Jack vs. Jack: Examining the SU quarterback battle


Salisbury’s football team has a great problem at the quarterback position: two strong candidates for the starting job, both with unique talents and skills that they bring to the table.


This is the battle of the Jacks.


Junior QB Jack Navitsky is a dual-threat quarterback from Shrewsbury, N.J. Navitsky transferred to Salisbury in 2017 due to not seeing a lot of playing time at Marist College, a Division I school in New York.


In high school, Navitsky broke several records at Red Bank Regionals Stadium. He threw for around 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for over 900 yards in his final two seasons for Red Bank.


Junior QB Jack Lanham was one of four commits from Calvert High School in 2017. In his last high school season, he completed 51 of 96 passes for 740 yards and four touchdowns.


When Navitsky transferred to Salisbury, he was the established backup quarterback behind Lanham.


However, Navitsky would quickly see game action, as Lanham broke his wrist in the second game of the 2018-19 season against Kean University. Navitsky was able to lead his Sea Gull squad to a 28-0 victory.


The position would not remain stable for long, though, as Navitsky would go down with an injury later in the season.


This season, both quarterbacks are uncertain about the quarterback battle and where they stand.


Navitsky suited up with the ones in the season opener against Albright College, leading the Sea Gulls to a 63-28 victory. Navitsky had five completions for 112 yards and three touchdowns.


Navitsky said that he saw his offseason work manifest in the season opener. He was excited to see his hard work pay off in the Albright game.


Navitsky runs left on the triple-option play.

“I see a big change, which obviously we’re happy about, but just have to see, and take it week by week to see if it continues, which I think it will,” Navitsky said.


Lanham also got some playing time against the Lions, with which he ran the ball six times for 27 yards and completed one pass for seven yards.


Head coach Sherman Wood said that Navitsky played a significant role in Salisbury’s season-opening win.


“Early on in the season, Navitsky had provided us that type of flow, during camps, during practices and leading up to the Albright game, everything was pretty good,” Wood said. “It was a big deal.”


Coming off a strong performance to start the campaign, Navitsky got the starting nod for game two against the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.


He recorded zero completions and negative two rushing yards in just under a quarter of play, after which he would be pulled in favor of Lanham.


Lanham drops back to send a pass downfield.

Lanham entered the game with 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter. He then led the Gulls to a 24-19 victory.


Lanham had seven completions out of nine attempts for 51 yards, and one touchdown.

Head coach Sherman Wood said that Navitsky played a significant role in Salisbury’s season-opening win.


“Early on in the season, Navitsky had provided us that type of flow, during camps, during practices and leading up to the Albright game, everything was pretty good,” Wood said. “It was a big deal.”


Wood expressed how the two QBs are equal in his mind, not in how they play, but in the value that they bring to the team.


“Navitsky is quick, I would say, he knows how to make a person miss,” Wood said. “Lanham is tall, and will go straight at you, which sometimes you don’t like in your quarterback, but that’s just who he is.”


Wood said that Navitsky has a certain finesse to his game, but it was a finesse that proved to be ineffective against the Titans' defense. This was a large factor prompting the switch.

Wood said that Lanham’s size and mechanics give him more upside as a passer, while Navitsky is the more athletic of the two quarterbacks.


Lanham said that starting the game on the sideline helped him understand what the Wisconsin-Oshkosh defense was running and how to beat it.


“Seeing the game from the sideline at first made it a little easier to go in,” Lanham said. “I was able to see what Oshkosh’s defense was running and seeing how my teammates were responding. I feel like I handled it well.”


Following the cancellation of the Central International scrimmage, the Sea Gulls will not return to action until Oct. 5 when they travel to Montclair State University for their third game of the year. Currently ranked No. 23 in the D3football.com Top 25, Salisbury will continue to search for “the guy” under center.


By DANIELLE TYLER

Staff writer

Featured photos: Brendan Link images.

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