A Closer Look: Local Quarterbacks Shining

Highlights from this weekend included our great matchup with Canton South and Fairless, McKinley continuing to find themselves on the field (they also find themselves in 1 st place in the Federal) and a couple big upsets (Louisville and Northwest).

Our broadcast game, South at Fairless, featured two prolific offenses powered by some really good skill kids including two of the best quarterbacks in our area. Colton Colucci from Fairless and Jack “Poochie” Snyder from South can both flat play the game. Throw in receivers that can catch, young running backs from both teams that will be stars and offensive lines that can run and pass block – the result was a great offensive game.

This coming Friday is the game I have been looking forward to since it was scheduled last summer – West Branch vs. Alliance at Mount Union’s Larry Kehres Stadium. It features many good players and two really good teams but what I am most excited about is again the QB’s. Drew DeShields has stats that appear impossible to attain until you see him play. I helped coach Drew’s 8 th grade team and nothing this kid does surprises me. He is, simply put, a playmaker and a winner! On the other side will be Brendan
Zurbrugg, son of Chris that had a fine college career at QB for the Michigan Wolverines. He has a great running back to share the ball with but his numbers are exceptional as well. Both these guys can run and throw and could play about any skill position on the field, they have great size and are such good athletes.

The QB’s I have mentioned will most likely finish great high school careers and go on to play college football if they choose. Being a former quarterback at the high school, college and pro levels, many people ask me if I believe these guys, and others in the area, can play D1 football. First of all, I HATE the term “D1” – like it is the only level of college football worth playing. While OSU obviously gets the most attention and support in the state, there are many other quality schools that play great football. And my
opinion – with the current state of the transfer portal and NIL potentially ruining the highest level of college football, I suggest the purest form of student-athlete exists at Division 3. There you will find young men that still love the game and play extremely hard on Saturdays. Yes, they may be an inch or two shorter and 10-20 pounds lighter than the Buckeye players but the quality of play and competition is every bit as good. And from what I see, the desire to win, love of the game and loyalty to their university and teammates is much greater than at Division 1 schools today. I admit it is a unique experience to sit in the Horseshoe with 100,000 people and hear them cheer O-H, I-O. But consider avoiding hours of traffic, tickets that cost hundreds of dollars (if you can get them) and having to watch the game on the big screen because your seats are seemingly a mile from the field and attend a Division 3 game at Mount Union or Baldwin Wallace or even Division 2 like Ashland or Walsh. You will play $7-10 per ticket, park for free and be able to walk right behind the bench during the game. Oh yea, and you’ll be in your car headed home 15-20 minutes after the game. Now back to those great QB’s and whether they are good enough to play D1. Don’t worry about it! Go to a place you can play, enjoy college life and succeed academically. It is not all about going to the biggest school you can. For example, go watch Braxton Plunk play QB at Mount Union. Yes, he is attending a D3 school that offers no athletic scholarships, no NIL consideration and rides buses to away games but he is good enough to play at any level – yes any level! Having attended BGSU and still being close to the MAC, Plunk is as good or better than any MAC QB I have seen this year and last. I have also seen a few Big Ten teams that would have an upgrade at QB with Braxton in their huddle. But instead of sitting the bench behind a highly rated, highly recruited player at some big school, he is setting records and winning championships. And if the NFL thinks he is good enough, they will find him. There are scouts at Mount Union on a regular basis.

The bottom line, just play high school football guys. Concern yourselves with college football later. Be the best teammate, son and student you can be now. If you put in the work now, tomorrow will take care of itself.