McQuade follows Aurora Christian's QB legacy

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McQuade follows Aurora Christian's QB legacy

For two years, coach Don Beebe has been touting who he perceives as the next great quarterback at Aurora Christian, the multi-talented youngster who will follow in the footsteps of Jordan Roberts, Nate Peterson and Anthony Maddie, who rank 1-2-5 in state history for touchdown passes in a career.

Beebe, who once caught passes from Hall of Famer Jim Kelly for the Buffalo Bills, knows a quarterback when he sees one. And before the 2012 season began, he felt 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore Austin Bray would be his starting quarterback.

But he forgot to tell Ryan McQuade.

"Going into the summer, I was going to start Bray. He will be a good one," Beebe said. "He was the starter. Then we competed in a 7-on-7 tournament with Kaneland, Batavia and Neuqua Valley and Ryan lit it up from a leadership standpoint. Then we went to a national 7-on-7 tournament in Arkansas and finished third out of 32 teams and Ryan lit it up again. We knew he would be our quarterback this year. As he progressed, I knew he would have a big year."

Truth be told, Beebe had to be nudged a little. McQuade is Beebe's nephew. No, he didnt ask his mother (Beebe's sister) to intercede in his behalf. Instead, he walked into the coach's office and boldly announced that he wanted a shot at the starting quarterback position.

"I started at outside linebacker on last year's state championship team but my heart is at quarterback," McQuade said. "I knew I was slated to be the backup as a senior when the summer began. I told him I wanted a shot at quarterback. He said Austin has been there and is slated to be the starter.
I said: 'I'll put a lot of time and effort into it and we'll see at the end of the summer.' It worked out good."

"Ryan is an intriguing story. He sat behind (All-Stater) Anthony Maddie for the last two years. It is neat to see him have such a great season because he wanted to play quarterback so much last year but couldn't because of Maddie. But this year we never missed a beat at the quarterback position."

McQuade, a 6-foot-4, 206-pound senior, has completed 192 of 331 passes for 2,973 yards and 42 touchdowns for a 12-1 team that will meet Tolono Unity in the Class 3A championship on Friday in Champaign. He was 12-of-21 for 167 yards and four touchdowns in last Saturday's 41-7 semifinal rout of Sterling Newman.

"This team is better than last year. We're playing well, firing on all cylinders," Beebe said. "This is the best defense I've coached in nine years, 11 players who can all play, no weaknesses. In some ways, this also is our best offense. Never before have we had great passing and running games together. Our kicking game is great. And this is the best coaching staff I've had."

One of Beebe's assistants is Bryan Wells, a former dean of students at Neuqua Valley who was fired as head football coach after last season. Wells left the Naperville school to become principal at Aurora Christian. He also is Beebe's special teams coach.

McQuade has found his niche, throwing to wide receivers Chad Beebe and Cory Windle and handing off to Brandon Mayes and Joel Bouganon, who have combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards.

"Honestly, I'm a team guy," McQuade said. "As long as we're winning, that's all I care about. It's a blast playing for my uncle. We have a great mixture. Opponents can't key on one thing. My goals were to pass for 2,500 yards and 30-35 touchdowns. I surpassed all that. But I care about winning and the team the most."

He felt confident in his ability to be the starting quarterback because he knew Beebe was looking for a vocal leader. "That's what he looks for in a quarterback--a true leader. I've worked hard for this. I know the history of the quarterbacks at this school. All I wanted to do is make a name for myself, be confident in my abilities and perform well. I believe I have done that," McQuade said.

What is the scouting report on Tolono Unity? Last year, Aurora Christian crushed Tolono Unity 50-26 in the semifinals. Unity returns quarterback Justin Deters and two Division I recruits, wide receiver Micah Johnson and linebacker Mitch Negangard.

"They know us and we know them from last year's film," Beebe said. "They are the best team we have faced in the playoff. Whoever turns the ball over the least will win the game."

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

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Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."