EDMOND — Losing the preseason quarterback battle at Edmond North last August was certainly disappointing for Luke Hoskins, but he also found it humbling.
“I knew I had the potential to start and I fell a little bit short,” said Hoskins, who entered his final spring football practices this week as the Huskies' clear-cut signal caller.
“I tried to improve on what I needed to improve on, and hopefully that has paid off and we'll have a great season this year.”
As a junior, Hoskins and senior Jesse Mathews battled throughout the spring, summer and fall practices for the job that ultimately went to Mathews. Edmond North finished the season 9-3, losing 17-16 in the Class 6A quarterfinals at eventual state champion Tulsa Union.
“Jesse was very talented, and was a great leader and winner,” said Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek. “But Luke, no doubt about it, is a more accurate thrower and has a stronger arm. We'll do what we can to utilize his talents, that's for sure.”
Dombek said Hoskins has the talent to be “one of the best ones I've ever had.”
During his junior season, Hoskins saw mop-up duty at quarterback and also played some fullback. He completed all 15 passes he attempted, threw for more than 300 yards and added three touchdowns.
“He knows the offense, he takes command and our kids believe in him,” Dombek said.
In addition to Mathews, Edmond North lost a large, talented and successful senior class that included many starters. But Hoskins being the unquestioned starting quarterback this season puts the Huskies in a good position.
“Last year, we knew we were a senior-laden team and knew we'd be good,” Dombek said. “But there was always that question of who the quarterback was going to be. We don't have that now. We can install a little bit more because Luke's going to get the majority of the reps. Our playbook will be expanded this year because of the things Luke can do.”
Senior center Heath Newland, a four-year starter, said he's fired up to get back to work after last year's disappointing end and excited by his new quarterback.
“I'm glad Luke's behind us,” Newland said. “He's a great quarterback. (Last year) was a battle, and they both performed well. I'm glad to see him back in the back field.”
For Hoskins, he's motivated to prove Edmond North can still be good despite the significant losses due to graduation.
“All we've been hearing is about all the seniors we lost,” Hoskins said. “We want to show everyone that we can be just as good if not better.”