The Bandys football team's quarterback situation can be described in one word — teamwork.
Sharing responsibilities under center, the duo of senior David Barrow and junior Anthony Toscano has led the Trojans to a strong, comeback season.
Bandys finished with a 3-8 record a season ago and missed the playoffs, but the efforts of Barrow, Toscano and a strong senior class carried the Trojans to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
However, the Trojans had to conquer adversity to reach the postseason.
On Barrow's final play of the first half in the season opener against St. Stephens on Aug. 19, he broke his thumb.
Toscano prepared himself to go into the game.
"I was going into the season thinking I wouldn't play that much," said Toscano, who was the Bandys junior varsity starting quarterback last year. "When I saw his thumb, I knew it was broken by the way it looked. I knew he was going to be out a while, so I went in."
The junior guided the Trojans from a 7-0 deficit in the early going of the second half, helping his team eventually win 28-7.
While the news of a lost quarterback was devastating, the team found out that the situation wasn't as bad as it seemed. Barrow’s injury would not sideline him the entire year.
"At first, I thought it was a ligament tear," Barrow said of his injury. "I thought I was done for the season. When they told me it wasn't, I figured I would be back before the season was over.”
In the meantime, Toscano led Bandys to two more wins in as many weeks.
Barrow returned to the field in week four against North Lincoln, but in a role that he wasn’t accustomed to — defensive back.
“It was different not being able to grab things,” Barrow said. “I was just happy to be on the field to be honest.”
Despite losing games to Draughn and Maiden during the regular season as a starter, Toscano talked to Barrow and the two supported one another.
"David told me to stay calm and lead them," Toscano said. "When things got tough, just keep it held down and don't get big-headed. Don't be a jerk to your offensive line because in the end, that's the reason why you win. It's because of them.”
Barrow returned at quarterback against South Iredell on Oct. 14, poised to lead his team into the playoffs.
“I'd been able to hold the ball and throw it for a week or so before the South Iredell game,” Barrow said. “It wasn't good enough to throw against Maiden. I worked on it all of the next week and we alternated against South Iredell. Coach took me off defense and I played offense the rest of the night.”
Barrow returned to form in Bandys’ first-round playoff game against Ashe County, tossing a 56-yard touchdown pass on the opening play.
However, Bandys’ playoff run nearly ended.
Barrow left the game with a head injury and, despite passing numerous tests, trainers said he showed concussion-like symptoms, prompting Toscano to be re-inserted.
“When David got the concussion, I knew I was only going to be in a week, but I knew if I didn't step up, we wouldn't have him for the next week,” Toscano said. “I don't want to say I did it just for him, but I did it for the seniors. If I wouldn't have stepped up and taken it, we wouldn't have been here this week.”
Bandys overcame a 14-12 halftime deficit in that game to score 28-straight points in a 40-14 victory — the team's first playoff win since 2009.
“We're lucky that Anthony started six games for us, while Barrow was out with a broken hand,” Trojans coach Randy Lowman said after last week’s playoff game. “It wasn't like we had thrown a rookie in there who hadn't played. He's won quite a few ball games for us this year. He's just a professional. Nothing shakes or rattles him. He just goes in and executes. I liked having him out there. We had a lot of years where we lost a quarterback and didn't have a back-up. It is a bit of a luxury to have two guys you can lean on like that.”
With either player in at the quarterback position, the Trojans are confident they can get the job done and continue their success.
“Somebody in practice the other day said we had the best back-up in the league,” Barrow said. “It's not really a big deal of who is in. We just get the job done.”