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With East Lake’s Sam Shaffer, stats don’t tell the whole story

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Tue. October 13, 2009 | Keith Niebuhr

TARPON SPRINGS -- Sam Shaffer’s passing statistics aren’t bad, but they certainly don’t awe you.

In six games, the East Lake QB has completed 46.7 percent of his passes for 594 yards with three TDs and six INTs.

Yet …

“He’s been terrific,” Eagles coach Bob Hudson said.

That’s because Shaffer is doing exactly what Hudson has asked him to do and exactly what his team needs him to do.

He’s managing the game.

Since East Lake has one of the region’s best defenses and a grind-it-out offense with RB Jamaal Wilburn being the primary ball carrier, the Eagles don’t need a QB to chuck it all over the field to win.

The need one to run the offense, to keep the team focused in the huddle, to limit his mistakes and those of his teammates.

At all of that, Shaffer, who has guided East Lake to four straight wins and a 4-2 start, has exceeded expectations.

“He’s a leader out there on the field and in the huddle,” Hudson said.

Shaffer, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior, also started last year. But as the Eagles struggled, he did, too.

“When we lost five in a row, he was trying to win the game by himself,” Hudson said. “He got into a little bit of a rut.”

Today, East Lake is winning, and Shaffer, who has given the team the offensive balance it needs, is a big reason why.

“All he’s worried about is what it says on the scoreboard at the end of the night,” Hudson said.

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