SYCAMORE – One second, Sycamore senior Nick Feuerbach was sprinting down the sideline late in the second quarter of last week’s football game against Kaneland, stretching his arms out to make a 30-yard catch. The next, he was ripping off his gloves and entering the game at quarterback for Devin Mottet, who had been injured on a run a few plays earlier.
This had been the moment Feuerbach had been preparing for during the past few years, ever since he was quarterback for the sophomore team, when Mottet was the varsity backup and also playing some receiver.
This was the moment backup quarterbacks dream about – coming into a tight game against an undefeated opponent with the conference championship on the line. And Feuerbach took full advantage.
“It really was nerve-wracking,” Feuerbach said after the game. “But that’s something you want to be. You want to be in the game.”
Coach Joe Ryan admits he hasn’t put Feuerbach into games as much as he would like since he converted to receiver last year. His one catch last Friday was his first of the year.
The timing of that grab was a lucky twist of fate, and Ryan thinks it might have had something to do with what was to come.
Two plays after entering, Feuerbach took the snap from the 30-yard line, dropped back, then took off, weaving around defenders, showing the athleticism that helped him push Mottet for the starting job during the summer of 2012, and he didn’t stop until he reached the end zone, making the score 14-10.
“I think that catch might have [helped his confidence]. That was as good of a catch as we’ve had all year, or in a long time,” Ryan said. “I have dropped the ball as a coach for playing time for him. He’s a playmaker, and I haven’t done a very good job of getting him on the field. He came in and caught the ball and ran. So shame on me.”
But the Spartans didn’t turn into a running team with their backup in the game – Feuerbach threw two passes on his first drive, and completed two more the next.
By the end of the game, he had completed 10 of 13 passes for 123 yards. In a game that backups dream about, Feuerbach led the Spartans to a 31-21 victory, ending the Knights’ 35-game winning streak and keeping his team’s undefeated season alive.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Feuerbach said before practice Wednesday. “Just the whole experience, beating Kaneland, it was awesome. … I could never have pictured what happened Friday night happening. But it was great.”
After praising Feuerbach, Ryan is quick to point out that Mottet has had a successful season under center. The senior has completed 61 percent of his passes and has thrown for 10 touchdowns to only one interception.
Ryan isn’t sure if Mottet will be ready to return from injury this week, but he’s confident either way. He said he was always sure Feuerbach could fill in nicely when called upon.
Now, it’s no secret – Sycamore has two quarterbacks who can lead them to victory over almost any opponent.
“I didn’t even bat an eye. I knew he would go in there and make something happen, and he did,” Ryan said. “The whole playbook is in. It’s not like, ‘Oh, we can’t do this because Nick is in.’ It’s in for both of them. They both can do it all, and do it all well.”