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At a recent South Western football practice, head coach Damian Poalucci looked over at his standout quarterback-wide receiver duo — Brock Geiman and Noah Staub — making adjustments on the timing of a route. After the next play, they made another adjustment, then tweaked it again after another run-through. They didn't need any coaches to step in, Poalucci said, and they barely had to say a word for the other to know what change to make.

"With a good quarterback-wide receiver pair, sometimes it's just a look and the other person just knows what you're thinking," Poalucci said. "Once you get to that level, you're good."

Staub and Geiman are at that level. Their chemistry, Poalucci adds, is something that can't be taught.

"The big thing is time spent together," Poalucci said. "You have to be around each other to think the same way, and they've grown up together so that formed at a young age."

The two seniors have known each other since they were 5 years old playing on the same soccer team. They're both happy they made the switch to football, Staub joked, and were on opposite sides of an apparently ultra-competitive Baresville Elementary-Manheim Elementary football rivalry in the sixth grade. Geiman's undefeated Manheim team nearly defeated Staub's undefeated Baresville team in a matchup that involved many current Mustang players.

They were finally able to team up in the seventh grade, making this the sixth consecutive season that Staub has turned out of his routes to find a Geiman spiral waiting for him.

"We're more comfortable together because I've been throwing to him since we were in middle school," said Geiman, who racked up 1,489 passing yards in 2014. "I never have to guess where he's going to be. Sometimes he'll run a route differently or I'll throw the ball differently, but it works out, because we just know what each other is going to do."

Staub agreed, adding: "We know what each other is thinking on pass plays. I run a route, I turn, and the ball is right there. I never have to wait for it. I always know where it's going to be."

When looking for the best quarterback-receiver combination in the division, and arguably the YAIAA, look no further than The Corral. Staub and Geiman lead all returning Division I players in receiving yards and passing yards, respectively, and here they were on a humid August afternoon working on their timing.

"We just try to make everything perfect with routes and jump balls," Geiman said. "A fraction of a second can change a touchdown to an incompletion, so we try to make it perfect."

Perfect is what the Mustangs are going for as a team. They feel like they let a few games slip away in 2014 and could've gone 7-3 or 8-2 rather than 5-5. And while seven or eight wins would be nice, the Mustangs want 10, Geiman said.

"I like being on top, especially since it's our senior year," Staub added. "I like knowing everyone is gunning for us this time and that we have to prove we're the best week in and week out."

Aspirations of a perfect season might seem outlandish for a team that has just one playoff victory in the last five seasons, but it's not empty bravado.

The Mustangs return 10 starters on offense, and get Skylar Bowman and Nate VanCampen back from injury on the defensive side. They get their top four rushers back behind a stout offensive line, giving Geiman more than enough weapons to work with.

It's a hungry team.

"The nice part is our guys still think of themselves as the underdogs," Poalucci said. "We haven't won a championship, and no one is going to just give it to us. We have to earn everything."

Reach Brandon Stoneburg at 637-3736, ext. 163 or on Twitter @B_Stoneburg.

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