Entering his seventh season as St. Bede football coach, Jim Eustice must replace a two-year starting quarterback for the third time.
This season, the Bruins are looking to find the heir to Braden Damerell, who was team MVP and second team All-Three Rivers Conference Mississippi Division in the spring after helping St. Bede to a 5-1 record.
Damerell passed for 716 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 323 yards and three scores as a senior.
The candidates are juniors John Brady – cousin of former standout Bruin QB and current assistant Jack Brady – Calym Setser and Callan Huneburg.
“It’s a competition right now,” Eustice said after Saturday’s 7-on-7 tournament at Princeton. “They’re splitting reps. At some point we’re going to have to make a decision and have one be the guy, but we’re just not there yet. Hopefully, by the end of summer [we can decide], so going into the season whoever it is can get the majority of the reps to get ready for Sherrard on Aug. 27.”
All three got snaps at quarterback Saturday at Princeton. The Bruins also competed in a 7 on 7 Tuesday at Ottawa.
“They’re all very young and raw,” Eustice said. “They all had some snaps in the couple JV games we did play in the spring.
“There’s been some good and some bad. They’ve been inconsistent on simple mechanics things. We’re going to do a lot of individual work the next two weeks with these guys. We’ll get back to bare bones of breaking things down – hips, feet, shoulders – to the point where we’re throwing, getting downhill when we throw, those type of things. It’ll come.”
Whoever wins the Bruin quarterback position will have a solid nucleus around him, including a dangerous receiver to throw to in senior Tyreke Fortney, a Friday Night Drive Team of the Year second-team selection in the spring after catching 20 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns and running for 202 yards and five TDs.
Also back are all-conference linebacker/offensive lineman Jayce Ladzinski, running back/linebacker Ethan Sramek and three-year offensive line starter Rylan Heersink.
“We have some pieces, but we’re going to have to have some young guys step up,” Eustice said. “We had a good sophomore group in the spring who are juniors now. A lot of them got reps as the season went on with the injuries that happened.
“The kids are excited. They’re doing what we ask. It’s just a matter of continuing to work hard and get better every day.”