September 17, 2009

Bell has more than just measurables

WICHITA, Kan. - In this day and age in which recruiting sites like Rivals.com place such a high value on the tangible aspects of the nation's best high school football players too often things like leadership and poise get lost in the shuffle. While everyone knew that Wichita Bishop Carroll's 6-foot-6, 220 pound quarterback, and long-time Sooner commitment Blake Bell had all the physical tools getting a chance to watch him lead the Carroll Eagles gave a look at another aspect of his game.

Simply put, no matter the experience level or talent of the other players when it came to the final minutes of a tough fight with neighborhood rival Wichita Northwest Bell was the player the team looked to.

In the first quarter of Friday's battle between two of the best programs in the Wichita area a familiar problem of many rivalry games reared its ugly head; too much emotion created a sloppy start to the game.

The first quarter ended with the two teams locked in a scoreless tie, but by halftime Bell would have a large hand in 46-combined points in the second quarter.

After sputtering with penalties and mental mistakes Carroll got things going in the second quarter with several short passes from Bell before being capped by a short touchdown run by a Carroll running back.

Northwest quickly answered on a 57-yard touchdown strike and a shootout looked ready to begin; however it was almost solely the Northwest defense that was staring down the barrel of a gun.

That gun, more often than not, was in the form of Carroll's four-star quarterback who made plays both with his arm and his feet, rushing for one touchdown and throwing for two more in the quarter.

His performance in the first half showed that he was every bit worthy of his lofty status as one of the nation's elite quarterback prospects however it was his second half that perhaps gave the most reason to believe he'll find success in the college game.

Year in and year out one signal-caller after another with an amazing arm and all the other physical tools fall short of predicted college stardom due to the lack of any number of the things that can't be measured with a tape measure, stop watch, or even game tape.

In the second half Carroll started with an 18-point lead but the lead was quickly evaporated to three at 32-29 thanks to Northwest's offense and defense finally hitting their stride and proving why they are one of the top-rated teams in the city.

The two teams exchanged blows but neither managed to get much going offensively but each and every time off the field Bell went right back to his headset so as to talking to his coaches in the press box to try and figure a way through things.

While he looked to his coaches for help, his teammates looked to him for the answers.

Late in the third quarter Bell in just three passes, with the aid of several solid runs from the team's stable of backs, took the Eagles just feet away from the goal line. On second and third down Bell a couple of sacks while trying to make a play with his feet.

Carroll's kicker would miss the field goal that would have given a bit of breathing room to his team but while the kicker never quite got back in the game mentally Bell was quickly back to thinking about how to finish out the game.

The momentum continued to change hands throughout the fourth quarter but until Bell put Carroll on his shoulders, neither team could fully grab the reins.

With a little over seven minutes remaining Bell methodically took his team down the field with not only passes this time but also some of his biggest runs of the night that consisted of him fighting and clawing for every inch.

Finally with under two minutes remaining Bell again kept the ball in his hands and ran in from just a yard out to seal the 39-29 victory for Carroll.

Prospects:

Blake Bell: There may be one as big but if there is a more physically imposing quarterback in the country, one would have to see it to believe it. Bell is every bit of 6-foot-6, and 220-pounds and still seems thin at this point in time.

He showed a strong arm but the thing that stood out most was a quickening of his delivery due to a shorter motion that allows him to almost be ready to throw from the second he has the ball. He has removed any wind-up that he may have had and is simply locked and loaded from the minute he receives the snap.

He still has a lot of work to do with his pass drops as he plays almost exclusively in the shotgun and as such his footwork can sometimes get a bit sloppy but that's far from unusual in high school quarterbacks.

All in all, if Bell isn't a Rivals100 quarterback, I don't know who is.


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