Features | Friday Night Drive

Sycamore quarterback Eli Meier prepping for his third year as starter

Sycamore's Eli Meier throws a pass Monday, June 27, 2022, during football practice at the school.

SYCAMORE — Entering his third season as the starting quarterback for Sycamore, Eli Meier has developed a good relationship with his receiving corp.

The senior quarterback said he hopes that means more chances to air things out.

“Last year a big part of our game was our running game, but we’re going to expand that a lot more into our pass game,” Meier said. “We’ve got some dudes this year that can run and catch.”

Kayden Galto was one of Meier’s favorite targets last year, and seniors such as Conner Williar and Addison Peck will have expanded roles. The team also has explosive sophomores at receivers such as Thatcher Friedrichs and Carter York.

Coach Joe Ryan said Meier is working on his rapport with the receivers in practices and passing league games

“Right now he has the best chemistry with Kayden Galto because that’s who he threw a lot to last year,” Ryan said. “Which is fine, but that’s what the summers are for with 7-on-7 and your own workouts so they get used to working with each other.”

Meier took over as starter during his sophomore season in the spring of 2021 in a season that was already shortened due to COVID-19 mitigations. In his first full season last year he was a unanimous selection to the Interstate 8 All-Conference team for the second season in a row.

He threw for 1,679 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions while running for 594 yards and eight scores.

Sycamore went 9-4 last year, reaching the Class 5A state semifinals and losing to eventual state champ Fenwick, 17-6. It was the fewest points Fenwick scored all year.

“Last year I had so much more confidence than my sophomore year,” Meier said. “This year I feel like I’m seeing everything a lot better, being a better leader. It’s just a huge confidence boost being a three-year starter.”

Ryan said Meier studies film very well and that leads to him knowing what defenses are going to throw at him.

“I don’t think there’s anything in our offense he doesn’t have a handle on,” Ryan said. “I don’t think I would do this because I enjoy calling plays and I don’t want to put my feet up during a game, but he’s so good at our offense and understands what we do so much, he could call them. And there will be times when he will call it.”

The Spartans already vary their offensive sets more than the average team – running everything from a five wide-receiver set to the wing-T. Meier’s decision-making and ability to make calls also means that they can vary their tempo as well.

“We just have a lot more options,” Ryan said. “We’re anywhere from wing-T to empty, and most teams don’t do that. Now you throw in some of that hurry-up component.”

Meier said he’s liked how the team is progressing through the offseason and feels like his players are getting stronger and faster while cleaning up stuff on the field, too.

In the end, he said he hopes it ends with one more game than last year.

“Same goal. Hopefully it’s a different outcome,” Meier said. “We’re not satisfied with that last year.”