ESCONDIDO — At another high school, people might not have expected much from Sean Gousha.
Gousha threw only three passes last season as a junior at Orange Glen and barely beat out junior Cree Morris for the starting quarterback position this season.
The situation was not new at Orange Glen, however. Every season, Orange Glen seems to have a relatively inexperienced senior quarterback who turns out to be one of the best in San Diego County.
This year is no exception.
Gousha watched Duffy Daugherty from the sidelines last season, just as Daugherty had watched Brett Salisbury in 1985. Salisbury, in turn, had spent most of his life playing in the shadow of his brother, Sean.
"We've had so many great quarterbacks at this school," said Gousha, The Times' Player of the Week. "When you sit back and watch for a year, you learn a lot. I learned to be patient from Duffy."
That learning process has helped both Gousha and Orange Glen.
Like his predecessors, Gousha is one of the best in the county. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes and completed 58.9% of his passes for 1,844 yards, an average of 204.9 yards per game.
Gousha played by far his best game last Friday against Fallbrook, when he threw 5 touchdown passes and ran 49 yards for another score.
Orange Glen trailed, 13-0, after the first quarter, but Gousha threw three second-quarter scoring passes. The last of the three was a 32-yard desperation pass with three seconds in the half.
It also gave Orange Glen a 21-13 lead en route to a 42-27 victory, which put it in position to make the San Diego Section 3-A playoffs. Orange Glen is 6-2-1 and tied for second place in the Palomar League at 3-2 with one game to play.
Orange Glen Coach Dave Lay points out, however, that things did not look quite so bright for Gousha or his team only three weeks ago.
"We'd call him over to the sidelines and get on him because he was free-lancing too much," said Lay, who is in his first year at Orange Glen. "He wasn't doing what we wanted him to do." That conflict came to a head right after Orange Glen had lost in the last minute to Mt. Carmel, 26-21, and dropped to 0-2 in the league. To make things worse, the next opponent was Vista, then the county's top-ranked team.
Luckily, Lay said, against Vista, things turned around for Gousha and Orange Glen.
Gousha threw for two touchdowns and ran for another to give Orange Glen a 24-0 lead at halftime and a 30-18 victory.
Orange Glen, and Gousha, kept rolling the next week against San Dieguito. Trailing in the fourth quarter, 18-17, Orange Glen rallied when Gousha threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Jason Sowers to take the lead. Orange Glen won, 32-18.
"He's been kind of a late bloomer," Lay said. "He's starting to see our system. We have an agreement now. He can free-lance, if it works. If it doesn't, he better get ready to get his tail end chewed."
Each of the other star quarterbacks at Orange Glen has gone on to play football for a major college. Daugherty plays at New Mexico. Brett Salisbury is at Brigham Young. Sean Salisbury played at USC.
But Gousha said he has not been contacted by any schools yet.
"I hope I get some kind of scholarship," Gousha said.
If history means anything, he will.
Orange Glen High School
Height, Weight, Class: 6-2, 175, Sr.
Last Week: Threw five touchdown passes and ran 49 yards for another in Orange Glen's 42-27 win over Fallbrook.