Times' State High-School Players Of The Year -- Expectations Bind Star Qbs -- Huard, Lucht Share Respect, Differences

The major-college recruit and the small-town hero read about each other every Saturday morning while they chased their common dream.

Brock Huard was Bobby Lucht's measuring stick. Lucht caught Huard's fancy while pursuing a national touchdown record.

Two strong-armed quarterbacks growing up just 25 miles apart with a singular goal - winning. Toss the records and accolades aside and consider this: In Huard's three years at Puyallup (he played tight end as a sophomore), the Vikings had a 28-4 record. Lucht led nearby Eatonville to a 41-4 mark in four seasons at quarterback, including a 13-0 state-title campaign in 1992.

They stormed into their senior seasons shouldering a load of expectations and lived up to most. They shared record assaults, a long list of honors, and just one major disappointment. Neither was able to lead his team to the state championship.

Fittingly, they share honors as The Seattle Times players of the year.

With a mutual respect, neither minds the company. Huard doesn't discount Lucht's statistics, especially the national-record 132 touchdown passes, despite Eatonville's Class A stature.

"He's done an incredible job throwing all those touchdowns," Huard said. "I don't care what level it is, that's a lot. And to start four years, you've got to be pretty good."

Lucht appreciates Huard's achievements, as well. "He's a great quarterback, too," he said.

One of Lucht's Saturday-morning rituals was scanning the sports page to see how his performance the night before stacked up to Huard's.

"I'd always look to see how I compared to him and other quarterbacks from triple-A and double-A," he said.

Neither played their best in their final prep games. In Puyallup's 28-0 loss to Lakes in a mini-playoff (two 12-minute halves), Huard threw 11 straight incompletions while under heavy pressure - he wound up on the ground eight times. Hardly a typical outing for a guy who had completed 65 percent of his passes in leading the Vikings to an 8-1 record.

Lucht completed nine of 19 passes for 151 yards in Eatonville's semifinal game against Montesano, but threw two interceptions as the Cruisers lost 30-13 to finish 11-1.

But Huard and Lucht didn't hang their heads.

"You can never take it on yourself; you're just one player on a team," Huard said. "I feel the quarterback sometimes gets too much credit and sometimes get too much blame."

Said Lucht, "I was just trying to do what I could do, and everything wasn't clicking."

Both played under the microscope this season. Lucht's record chase was a story before he threw his first pass. His Friday night feats were celebrated in local diners over Saturday morning coffee. Bobby Lucht put Eatonville on the map.

Huard also had nowhere to hide. An ESPN film crew roamed the Puyallup practice field before the season and Huard was asked to keep a diary for USA Today.

Both took the attention in stride.

"Bobby always tried to deflect the attention onto his line and the rest of the team," Eatonville Coach George Fairhart said. "I think he handled it all real well."

Huard tried to simply enjoy the ride.

"The way I look at it is it only comes around once," he said.

The pressure's still on. At 6 feet 5 and 215 pounds, Huard is one of the nation's top recruits. He was still groggy yesterday from a weekend visit to UCLA, where he figures he got a total of 10 hours of sleep. He visited Pittsburgh earlier, but was more impressed with UCLA. He has a visit at the University of Washington, where brother Damon has starts, scheduled Dec. 17-18.

Huard lists Stanford, California and Washington State as possible visits. He expects a decision by the first of the year.

Lucht (6-1, 195), on the other hand, awaits his first visit to a major college. He has had calls and letters from a few smaller colleges, and is leaning toward Montana. But he has no real offers.

"It's kind of frustrating," Lucht said. "I'll just have to wait and see."

Maybe in a couple of years, Huard and Lucht will read about each other's football adventures once more. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Lucht-Hueard: By the numbers

Bobby Lucht

Comp. Att. Pct. Yard TD Int. ----------------------------------------------- 1994 147 278 53 2,634 44 11 . ----------------------------------------------- Career 530 942 56 8,938 132 40 .

Brock Huard

Comp. Att. Pct. Yard TD Int. ---------------------------------------------- 1994 115 177 65 1,977 28 5. ---------------------------------------------- Career 237 408 58 3,857 45 10.

Note: Luchi started for four years; Huard played three seasons, but was a QB only the past two.