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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

These high school quarterbacks are making names for themselves

Former junior varsity team members or varsity backups are excelling at the marquee position this season. What most have in common are strong academic backgrounds, readiness to work and resiliency.

October 18, 2012|Eric Sondheimer
  • Canyon Country Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay has passed for 2,148 yards and 26 touchdowns with no previous varsity experience.
Canyon Country Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay has passed for 2,148 yards…

Want to know the most surprising development of the 2012 high school football season? It's the rise of a new group of quarterbacks few envisioned would become standouts so quickly.

They have come seemingly out of nowhere — well, really off the junior varsity team or as unsung varsity backups. They were inserted into the starting lineup at the most important position, embraced the challenge, and look what they have accomplished.

Ian Fieber, a junior at Mission Viejo who was a backup at Orange Lutheran, has led the Diablos to a 7-0 record. He has completed 74% of his passes and had 393 yards passing against Corona Santiago and 261 yards against San Clemente.

"His arm strength is ridiculous," said Narbonne offensive coordinator Tim Kaub, who worked with Fieber at private camps.

Cade Apsay, a junior at Canyon Country Canyon, has passed for 2,148 yards and 26 touchdowns with no previous varsity experience.

"It's practice and practice," he said. "I watched a lot of film. It was more studying defenses and knowing our plays and where to place the ball. I kind of surprised myself in how much I've gotten better."

Ricky Town, a sophomore at Ventura St. Bonaventure, has his team ranked No. 1 in the Pac-5 Division after playing junior varsity as a freshman at West Hills Chaminade.

Robert Webber, a junior at Corona Centennial, has gone seven consecutive games without suffering an interception while passing for 1,457 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Koa Haynes, a junior at La Puente Bishop Amat, has made everyone ask, "Rio Ruiz who?" He has arm strength, good judgment and toughness after being a varsity backup last season to the productive Ruiz, who graduated.

"We've always felt he'd be a real good quarterback when his day came," Coach Steve Hagerty said of Haynes.

Nick Robinson, a sophomore at San Juan Capistrano JSerra, was the freshman quarterback last season. He almost orchestrated a huge upset last week, passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-41 loss to Bellflower St. John Bosco.

Josh Rosen, a sophomore at St. John Bosco, passed for a school-record seven touchdowns against Santa Fe Springs Santa Fe and will try to help the Braves take over first place in the Trinity League on Friday against Santa Ana Mater Dei.

San Fernando is 7-0 behind junior quarterback Cristian Solano, who has passed for 1,356 yards and 13 touchdowns with one interception.

Junior Ajene Harris was the quarterback for Animo South, a small charter school, before arriving at Los Angeles Crenshaw. He has helped ignite the Cougars' offense with his strong arm and ability to get the ball to Crenshaw's talented collection of receivers.

Sophomore Brady White of Newhall Hart beat out starter Connor Wingenroth and has the Indians (6-1) ranked No. 1 in the Northern Division.

"The mistakes he made in the first two games he doesn't make anymore," Coach Mike Herrington said.

Junior Brad Kaaya of West Hills Chaminade is starting to become comfortable in the Eagles' offense after arriving in January from Encino Crespi, where he was a backup. He passed for 362 yards against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

What most of the young quarterbacks have in common are strong academic backgrounds, good work ethics and resiliency.

"You're always in better shape if the quarterback is an honor student because they'll also be a student of the game," Herrington said.

Just call them Southern California's newest gunslingers. And they're here to stay.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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