one series, Kelso threw an interception when one of his receivers ran the wrong route.

"Logan turned to Coach (Nathan) Butts and said, 'That was my fault. I saw he ran the wrong route and I could've adjusted my throw, but I didn't,'" Cunningham said. "From there, we kind of said this kid's got something, because most quarterbacks would've blamed the receiver.

"He took ownership of it."

Kelso has since taken ownership of the North offense, leading the Hubs back into the postseason after a one-year absence. The Hubs will play at Francis Scott Key in a Maryland Class 2A West semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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Under Kelso's leadership, the Hubs scored 331 points in the regular season, including 142 points in the last three games. He's completed 76 of 140 passes for 1,215 yards and 17 touchdowns while throwing just six interceptions.

But Kelso understands that it's not all about him.

"As a quarterback, there's a lot of leadership involved. You lose a game, there's a lot of attention on the quarterback. You win a game, there's attention on the quarterback," Kelso said. "I don't want to be that kind of leader. I want it to be that the linemen helped out, the running backs helped out, I helped out, the receivers caught the ball.

"It's a team effort. It has to be."

Cunningham, a quarterback himself when he played at North 15 years ago, understands that strong leadership on the field starts under center. He also knows having a player of Kelso's caliber in that position makes his job on the sideline easier.

"He does so much for us. I think I'm a little harder on the quarterbacks since I played there and Coach (Glenn) Cross was extremely hard on us," Cunningham said. "But I think as quarterbacks we see more, so we expect more and Logan's done a great job."

The Hubs run a diverse offense and have legitimate weapons at every skill position. They use a potent inside-outside running game with backs Diez Johnson and Justin Donaldson. They have a solid corps of receivers in Jarell Hasan, Richie Baymon and Mike McMillan. They have a utility-type player in Marcellus Sumlin, who can line up at any position.

But the catalyst is Kelso, who seems to have found the right balance when it comes to distributing the ball.

"It takes a lot of stress off my shoulders knowing that we don't have to pass every play," Kelso said. "That I can pitch it to Donaldson and he can get outside or give it to Diez inside and he can bulldoze some people it makes the job easier."

It's not that North would suffer if Kelso had to throw more. Cunningham said one of Kelso's goals this season was to cut down on his turnovers, which he has done significantly.

In 2005, Kelso threw 13 interceptions and lost five fumbles. He cut those back to six interceptions and three lost fumbles this season, a 50 percent drop.

"I think that's what sets him apart. I think he's the best quarterback in the area," Cunningham said. "To put the ball in the air as many times as he has and only throw six picks says a lot."

In Kelso's eyes, it says a lot about his teammates, who he goes out of his way to praise every chance he gets.

"I try to do that all the time. I respect them and they respect me," Kelso said. "I couldn't do it without them, I'll say that. I love this team."

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