Anderson leads Galena football
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – When Galena High quarterback Jacob Anderson was asked how he would grade his performance this season, it didn’t take long for him to respond.
“It would probably be around an A-minus,” Anderson said. “I think I’ve done a good job; done what’s expected of me.
“I’ve gotten a lot of help this year from the offensive line which has done a great job of blocking and my wide receivers. They have caught the ball very well all season and have made it look kind of easy.”
It might sound to some like Anderson is conceited. Far from it. And, you know what they say, it’s not bragging if you can back it up, and a 24-8 record as a starter is pretty darn impressive.
Make no mistake, Anderson has gotten the job done for the Grizzlies, who visit McQueen Thursday night at 7:30 to decide the High Desert League championship, and the league’s top seed in the 4A zone playoffs.
The left-handed senior has unofficially completed 118 of 223 passes for 2,088 yards and 17 touchdowns, which leads all quarterbacks in Northern Nevada, and is a big reason why the Grizzlies are 7-1.
Anderson’s development has been a gradual process.
“He has taken on more each year,” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “He really came on at the end of last year and in the playoffs. He played some outstanding football. Things are on his shoulders a little more this year. I’ve given him more responsibility. We’re relying more on him to make plays.
“His aptitude for the game has gotten better each year. At Fallon, he got a chance to call a lot of his own plays for the first time. His play has gotten better each season.”
Indeed. As a sophomore, Anderson passed for 843 yards and 11 scores. He went over 1,500 last season with 20 touchdowns. So, you can see the yearly surge in his numbers.
“We’re more of a passing team this year,” said wide receiver Jason Parkinson. “We had a great running game last year with Jimmy Sargent, and there wasn’t as much pressure on Jacob. We’re more balanced this year. He’s gotten a lot more opportunities to throw the ball, and he’s done a really good job.”
Fellow wide receiver Steve Blackhart agreed.
“Jacob has gotten a lot stronger (since his sophomore year),” Blackhart said. “He’s very mature as a quarterback. We threw the ball more last year just to keep defenses honest when they tried to stop Jimmy. We sure didn’t pass the ball 30 times a game like we have this year.”
Anderson has had some huge games this season, and perhaps the biggest was against Reed in a 34-21 win. He completed 21 of 35 for 346 yards, most of that coming in the first half. Eight of those completions went to Blackhart, who finished with a season-best 151 yards. That was a critical early season win and allowed the Grizzlies to take control of the High Desert race.
Blackhart has been Anderson’s go-to guy on vertical routes while Parkinson has been the underneath guy. It’s been virtually impossible to take both receivers away at the same time, and if one is having an off night, the other steps up.
“Both started last year, and that really helps a lot,” Anderson said. “Both have come up big when we’ve needed it. They have both done a good job getting yards after the catch, which helps me.”
Another reason for Anderson’s improvement is arm strength. As he’s matured, his arm has gotten progressively stronger. He’s also become a more accurate passer.
His football career is winding down. Despite his success, especially this year, he has no regrets.
“I talked to a few schools about football,” Anderson said. “I never really thought about playing college football. Baseball has always been my first love. I’ll miss football, though. I’ve had a great time.”
Anderson recently made a verbal commitment to attend Nevada on a baseball scholarship, turning down offers from Washington State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Long Beach State, Pepperdine and Santa Clara. He announced his decision several weeks ago, and he said that has helped him relax and be able to concentrate on football.
And, there is nothing he’d like better than to finish what has been a stellar senior season to date with a state championship and finish what he started last season.
•Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org 881-1281