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WILKINSBURG, Pa. — The old football adage is that if you have two quarterbacks, you really have none.
There does not appear to be any wisdom from the early days of football about what it means when you have four quarterbacks.
That’s the situation that North Allegheny head coach Art Walker Jr. finds himself in the early part of the 2020 season. Four players took snaps under center in his Tigers’ 35-21 win over Central Catholic at Graham Field on Friday night.
Two things are abundantly clear about the Tigers offense after it picked apart the top-rated Vikings: no matter who the quarterback is, they’re at their best when they’re running the ball and they need to find some way to get top receiver Khalil Dinkins involved despite a hit-and-miss passing attack.
Enter quarterback No. 4: Dinkins himself.
The 6-foot-4 wide receiver and linebacker took a couple series worth of plays as North Allegheny’s quarterback in something of a Wildcat look. The formation produced a touchdown for Dinkins on a second-half carry from the red zone on a night where the North Allegheny passing offense was having a hard time connecting with its top target.
“He’s strong. He can run hard,” Walker said. “Let him line up a quarterback a little bit direct snap to him and then try to get the ball more through the air. But second half, we were in run mode. … Khalil is a great kid. He’s not about his numbers or anything. He’s the first one here yelling, excited about the win.”
Dinkins echoed his coach’s comments, that he isn’t really worried about his individual statistics right now. That comes despite Dinkins’ status as one of the top uncommitted local recruits in the Class of 2021. In a class that saw an extreme number of early commitments nationwide, Dinkins is one of the few that decided to wait until after his senior season to announce a decision. But he said that has not put any additional pressure on himself to perform.
“To be honest, no,” he said. “I just know I just got to do what I got to do.”
He said he’s more focused on team success, and Friday night certainly brought that result, with the No. 2 Tigers besting the No. 1 Vikings and presumably taking over the top spot in Class-6A.
“It means a lot,” Dinkins said. “I mean, our team is I feel like we get disrespected sometimes. We get thrown under the bus. They’re ranked the number one and we came back on top. … It means everything. It means a lot. The quarterbacks on my team, my coaches, I’m just so very thankful.”
Dinkins is also making an impact on defense for the Tigers. He lines up at linebacker, but the tall and athletic Dinkins is just as comfortable going back in coverage as he is fitting the run or rushing the passer. He showed that off late in the game against Central Catholic, when he went out in the flat with Brandon Jackson — perhaps the fastest player on the field for either team — and came away with an interception for a touchdown.
“A soon as [Jackson] went out, he was the fastest player, so I just went straight to the play,” Dinkins said. “I got it and I was gone. I wasn’t looking back. Just keep going.”
The score opened the distance between the Tigers and Vikings from two scores to three, making the rest of the victory fairly comfortable for North Allegheny. It also gave Dinkins another impressive clip to add to his already substantial highlight reel.
“When he picked that off, and I just saw the green in front of them, I knew he was gone,” Walker said. “You get that little bit of sigh of relief.”