By John Ring
Andrew Steck’s debut at quarterback will go down as one of those special moments at Van Dyke Field.
How special was it?
It’s probably the best first start by a Galesburg quarterback since Mark Reed made his debut twenty five years ago. It was better than Beau Shay’s. Much better than Jonathan Duffy’s.
And at long last, the Silver Streaks football program appears to have the makings of a three-year quarterback that can built around since Steck is just a sophomore.
“He’s a pretty special kid,” said Streaks Coach Wes Olson. “He’s a bright kid and he’s just 15 years old.”
“I’m so proud of that kid,” said senior wide receiver Tanner Libby. “He was the youngest guy out there on the football field and he ran for what, two hundred yards? If he keeps it up and works hard, he can break every record in the book.”
For the record, Andrew Steck rushed for 208 yards and passed for 45 more. He converted third downs by both rushing and passing. His strengths are great elusiveness, good decision-making and he hides the ball as good as Boomer Esiason used to.
Steck has good speed, not sprinter’s speed, but sheds tacklers and appears to read his blocks very well. A fan of the Manning quarterback brothers in the NFL, he had been waiting for this moment for quite a while.
“This is what I’ve been dreaming about,” said the 5’11” sophomore after the game. “I didn’t have any jitters tonight. If I would have had the jitters, I wouldn’t have been any good for the team. Our problem tonight was in the red zone, we just couldn’t punch it in.”
Steck attributes his very early success to two things. He quarterbacked the sophomore team last season as a freshman and there was genuine competition at the quarterback position between himself, Jake Taylor and Austin Shearer this summer. “Day in and day out, we had good competition. The other two guys are real good quarterbacks too. That kept me going and made me work that much harder. Playing at the sophomore level helped because it’s at a faster pace than the freshman and at the varsity level, it’s magnificently faster.”
The big concern about Andrew is if he can take the constant pounding for a three-year period. At 180 pounds, he isn’t your prototype 6-foot-3, 210 pound blonde hair, blue-eyed quarterback. He took a lot of hits Friday night (including a really cheap one by the Streaks bench in the fourth quarter) and the triple option offense Galesburg employs means your quarterback is going to take his share of hits.
“If Andrew works hard and gets into the weight room, he can have a great future,” said Olson. “Getting the football in his hands can lead to good things.”
“I had a cousin on the Streaks football team that Jonathan Duffy quarterbacked,” said Steck. “I’d always wanted to play quarterback and thought I may get a shot.”
It’s quite a shot in the arm for the Silver Streaks, who haven’t really had consistent quarterback play since Shay graduated in 2000. One-year starting senior quarterbacks are good if they are surrounded by quality players in the skill positions and have an established line but those are commodities that the Streaks rarely have.
But with Steck, the main building block is there— at least for the next three years.