At least in theory, one single player, even one as vital to the team as a quarterback in football, should not have a profound difference on how an entire group of 11 guys perform.
Do not tell that to the Westhill Warriors, though. They have now seen, first-hand, just how different things can be when that single, vital player comes back to the field.
Through the first two weeks of the 2008 season, senior quarterback Mike DeCarr stood on the sidelines, recovering from a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury.
Without him, Westhill got outscored 85-24 by Bishop Kearney and Oneida, looking nowhere near the powerhouse it had been reaching four of the last five Section III Class B finals.
But DeCarr was ready to go last Friday night when the Warriors met Homer in the Class B West division opener -- and his mere presence seemed to lift the spirits of every single Westhill partisan, whether on the sidelines or in the stands.
Oh yeah, it also lifted the offensive performance, too, as DeCarr threw for four touchdowns, all to Dan Ross, and pushed the Warriors to a 51-13 rout of the Trojans.
Overall, DeCarr completed 15 of his 21 passes for 174 yards, a superb debut against a Homer team that, at 0-2, had proved quite competitive in narrow losses to Cortland and Chittenango to open the season.
But the combination of DeCarr's presence and the fierce determination the rest of the Warriors had (especially on defense) after the rough ride of the first two weeks proved far too powerful for anyone, especially Homer, to overcome.
It was 12-0 before the first quarter was done. Twice, the Warriors drove into Homer's red zone. Twice, DeCarr finished it off with TD passes to Ross of 16 and four yards, the junior receiver all too glad to be back in his normal role after assuming the QB duties in DeCarr's absence.