LEWISTON — Bill County believes he’s been blessed in his first decade coaching football at Lewiston High School.

“I’ve been spoiled with tailbacks over the last decade, you know?,” County said. “But that’s okay, because it’s nice to have a quarterback who’s confident and runs the team the way he does.”

“He” is Ronnie Turner, who could emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the state while giving Lewiston’s normally ground-oriented offense a new look.

“It’s hard to find a downside with his skills,” County said.

Turner, a senior in his second year under center for the Blue Devils, has the strong arm, deceptive speed and leadership skills to direct a passing attack that traditionally has taken a back seat at Lewiston to a ground game paced by the likes of Jared Turcotte and Wesley Myers. 

“I guess coach is putting his faith in me this year, opening it up a
little bit, spread things out, see if they can guard us,” Turner said.
“We’ve got a few guys on the perimeter — Peter Blais and Nick Weekes —
speed guys … and try to give teams a different look.”

Turner gave his coaches reason to put their faith in him last year by not only showing fine skills as a runner and passer but also poise and a handle of the game that few first-year varsity quarterbacks possess. If he had a suggestion on a play or an adjustment, he had their ear.

This year, County expects Turner to be an even greater extension of the brain trust.

“Typical of a second-year quarterback, he can make adjustments, he can ask for plays to be called, he knows when I make a mistake with a formation in a play,” County said. “It’s kind of a cliche, but it’s having that other coach on the field.”

“I think they feel pretty confident in me,” County said. “Last year, I
wasn’t always right, but for the most part I feel I was, so I think
they feel pretty confident in me after seeing my preseason work.”

Turner’s off-season work generated more confidence all around. He participated in Boston College Football Camp and was one of 20 players from around the country selected to the camp’s “elite” squad at the end of the week.

“It felt like it was a college game, kind of,” he said. “Guys were just flying
around, running 4.4’s. It wasn’t something I was used to, but for the
most part, I think I did pretty good. Guys there gave me a
lot of tips.”

“They told us it’s all about completions at the
camp, not how far a guy can throw or how hard he can throw,” Turner added. “I feel everything is about timing with your receivers and your
relationship with your teammates, so I worked real hard in the
preseason to get a good feel for my receivers and get a good
relationship with my linemen.”

The camp opened the eyes of college recruiters. Turner has talked to schools ranging from Division I BC and Connecticut to Division III Brown and Bates. 

Turner, who will also play defensive back, is one of a number of returning starters that the Blue Devils are counting on to lead them deep into the playoffs this season. But the quarterback acknowledges that his position on the team and in the huddle puts greater responsibility on his shoulders.

“This year I feel like the team’s looking at me — my emotions, what I’m
doing during the game,” he said. “So I’ve got to be real consistent with that and
have a (positive) say in the huddle so guys don’t get down on
themselves.”


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