1990 Cathedral team had early dose of McNair

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2000

Long before the world knew about Steve McNair, members of the 1990 Cathedral High football team were all too familiar with the Tennessee Titan quarterback.

Cathedral lost to Mount Olive 42-0 in the first round of the Class A state playoffs as McNair passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

&uot;We all knew he was a good quarterback,&uot; said Glenn Kidder, a running back/linebacker on that team who finished with 35 yards rushing and eight solo tackles and five assists in the contest.

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&uot;Steve was very elusive, strong and quick,&uot; said Kidder, who is temporarily teaching at Cathedral. &uot;They ran out of a version of the (Notre Dame) Box and he would pretty much run as the play developed.&uot;

Cathedral head coach Ken Beesley, who faced Steve’s older brother Fred twice during in regular season games, said Steve, &uot;was probably the best athlete I ever had a team play against. He ran basically the same type offense in high school he ran in college and now. You think you had him hemmed up and he would make a play. He probably had the strongest arm of anybody we’ve faced. He could throw it 60 to 70 yards in high school. Most schools wanted him as a defensive back, but Alcorn told him he could play quarterback.&uot;

McNair’s arm strength became evident to Beesley just before halftime of that playoff game.

&uot;They had the ball on their 20-yard line and our told our safety to back way up and don’t come up no matter what,&uot;&160;Beesley said. &uot;McNair happened to get out of the pocket and rolled outside. Our safety came up and he threw it about 60 yards and the guy caught it for a touchdown. They had a good team. They had a real good fullback, but he was the leader and you had to account for him. He would hurt you running or throwing. He wasn’t your normal built quarterback. He was a lot more physical.&uot;

Kidder said the fact he played against McNair is a good conversation piece.

&uot;I don’t know how well we played, but we did play,&uot; he said. &uot;And he was very humble. He was not a trash talker. He showed a lot of character. And each time I see him do well in an NFL game it certainly does wonders for my self-esteem.&uot;