Juston Heacock

Holly Tonini/For the Observer-Reporter

Washington & Jefferson quarterback Justin Heacock will start against John Carroll Saturday afternoon.

The offense has always been Mike Sirianni’s baby and the play of the quarterback the most important part of that offense.

But let it not be said that Sirianni is an unreasonable man.

The head coach of Washington & Jefferson College’s football team could have easily pulled the plug on Heacoock’s playing days and had all fall camp to do so.

Sirianni released his two-deep depth chart for Saturday’s game against John Carroll University in Cleveland (1 p.m.) and Heacock’s name was on top of the quarterback depth chart, and so were two little letters.

Or.

The name Colton Jones, a promising sophomore, is right under Heacock’s and breathing down Heacock’s neck.

“Justin is going to start,” said Sirianni. “Colton will probably play. I have a lot of trust in him. We pushed (Heacock). Justin will start but Colton will play a little bit. If we get touchdowns on our first two drives, I’m not taking Justin out.”

This mess started in Washington & Jefferson’s 27-20 loss to Westminster in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship game last spring.

Heacock threw three interceptions and each was turned into a Westminster touchdown. If he doesn’t throw those interceptions, then Washington & Jefferson probably wins the game.

“He has to play better than that,” Sirianni said. “We can’t turn over the ball three times, He understands that. But that’s not the only reason we lost that game.”

John Carroll, which is ranked behind Mt. Union in the preseason rankings of the Ohio Athletic Conference, return all but one starter from last spring’s team. This is the sixth consecutive time John Carroll has been voted into second place.

One big move this season for the Blue Streaks is Tadas Tatarunas from quarterback to tight end.

The Blue Streaks opened preseason camp with its largest number of players ever at 160.

At QB, there have been as many as 13 lining up under center. The move helps Tatarunas get playing time. He instantly becomes the most imposing tight end on JCU’s roster at 6-5, 230 pounds.

W&J will be without starting wide receiver Josh Burns. Cameron O’Brien, a 6-2, 190-pound senior, is listed behind Burns.

W&J will have Joey Koroly for this game. Koroly missed the Westminster game with an illness. That allowed Justin Huss, who rushed for 120 yards against Westminster, to earn the right to be Koroly’s backup.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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