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Taking over for prolific predecessors, pressure's on QBs Tre Hopkins, Jimmy Lahay and Kasim Hill

Oakland Mills' Tre Hopkins, Franklin's Jimmy Lahay and Gilman's Kasim Hill didn't have much in common on the football field last fall.

Hopkins excelled as a wide receiver. Lahay started at linebacker. Hill stood out at safety.

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This season, they'll have a lot in common as starting quarterbacks taking over for some of the area's most prolific 2014 signal-callers.

Hopkins and Lahay, who are seniors, and Hill, a junior, all have some experience at the position.

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Hopkins started as a freshman. Lahay played one full game last season, throwing for 240 yards and four touchdowns. Hill came off the bench in a pinch and threw the game-winning touchdown against a nationally ranked team as a freshman.

Now they'll carry the full load for teams with high expectations.

Hopkins, an All-Metro second-team wide receiver, runs the offense for an Oakland Mills team that, last fall, reached the playoffs and posted its first winning record since 2003 behind Offensive Player of the Year David Pindell. Pindell threw for 2,447 yards, ran for 924 and contributed to 44 touchdowns.

Scorpions coach Thomas Browne said Hopkins, 6 feet, 175 pounds, doesn't have the arm that Pindell has, but he's an accurate passer and light on his feet. A three-sport standout, he has all the quickness and athleticism necessary. He's a shooting guard on the state championship basketball team and a 2013 state high jump champion.

"I definitely feel pressure," Hopkins said of Pindell, "but I'm not too worried about filling his shoes, because I'm a different player than him and I'm going to do my own thing. I definitely learned from him. I'm more of a runner. I would like to run more than David.

"David liked to say he was a pocket passer even though he was fast. I'm more of a runner. He has a great arm and I've just got the feet."

The Scorpions won't make wholesale changes to their offense, but they'll adapt to Hopkins' strengths. The same is true at No. 4 Franklin and No. 1 Gilman.

Lahay, 6-1, 200 pounds, is more of a pocket passer than his scampering predecessor, Jacquez Adams, who threw for 4,375 yards and 46 touchdowns over the past two seasons and led the Indians to back-to-back Class 3A state championships. Adams, who ran for 916 yards last season, had a wrist injury that allowed Lahay to play a full game and get a few more snaps than he might have otherwise.

"Jacquez was more of a runner," Lahay said, "so he liked to drop back. He took his time and if he didn't see it, he was more 'Just let me escape and run out.' I'm more of a pocket passer, so I'm just hoping that I can drop back. I'm not going to be trying to go with quite as many deep balls. I'm just going to try to find the open man, because you can't go broke making profit."

Franklin coach Anthony Burgos said Lahay already has command of the huddle and that he just needs to be confident and his teammates will follow him.

At Gilman, Hill is the youngest of the three but he comes with the highest expectations after drawing rave reviews at Michigan State's Elite Camp. Listed as a three-star recruit and the No. 13 junior pro-style quarterback in the nation, he already has offers from such programs as Michigan State, Penn State and Boston College.

Hill played the past two seasons behind second-team All-Metro quarterback Kai Locksley, now at Texas. Locksley ran for 1,050 yards, passed for 915 and scored 22 touchdowns last fall for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference co-champions.

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With the Greyhounds looking to claim the A Conference championship outright for the first time in three years, a lot rides on Hill's shoulders. He experienced that pressure as a freshman, coming off the bench with less than five minutes to go when Locksley lost a shoe to throw the game-winning touchdown against nationally ranked Good Counsel — the first pass of his high school career.

Last season, he played half of the 35-0 loss to Paramus Catholic, N.J., and the whole game in a 49-0 win over Anacostia, from Washington, D.C..

"I don't feel any pressure" now, said Hill, 6-feet-2, 205 pounds. "I've just got to go out there and do my responsibilities and I'll be fine."

While Hill is better known for his arm, Gilman is better known for the run and, and with a huge offensive line, coach Biff Poggi will continue to run and so will Hill. He ran for a touchdown in the season-opening 14-13 loss to St. Edward, Ohio, the No. 19 team in USA Today's preseason Super 25.

The quarterbacks will be in action Friday with Oakland Mills hosting No. 15 Glenelg, Franklin heading to No. 2 McDonogh and Gilman traveling to Good Counsel. All start at 7 p.m.

Hopkins, Lahay and Hill spent much of the summer working with their teammates to develop their game and their chemistry and it's all coming to fruition.

What Poggi said of Hill applies to all three: "He's got a lot of ability, but you've got to prove it on the field."

They can't wait to do just that.

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