BLHS’s Chumley mistake-free in varsity debut
Senior Garrett Chumley's first night as varsity quarterback did not quite get started as he envisioned. In the first play that the offense ran through during pre-game, Chumley ran the opposite way he was supposed to go.
"I was like, oh great, this is going to be interesting," Chumley said.
Chumley's mishap in pre-game did not foreshadow his performance in last Friday's opener against rival Bonner Springs. Chumley was not spectacular in his debut with only nine yards rushing and 0-4 passing, but his performance was virtually mistake free.
"Garrett did almost everything we wanted him to do," coach Steve Hopkins said. "The biggest thing he did extremely well is we did not fumble a snap. We did not fumble a handoff and we held onto the ball and made the right plays. That's what we really have to rely on and trust him to do."
The Bobcats ability to hold onto the ball was a key to their 17-14 victory. Chumley felt comfortable running the offense and was able to overcome early game jitters.
"I came off the field after we scored the first touchdown and I was about ready to throw up," Chumley said. "I was dry heaving. But coach came over to me and said, 'you're a senior, you've got to step it up' and after that you just have to keep going."
Chumley had plenty of reason to feel exhausted. Hopkins depends on Chumley to play on both sides of the ball and Chumley rarely leaves the field.
Against Bonner Springs, Chumley, a cornerback on defense, had the responsibility of covering the Brave's best receiver, senior Blake Kasselman.
"I thought Garrett Chumley did a tremendous job at defensive back," Hopkins said. "Blake made one catch. I think that's all and he had opportunities to make three or four others and that's a very talented, tall wide receiver and we're asking our quarterback to play both ways and cover their best receiver."
On offense, Chumley was not able to find much room to run until late in the fourth quarter. On a critical third down play, Chumley was able to get around the corner and then outrun the Brave's defense down the sideline for a 42-yard touchdown. When Chumley looked back, he saw a flag on the field and realized his run was going to be negated. Hopkins was disappointed to see Chumley's impressive run called back.
"On that long run, I felt so bad that it got called back, although I thought it was a very good call," Hopkins said. "I thought our young man was close to making a great block but he did get him in the back."
Although Hopkins mostly depended on senior running back Will Peterson on offense, he gave Chumley several opportunities to attack through the air. Chumley sees room for improvement in his passing game.
"I think I did alright. There was a couple a balls I didn't throw too well," Chumley said. "But overall, I did okay. I'd like to see myself throw a lot better."
Chumley said the biggest adjustment to playing quarterback on the varsity level is the defensive players are a lot bigger and faster. But overall, Chumley felt at ease as the Bobcat's signal caller.
"It wasn't that hard to tell you the truth," Chumley said. "Everybody was really focused.
"In the offensive huddle, everybody can start yelling and screaming when things aren't going right but we didn't have any of that. There wasn't anytime where I had to get in there and tell people to shut up and just play ball. It was really easy to lead the team tonight. I was really surprised."