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
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.