Quarterback Matt Phelan.
It’s the key position on the offensive side of the football no matter if your style is ground-and-pound or run-and-gun.
For a quarterback, there is no better teacher than the experience of a real game, with real defense and real pass rushers looking to throw them to the ground.
In the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference, only the Saranac Lake Red Storm will be returning a quarterback with a full season under center in senior signal-caller Matt Phelan.
“Matt’s experience and ability to control the team are going to be a big advantage for us,” Red Storm head coach Eric Bennett said. “He has a coolness of character on the field and he has worked hard over the summer. He is prepared for the season and excited to compete.”
Phelan was a dual threat in the Red Storm’s no-huddle, fast-breaking offensive attack last season, leading the team to the then combined Section VII/X Class C title. Phelan threw for 1,441 yards and 20 touchdowns in his junior season, the first as starter for the Red Storm, while rushing for 834 yards and 12 more touchdowns.
“Having started 10 games for us, he knows what to look for and how to get guys to where they need to be,” Bennett said. “He knows the offense, and it is like having a coach on the field.”
For all that he did learn as the starter in 2011, Phelan said that there are still things he is working on.
“I still have a lot to learn, but I know what to expect from the coaches and what they expect from me,” Phelan said. “I am used to a lot of thins now that are going to happen during the games, and I hope that I can learn from them.”
While Phelan will be looking at a majority of new weapons at the skill positions (Mike Burpoe and Seth Pickeriegn are the sole backfield returning players), there is a wealth of experience in the front seven.
“It helps me out more with the line all having experience because I know what they are going to do and they know my style,” Phelan said. “I will have a little more time to throw and they can create some big holes when we run it.”
“We have three starters that are returning to the offensive line and two players that had significant playing time last year, so we have an experience group,” Bennett said. “That is always a key to have that experience back.”
Bennett said that he knows that there are still holes to fill, and the team will look to do so early in the season.
“We are going to struggle early with inexperience,” he said. “We have had a tremendous preseason so far and we are committed to having a great year.”