Schuck's Clipboard

Who makes list of WB6's all-time best?

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 15, 2018 12:01 am

The suggestion popped up on Twitter and immediately got my gears turning.

Vernon Hammond, a Western Big Six Conference aficionado with ties to both Rock Island and Quincy, sent a message to myself and three members of the Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus staff -- Marc Nesseler, Jeff Wendland and Steve Tappa -- with an idea that we collectively come up with a list of the best WB6 football and basketball players by position.

Hammond threw out ranking the top three at each position and based his idea off tweets he read comparing Quincy High School running back Jirehl Brock, the recent Iowa State commit, and former Rock Island tailback Alonzo Wise, who led the Rocks to the Class 5A state title game in 1997 and signed with Wisconsin.

So the question became this: Which standout would you take as the No. 1 running back in WB6 history?

Or do they go down as Nos. 1A and 1B in league history? If so, who is No. 3 on the running back list?

It's an intriguing idea Hammond presented and one that could create a fun project. These aren't lists that can be compiled overnight. Conversations with coaches, administrators and athletes who span the league's nearly 50-year history need to happen to ensure the scope isn't limited a reporter's tenure.

And you want to be sure out of sight doesn't mean out of mind.

In three days of occasionally thinking it through, I already find that happening.

I began jotting a list of names of Quincy players to consider. The first few were quite obvious -- Brock, quarterback Eric Bush, running back Alex Douglas and offensive lineman Curtis Lovelace. Each had made a name for themselves in the sport, and three of the four are inducted into the Quincy Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame.

Brock has at least 11 years until he joins that group.

That's when my mind started spinning.

How do you judge the best offensive linemen when teams ran such varying offenses throughout five decades? Can you say a linebacker from the 1970s was more dominant than a linebacker from the 2000s? Do the stats even compare.? How much does Quincy's history impact the number of players it might have on the list?

I happened to be thinking about all of these things driving down a country road with the windows down and the radio blaring when I nearly hit the brakes.

"Kerry Anders," I said to myself. "Don't forget Kerry Anders."

A 1972 graduate of Quincy and who made it to the final round of cuts with the St. Louis Cardinals following a stellar career at Missouri Southern, Anders is one of the greatest all-around athletes in QHS history. He was equally dangerous as a wide receiver and a kick returner and was an honorable mention All-American at Missouri Southern.

No one currently covering the league ever saw him play, but his legacy is unforgettable.

There are undoubtedly others like that at each of the league's six schools. It becomes a matter of making sure they aren't forgotten.

Each day, I come up with another Quincy name to add to the discussion. Some might make it, some might not. Regardless, each has a place in the history of the league.

Already this is an intriguing stroll through history, and the longer it goes, it promises to be quite a trip.