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Catron thrives as 'next man up' at quarterback for Bulldawgs



Senior Corey Catron may be more comfortable playing running back, but when Rossville star quarterback Torrey Horak went out with an injury in a Week 7 district win over Silver Lake Catron stepped in and picked up the slack, helping the 10-0 Bulldawgs keep their bid for a second straight Class 2A state championship alive. 

"The work we put in all summer prepared us for someone to go down, and next man up is really what our mentality is,'' Catron said. "Torrey is one of our best players on the team, but we needed somebody to step up at that spot and we needed me to do that for the team.''

Catron1Rossville senior Corey Catron has helped the Bulldawgs remain unbeaten after taking over for the injured Torrey Horak at quarterback. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Catron is not entirely new to the quarterback position, backing up Horak for much of his career, and Catron got the chance to run the Bulldawg offense over the offseason, which is paying dividends now.

"All summer we worked with me at quarterback because Torrey had hip surgery or something like that during the summer and I had to step up there, too, for our little camps that we had and that prepared me for what's going on right now,'' the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Catron said. "That helped a lot.''

Catron helped Rossville rally for a 24-19 win over Silver Lake after Horak suffered a shoulder surgery in the first half and he has been the starter at quarterback for a 51-6 win over Mission Valley to end the regular season and wins over Republic County (56-0) and Nemaha Central (32-12) to open the postseason.

Catron has carried the ball 135 times for 893 yards (6.6 average) and 18 touchdowns and has completed 31 of 55 pass attempts for 453 yards and six touchdowns entering Rossville's home 2A state quarterfinal game against Riverton Friday night.

Catron, also a standout linebacker for the Bulldawgs, would obviously love to have Horak back in the same backfield with him, but said he's enjoying his time guiding the Rossville offense.

"I feel more natural at running back, but when we start running the ball and start doing good stuff on offense, it's a great feeling as you're matching down the field and shoving it down the defense's throat,'' he said.

"Torrey and coach (Jake) Iverson (Rossville assistant) have really helped me out through the last couple of weeks. Even in the Silver Lake game Torrey was trying to help me out as much as he could on the sideline.''

Horak and CatronTorrey Horak (6) and Corey Catron (2), taking the field as captains for Rossville earlier this season, have helped the defending Class 2A state champs post a 10-0 record this fall. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

And although he knows there's still room for improvement, Catron has been pleased with his performance at quarterback.

"There's a couple things that I wish I would have done better, but for the most part I'm pretty happy with how we've played around me,'' Catron said.

Rossville coach Derick Hammes, who has led the Bulldawgs to four state titles over the past seven seasons, goes a step farther in his assessment of Catron.

"He might be the second-best quarterback in 2A, if you think about it,'' Hammes said. "We kind of knew what we had in him, especially with his leadership abilities. He's smart and he can really do it all.

"He'd be a good football player wherever you put him and we knew we had that in him.''