The Macomb Daily

Mahomes, Hurts latest Texas prep quarterbac­ks on Super Bowl stage

- By Schuyler Dixon

Texas high school quarterbac­ks guru Todd Dodge got what he wanted when Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts of Philadelph­ia won their conference championsh­ip games.

“I really like Joe Burrow,” Dodge said with a chuckle in reference to Cincinnati’s star quarterbac­k, “but I’m not going to root for Joe Burrow over Patrick Mahomes, that Texas quarterbac­k.”

The Mahomes-Hurts matchup is the first showdown between a pair of Texas high school QBs and the latest milestone for a football-crazy state once known much more for Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson than whoever was handing off to those future Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs.

Dodge, a recently retired high school coach who won seven state championsh­ips, played a big role in the start of the transforma­tion around 1980. He was the quarterbac­k for what he considered the father of the passing game in Texas.

Ronnie Thompson, a high school coach in Port Arthur about 100 miles from Houston, was throwing before it was cool in the Lone Star State, which made Dodge a high-profile recruit for the Texas Longhorns.

While Dodge’s career in Austin was disappoint­ing, his legacy of training quarterbac­ks in his home state is unmistakab­le. One of the keys was identifyin­g QBs — plenty of them — as early as seventh grade, with the goal of always having two capable of flourishin­g on the varsity.

Before the likes of Dodge, Art Briles and the late Sonny Detmer came along, the focus was usually on finding the best running back and building from there.

“Jalen Hurts 40 years ago would have been the next great tailback in the Southwest Conference,” said Dodge, who still runs a quarterbac­k training program in retirement. “Somewhere along the way, his dad put the ball in his hands and he started throwing it.”

Indeed, coach Averion Hurts at Channelvie­w just outside Houston put his son at QB. Jalen Hurts went from college star at Alabama and Oklahoma to Philadelph­ia backup behind Carson Wentz to NFL MVP candidate in a matter of six years.

Mahomes had the throwing pedigree as the son of former major league pitcher Pat Mahomes, and his strong arm was evident long before he became the starter at Whitehouse in East Texas.

The Chiefs traded up to get Mahomes 10th overall in 2017, declared him the starter in the offseason a year later.

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