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Krueger a team player for Thunder Ridge

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Kensington-Thunder Ridge High School junior Garrett Krueger is a team-first type of player.

When head coach Jerry Voorhees chose Derek Reed to start at quarterback following a QB competition between Reed and Krueger in training camp, it didn't bother Krueger. When Voorhees changed his mind midway through the first game and decided to make Krueger the signal caller for the rest of the season, it again didn't bother Krueger.

"I thought it was fine," Krueger said. "I would have done anything to play. It really didn't matter where I played."

That's the kind of attitude Voorhees wants out of his players, and he said Krueger exemplifies it perfectly.

"He is just a tremendous competitor," Voorhees said. "When you have that type of kid back there, he challenges everybody and pushes everybody."

Though much of Thunder Ridge's offense revolves around handing thunderous senior fullback Trevor Lowe the ball between the tackles, Krueger plays a key role, too. He organizes the offense, executes the option, minimizes mistakes, makes key passes and also runs the ball quite well.

But most importantly, Voorhees said Krueger is a team leader.

Voorhees initially made the decision to start Reed because of his athleticism but went with Krueger because of his previous experience in the position and his leadership qualities.

"He's not afraid to step up and take a leadership role, and that's what you need at your quarterback position," Voorhees said. "I'm willing to give up a little bit of athleticism and things like that for the leadership."

In middle school, Krueger was an offensive lineman, but he moved to QB during his freshman season because the junior varsity squad didn't have one. He adapted, learned the new position and did what was best for the team.

"It didn't really affect me either way," Krueger said. "I just looked at it in a positive way and went on with it."

Krueger said he didn't think he was doing anything special as a team leader. He said with the graduation of so many starters from last season's team, it was natural to step up.

"All of us guys have a real strong bond," Krueger said. "It is kind of easy to be a leader for this team. We all know each other so well."

Krueger has done more than just lead, though. He has completed 34 of 47 passes for 557 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has run well, especially in last week's contest against Sharon Springs-Wallace County when he rushed 12 times for 81 yards and a touchdown.

He also is a leader of the defense and was one of two returning starters from last season.

Playing linebacker, Krueger leads the team with 75 total tackles. He also has three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and two sacks.

"He is a tough kid," Voorhees said.

To Krueger, self sacrifice for the sake of the team is essential to be a good teammate and strong leader.

"Whatever it takes to help my team win, I'd play it," he said.

On Saturday against a powerhouse Baileyville-B&B (12-0) squad for a back-to-back title, Thunder Ridge might need his leadership more than ever.