The quarterback position in football isn’t necessarily designed to be shared, but the UBC Thunderbirds have found success this season with a pair of Abbotsford products taking turns under centre.
Carson Williams and Greg Bowcott have been battling for the starting job since the spring, but head coach Shawn Olson has ended up using both players extensively.
Both have had shining moments. On Sept. 7, Williams guided the T-Birds back from a 27-point third-quarter deficit against Alberta Golden Bears to win 39-36 in OT.
On Oct. 19, against those same Golden Bears, Bowcott took a star turn, throwing for two TDs and rushing for two more in a 60-0 victory – the most lopsided win in UBC history.
The duo has led the T-Birds to the Canada West playoffs with a 4-4 record, and they face the powerhouse Calgary Dinos in the first round of the post-season this Saturday.
“Usually the way it goes is, we play a couple series each and then he (Olson) goes with whoever’s hot,” Bowcott explained. “So far, it’s worked out for the good of the team . . . we both bring different things to the table.”
Indeed, the two QBs’ styles are contrasting. Bowcott, at 6’4″, looks the part of the field general and makes great use of his athleticism, while the 5’11” Williams is more of a cerebral decision-maker who excels at getting the ball into his playmakers’ hands.
Their paths to UBC were divergent. Coming out of Rick Hansen Secondary, Bowcott spent two seasons with the Simon Fraser University Clan and one with the Langley Rams of the B.C. Football Conference – leading the latter squad to the 2012 Canadian Bowl where they fell to the Saskatoon Hilltops – prior to landing with the T-Birds.
Williams, on the other hand, went directly to UBC after graduating from Abby Senior in 2010.
Their working relationship is better than you might expect in such a competitive situation, aided by the fact that they’re childhood friends who played baseball together growing up in Abbotsford.
“He was always shortstop or second base, and I was shortstop or pitcher,” Bowcott recalled with a chuckle.
“We help each other, and we know that if we don’t work together, we’re not going to be successful,” Williams noted. “We know we’re both going to be counted on at some point.”