The Polson High School coaching staff is already faced with a precarious situation pertaining to their quarterback situation before the opening snap of the 2018 season.
Polson, who will host its home season-opening game against Stevensville at 7 p.m. Friday at Polson High School, will enter the season without 2017 starter Bo Kelley, who is recovering from an ACL injury that occurred during the 2017-2018 basketball season. They will also now do without their backup QB Colby Soderquist, who unofficially sustained a season-ending leg injury during practice.
Pirates’ coach Pat Danley and his coaching staff wasted no time in committing to Polson’s third-string quarterback Boston Goode, who is starting headed into week one against the Yellowjackets.
“Our biggest issue (with getting Boston) ready will be getting the timing issues with the first team squared away,” Danley said. “The other issue will be talking about our backup quarterback in case something happens to Goode and we need to get Toth polished up in case of an emergency situation. Those are two things that we are going to have to deal with these guys.”
Danley did mention the summer quarterback competition between Soderquist and Goode was “close” and initially chose Soderquist over Goode because of Soderquist’s maturity.
“All spring Boston did some our throwing stuff in the gym and was always (in the mix) of the quarterback competition,” Danley said. “He is a really good athlete and has a really strong arm as a sophomore. It is up to our coaching staff to make sure that he is ready to play and can run the offense because Colby was just a little bit more mature at this point (of the season).”
When Soderquist initially got hurt, Danley admitted they thought it might be a sprain, but the unofficial leg injury ended up being more severe.
“When he got hurt in the scrimmage we were hoping that it would be just a sprain or something but when he went to the hospital, we found out it was worse than that,” Danley said. “I’ve spoken to Boston right before our first offensive session and he got a chance to take all of the first-team reps yesterday, which was very helpful.”
Soderquist’s injury won’t change drastically what the Pirates will do schematically on offense.
“I am not going to add anything (to our offense) and the biggest thing is there are a couple of plays that timing between Goode and the first team offense was an issue,” Danley said. “Our staff will make sure the timing (between the offense) will be good and we will go from there.”
The other player that is listed as “questionable” headed into the opening game against the Yellowjackets is offensive/defensive lineman Seth Lake. According to Danley, it is still to be determined if Lake will play in the home opener.
One player that could play a critical role in taking the pressure off of Goode is newly converted RB Hunter Fritsch. Fritsch, who has received all-state wrestling accolades the last couple of seasons, hopes to bring the pure power that has made him a state championship wrestling contender to Polson’ backfield.
“Fritsch is having a really good camp in terms of running football,” Danley said. “He has run the ball really well (in camp) for us and has had a good season. There are a couple of options that we have. I hope his success he had on the defensive side of the ball carries over. He is playing a really demanding couple of positions and I think he can handle it.”
Polson finds themselves in a situation where it is crucial for their players to stay healthy since they are operating with only 37 players. The majority of their players will partake in a high percentage of snaps playing on both sides of the ball and in some cases, even on special teams.
“I think our kids are in pretty good shape and our coaching staff is really happy with that,” Danley said. “Our kids work hard and there will be a lot of kids willing to contribute and polish up their special teams this week. Other than that, our kids are ready to go. We got after it really good Saturday morning and I guess you call it more of a scrimmage. We are emphasizing getting our kids in shape because we have a lot of potential two-way starters. We have to make sure that we are in really good shape because depth could be an issue for us.”
The Pirates, who finished the 2017 season with a 2-7 record, will have to face Stevi, a team that also finished 2-7, but Danley said he won’t put much stock into last year’s finish for either team.
“They will have two really good defensive linemen and a linebacker in the middle of their defense that are their strength,” Danley said. “Their quarterback is pretty mobile and likes to run around a lot. We haven’t played Stevi for a long time and traditionally we have fared well against them.”
With a lack of depth, Danley is aware there must be an emphasis on taking it game by game.
“I know this is classic coaches’ speak, but we really have to take it one game at a time and hopefully build some momentum to go from there,” Danley said. “Right now, we are excited to hit someone else besides our own guys in purple. Generally, we are coming along and are pretty optimistic about the season. Hopefully we start (the season) with a good showing.”