Two guys sit in an office and debate the North Suncoast's top quarterback. Some names come to mind: D.J. Clower (Pasco), and C.J. Baker (Nature Coast), Madison Burr (Gulf) and Matt Michaels (Mitchell). Some immediately rise to the top.
Tonight's Land O'Lakes-Hudson game offers a chance to see two of the North Suncoast's top quarterbacks: Gators junior Stevie Weatherford vs. Cobras senior Zack Wynn.
How would anyone determine with absolute authority which one stands above all? Here's a stab at it in this edition of North Suncoast point-counterpoint.
Niebuhr: Wynn 'is Hudson football'
Does Wynn have the strongest arm on the North Suncoast? Is he the smartest signal caller? Does he make the best decisions? Is he No. 1 at running the offense? Does he have the most college potential?
Those are questions best left for coaches and scouts.
Is he the area's most valuable QB this fall? Now, that's one I can handle. Absolutely.
This is an exceptional year for quarterbacks in our area, with Wynn, Weatherford, Burr and Clower having outstanding seasons. But if you could pick only one as MVP, the vote here goes to Wynn.
Clower's team is better. Burr not only is a great quarterback, but a terrific defensive back. Weatherford leads the area in touchdown passes.
But Wynn means more to his team than the others.
The Gators can win if Weatherford has an off night; if Wynn's off, Hudson can't because the supporting cast isn't nearly as strong. That's a lot of pressure for a guy. But time and again, Wynn has delivered.
Take last week's 20-18 win over Wiregrass Ranch, which sent his team to the playoffs. Wynn scored all 20 points, with two rushing touchdowns, two two-point runs and two field goals.
Now consider: Hudson has 3,329 yards of offense. Wynn has accounted for 2,626 of that. For the mathematically challenged, that's roughly 79 percent.
Wynn isn't just the face of Hudson football, he is Hudson football.
Gould: Weatherford thrives under pressure
No North Suncoast football player has had more pressure to succeed than Weatherford.
The last name says it all.
Stevie is the youngest of six brothers and follows in the footsteps of quarterbacks Drew and Joe. They played at Florida State and Central Florida, respectively. Drew remains the North Suncoast's all-time leading passer with 7,657 yards and 79 touchdowns as a four-year starter.
Stevie is far off those marks (3,669 yards, 41 touchdowns), but has been monitored by some of the nation's top colleges.
Weatherford has started varsity games for the Gators since his freshman season. And each season he has steadily improved. This year, he has thrown for 1,767 yards with 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions — all career bests. He has completed 63 percent of his passes, another career achievement. Due to a one-game suspension for a minor school rule violation, Weatherford missed a game against Anclote where his statistics could have soared. Coach Matt Kitchie has sat Weatherford for chunks of games after the Gators put up insurmountable leads.
Mostly, Weatherford has evolved into a great leader, evident in his voice and his play.
If a pocket collapses, Weatherford runs. His scrambling ability separates him from his siblings, and other quarterbacks. Weatherford has rushed for 402 yards and three touchdowns.
Last week, he guided the Gators to their 13th consecutive playoff appearance. Next week he will battle with one of the state's best quarterbacks in Jefferson's Quentin Williams.
Tonight, he'll have one more opportunity to show Hudson, Wynn and every other curiosity seeker why he should be considered the North Suncoast's No. 1 quarterback.