HILMAR -- Favoritism. Nepotism. Small-town politics.
Hilmar football coach Frank Marques has heard all the verbal arrows fired his way by some unhappy fans around town the last month.
What has Marques done to attract all this hostility?
Has he tipped over the wrong cow in this small dairy town?
Has Marques eaten all the cheese?
It seems the old ball coach had the nerve to change his quarterback.
As they used to say in the old salsa commercials, "Get a rope!"
It's just another case where these wannabe coaches who think they know more than the coach.
In case you haven't heard, here's a quick recap of the big Hilmar quarterback controversy.
Quinton McCown entered the season at the top of the depth chart.
That was until he broke his collarbone during a scrimmage just before the start of the season.
Receiver Christian Azevedo made the move to quarterback and did a great job.
So good, that some parents and fans felt Azevedo should stay at quarterback even though McCown was back in pads.
Marques will be the first to admit Azevedo held his own under center.
Hilmar went 5-0 with Azevedo .
"Christian did everything we asked," Marques said.
When Western Athletic Conference play started, McCown was cleared to play and he shared the quarterback duties with Azevedo against Livingston and Central Catholic.
The Sunday following the loss to Central Catholic, the Hilmar coaching staff got together and decided to make the change back to McCown.
Some fans were irate.
According to them, Marques made the change because McCown is his godson.
That it was done as a favor to one of Marques' best friends, who happens to be McCown's father.
Of course, the move had nothing to do with the fact that McCown has a stronger arm and brings an added dimension to the Hilmar offense.
It had nothing to do with the fact that the move added another weapon at receiver in Azevedo.
"It got pretty nasty," Marques said. "People were questioning my integrity.
"I don't have a problem if people want to question the logistics of the move. If they want to argue that one player is better than the other, that's fine.
"I think that's going to happen in a small town. My only gripe was they were questioning my motive for making the change."
Marques' motive was simple.
The move made Hilmar a better team.
The offense was limited with Azevedo at quarterback.
At 5 foot 8, he was good with the quick passing game. However, he struggled if he was asked to drop back and survey a defense.
"In the long run, we felt this move was better for our team," Marques said.
"I've never known a coach that would play a kid over another kid if he thought it would jeopardize a win.
"Our goal is to win a section championship and we're going to do everything we can to win one."
Let's not forget Marques led Hilmar to the section title game in 2003 and 2005.
I think he knows what he's doing.
The funny thing is the kids handled the change great.
Marques met with Azevedo after the Central Catholic game and told him about the move.
The coaching staff then met with the team to explain why the move was made.
The kids went about their business.
It was the adults that made fools of themselves, and sadly, put a lot more pressure on McCown to perform.
"I knew there was a lot of controversy," McCown said. "Christian did a great job while I was out.
"I just had to do what I do."
McCown has done just that.
He led Hilmar to its two biggest wins of the year with a victory over Patterson in the regular-season finale and a thumping of Modesto Christian in the first round of the playoffs last week.
All McCown did was throw for 271 yards and two touchdowns against MC.
It's been a lot quieter in Hilmar this week.
It's tough to talk with a mouth full of crow.