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Senior quarterbacks lead high-octane offenses in showdown

Jonathan Warren | Thursday, November 17, 2011

For senior quarterbacks Lauren Miller of No. 6 McGlinn and Rebecca Cink of No. 1 Cavanaugh, this season has been three years in the making. With two years of starting experience under their belts, both seniors entered the season knowing what it takes to win, but without starting in an interhall finale.

Sunday, they meet in Notre Dame Stadium to see, after three years, who is more prepared to finally become champion.

Miller said continued improvement has helped get her to this point after McGlinn reached the championship during her freshman year.

“Experience plays a huge role in terms of confidence and development of the technical skills,” Miller said. “I have a better feel for the game than I did when I first started playing and going into this game.”

Miller began as a backup quarterback, and she said playing behind then-senior Sarah DuGroots was a springboard to her interhall career.

“I was fortunate enough to play with a talented senior quarterback,” Miller said. “Warming up with her and playing on her team taught me a lot. It definitely helped start the process and give me some confidence going into my sophomore year.”

Since then, Miller has become a threat to throw the long pass. In the Shamrocks’ 20-0 quarterfinal win over No. 3 Farley, Miller connected for 47-yard and 35-yard touchdown passes, respectively, on consecutive drives.

“I enjoy throwing the deep ball down the field,” Miller said. “A lot of our touchdowns have come from receivers getting deep and really winning it up in the air for us.”

Despite throwing for two touchdowns and 161 yards against Farley, Miller said she enjoyed McGlinn’s 7-0 semifinal win over No. 7 Howard more. Miller struggled in the first half, but threw an 18-yard touchdown pass in the second half to win the game.

“I think I got more comfortable as the game went on. As the game progressed, I got more familiar with their defensive schemes and getting an idea of the pass rush and was able to settle in the second half.”

Cink hopes to settle in against a McGlinn defense that held the Chaos to six points in a quarterfinal loss last season. She said pressure has less of an effect on her now that she is a senior.

“I take pressure in stride,” Cink said. “No one goes to the quarterback position thinking it’s going to be low pressure. You know you have to perform every game. It’s just mastering control over your stress and anxiety level and going to get it.”

With three touchdown passes in each of the Chaos’ two playoff games, Cink has succumbed to an offensive drop-off in the playoffs.

“A lot of my leadership is unsaid ⎯ just making sure the ball goes where it needs to go,” Cink said. “My receivers know if the ball hits you in the hands, you better catch it. Hopefully, I’m a calming presence on the field and don’t get distracted or discouraged.”

Cink has led the Cavanaugh offense since she joined the team her sophomore year. After throwing discus in high school, she knew she had a strong enough arm to challenge for the quarterback position.

“I have a pretty strong arm and I enjoy the position,” Cink said. “After our senior quarterback graduated, I worked my way up from there.”

According to Cink, her game has come a long way since her sophomore year.

“I think it’s improved a lot because of my great coaches,”

Cink said. “I’m just better able to read the defense and see where the open plays are. With all these years under my belt, I know what to expect. The game goes a lot slower when you know what to expect.”

Both Cink and Miller’s experience will provide anchors for their respective teams when they meet Sunday. But in their final game, only one of these winners will end her career as a champion.