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by Greg Talkington
Pity Philip Barbour's Eddie Flowers.
Taking over for a strong-armed quarterback who kept things interesting for a team with a poor record in 1997, Flowers knew he had a big task.
Thus far, he's done the job. He gets another chance tonight when the Colts visit Big 10 rival Grafton.
While Matt Payne put up good numbers in 1997, Flowers already has done something that his predecessor could do only once all of last season -- win a game.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Flowers directed the Colts to a surprisingly easy 29-7 win over Lewis County last Friday.
He completed 5-of-11 passes for 65 yards, including an 18-yard TD pass to flanker Joe Newman.
"We're very pleased with his play," Philip Barbour coach Mike Hicks said. "He doesn't throw the deep pass as well as Matt, but he's more accurate in the short-passing game.
"He's showing good leadership on the field and he's not making mistakes."
Against Liberty, Flowers nearly rallied the Colts to another win, falling just short in a 21-14 loss.
He threw for 91 yards and a touchdown in that game.
His two-game totals are 16-of-29 for 156 yards and two TDs. More importantly, he's yet to throw an interception.
"I pretty much had the jitters the first game," Flowers said. "But I think I've settled in and am doing the things the coaches want me to do.
"I'm not going to throw for a lot of yards, but I think our underneath passing game complements our running game really well."
Payne had All-Big 10 receiver Adam McDaniel as his go-to guy. Flowers appears to be developing the same kind of relationship with junior wideout Joe Newman.
The 6-3, 172-pound Newman has caught eight passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
"Newman is coming on fast and he and Eddie appear to have a good feel for each other," Hicks said. "Of course, our tight end John Charnoplosky is coming on strong and wide receiver Pat Bennett is developing, too."
Flowers also is a standout at middle linebacker. He was second on the team with 119 tackles in 1997.
"I had to promise Eddie that he wouldn't be taken off the defense if he started at quarterback," Hicks said.
Jeff Lambert, Grafton's starting quarterback, is in a similar situation.
Lambert is following all-stater Bryan Gillespie, who led the Bearcats to a 13-1 record and Class AA runner-up finish in 1997.
Statistically, Lambert has put up impressive numbers.
In two games, the 6-3, 155-pound junior has completed 12-of-29 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
But the Bearcats have lost both games and Lambert has thrown fourth interceptions, showing both the promise and inexperience that coach Mike Skinner figured on.