SCHENECTADY — Dan Quinn was expecting to be catching passes from Niskayuna quarterback Brock Behrman during the “Fall II” season. Instead, he’ll be the one throwing them.
“Next guy up,” Quinn said after Niskayuna completed Wednesday’s football practice on the Schenectady High School field. “That’s the mentality we have here.”
Quinn will be that next guy, shifting from his wide receiver spot to behind center in the absence of Behrman, a three-sport participant and superstar lacrosse player who sustained a shoulder injury while playing in Niskayuna’s final basketball game last Thursday.
“I was devastated,” Quinn, a junior, said of his classmate’s injury. “I was thinking we’ve got a lot of guys who can step up. That’s what we have to do.”
Quinn found out he’d be the one orchestrating Niskayuna’s spread offense after his team held a practice with Shaker on Saturday. Quinn last played quarterback as a seventh-grader at the modified level.
“We worked out a few different guys,” Niskayuna coach Brian Grastorf said, before adding “He’s doing a good job. He’s a good athlete and a good competitor. He’s eager to play and eager to learn.”
“It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s higher paced,” said Quinn, who caught 43 passes during the 2019 season, said of his position move. “You’ve got to have your assignments down. That’s the key thing.”
Niskayuna opens its seven-week Class A season Saturday at Mohonasen, which will also have a new quarterback behind center in senior Tyler Reinke.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’ve got a lot of good guys behind me,” Quinn said.
Moreover, Niskayuna’s new signal caller, who also played baseball, has a former quarterback guiding him in Grastorf, who competed for the Silver Warriors and later for Ithaca College.
“He’s been really welcoming,” the 16-year-old Quinn said of Grastorf. “He’s been a great help with my footwork and with my transition throwing the ball.”
“I think he’ll adjust to it quick and produce,” Behrman said. “He’ll definitely have help getting the feel and getting comfortable there.”
Quinn, who plays cornerback on defense, is among many multi-sport athletes on the Niskayuna team that has a roster of over 40 players and lost only six seniors from the 2019 edition. Niskayuna’s cast is anxious to improve on a one-win 2019 season.
“We’ve got playmakers in the right places. Athletes where we need them,” Quinn said. “We’ve got a lot going for us. The first priority is to have fun, but we want to win, too. We’re hoping for a successful season.”
Behrman, who last September gave Notre Dame a verbal commitment to play lacrosse there, injured his left shoulder while diving for a loose ball in Niskayuna’s last basketball game against Shaker. He said he is doing physical therapy and is “hoping to be ready for lacrosse.”
Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse has Behrman ranked as the No. 9 player in the national Class of 2022.
“Perhaps the biggest riser in the Class of 2022, putting on a show time after time on the recruiting circuit. He’s a slasher who can break ankles and rack up points in a variety of ways,” Xanders wrote just days before Behrman gave his verbal commitment to Notre Dame.