Springbrook High School football coach Adam Bahr left his team’s 7-on-7 tournament at Towson in July certain that sophomore quarterback Neiman Blain would begin fall camp atop the depth chart.
Was Bahr worried that such a young player was in line to start at such an important position?
“I don’t think so,” Bahr said. “Maybe I should have been.”
Blain is one of Montgomery County’s four starting quarterbacks who are underclassmen — along with Clarksburg sophomore Joe Nacci, Rockville sophomore Spencer Brigman and Thomas S. Wootton sophomore Sam Ellis.
Throughout the greater area, coaches with young quarterbacks are standing by them.
“It’d be a great to have a kid who’s got experience in his back pocket,” Bahr said. “But we like Neiman. He’s our guy.”
Of course, playing a young quarterback comes with growing pains. None of the Montgomery County teams that have sophomores starting at the position have winning records. Wootton and Springbrook are 2-2, Rockville is 1-3, and Clarksburg is 0-4.
And there isn’t necessarily a quick fix when a quarterback lacks experience at the high school level.
“It’s just a fact: They’ve got to see things,” Clarksburg coach Larry Hurd said. “The more and more they see things, the better and better they get.”
Knowing that doesn’t make the situation much easier, though.
“Patience is not something I do well,” Bahr said. “But it’s a growing process. Yeah, I have to remind myself to be patient. And I think patience isn’t something Neiman does well, either. He wants a challenge.”
Bahr and Hurd agree that although they might be a little more gentle, a little more patient with their sophomore quarterbacks, they don’t coach them differently than they would an upperclassmen. At a certain point, they just forget about the player’s grade level.
“I don’t really look at him as a sophomore,” Bahr said. “He’s our quarterback.”