by John Ring

Three months ago, Jonathan Duffy was in limbo, like a lot of his Silver Streak football teammates.

He didn't have a coach. He was unsure of his future. He didn't know what to expect.

For 15 games that spanned over two seasons, Jonathan Duffy had been the quarterback for the Streaks and he was familiar with two things-- losing and taking a physical pounding in the backfield.

Duffy was on the path taken by other talented Galesburg quarterbacks such as Patrick Hanlon and Beau Shay. And that road led to defeat, no recognition, no reward, no vindication.

Jonathan Duffy was different than Hanlon and Shay. He was shorter than the 6'3'', classic drop back style of Hanlon but a better athlete. He wasn't the fiery leader that Shay was but had a better arm and quicker feet.

''I'm proud to carry on the tradition of good quarterbacks on this team,''' said Duffy. ''I just hope that I've left my mark.''

He's done that and more. Only the second lefthanded quarterback in Silver Streak history, Jonathan Duffy has helped lead this 2002 Galesburg team to the pinnacle of reaching the playoffs. A new coaching staff, improved pass blocking and experience has made Duffy a probable All-Conference selection along with one other key item. ''I've got some of the best skill position players in the Western Big 6,'' said the Streaks quarterback.

After new Coach Zach Shay was selected, Duffy met offensive coordinator Scott Gasper, a former quarterback himself. That relationship has flourished and helped make Duffy the quarterback he is.

''Coach Gasper has done a great job with Duffy and his mechanics of throwing the football,'' said Shay. ''He has also helped him with his mental approach to the game and it shows.''

''He helped me with the three-step drop,'' said Duffy of Gasper. ''I used to hitch after the third step but now I don't. The other thing is I throw the ball away. Before, I used to tuck it and try and run and make a play. Now after a game, I don't have the bumps and bruises that I used to have.''

''He's also helped me with reading defenses. I know where the cornerbacks are at now and what to expect.''

''The big thing is this. I wasn't unhappy to see Coach [Brian] Dennison leave. But this coaching staff will rely on my arm. If the running game is stopped, they count on me to throw the ball. It's helped my confidence. That means a lot.''

''Jonathan has done an excellent job,'' said Shay. ''He's doing a great job of leading this team. He's throwing the ball well and making big-time plays for us. In our offense, we need a quarterback that's versatile and Jonathan is just that.

Over his three seasons Duffy has developed into a vocal leader on the field, something he wasn't used to at all. ''I change when I go on the field. I'm a lot more intense. Yelling, and stuff like that, I just don't do it off the field. I look back at the Richwoods game as the turning point for me. That was when I was pumped up and started to lead.''

Despite his tough early years, Duffy refused to believe that the Streaks would never have a winning team or that it would make a run for the playoffs.

''I thought it was possible, I really did, but I just didn't know if it would happen. But now we've got control over our destiny. This is what we've wanted.''

That and a chance for the Streaks to rely on his arm.

Uploaded to The Zephyr website October 23, 2002

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