Football camp notebook: Entsminger settled in at QB for Warriors

Sherando linemen drill during a recent practice. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – Sherando High School will have a new face but a familiar name at quarterback when the Warriors take the field for the 2016 season.

Sophomore Hunter Entsminger and senior Lucas Barbe competed in the offseason for the spot left vacant by the graduation of two-year starter Pat Minteer, and it was Entsminger who emerged in camp as the Warriors’ starting QB. Entsminger will take the reins of Sherando’s offense three years after his older brother Reid held that same position and led the Warriors to an appearance in the Group 4A state championship game.

“He set a great expectation for me to live up to,” the younger Entsminger said of Reid Entsminger, now a sophomore linebacker at Shepherd University, “and now it’s just time to prove what I can do.”

Like his older brother, Hunter Entsminger brings mobility back to the quarterback position after the more traditional pocket-passing style of Minteer (3,173 yards, 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions in two seasons as a starter). He likes to run, he said, and the Warriors have re-introduced quarterback-centric rushing plays to the playbook to take advantage of the 6-foot-1, 180-pound sophomore’s athleticism.

Sherando head coach Bill Hall, who also coaches the team’s quarterbacks, said Hunter Entsminger has shown strength in “all phases of the game.”

“He understands the offense well. He’s mobile, does a good job going through progressions. He’s athletic,” Hall said. “… He has good leadership. And it’s not that Lucas doesn’t have that – those are never easy decisions or anything like that. It was an accumulation of a lot of time. And it wasn’t that one did something to lose it. They both were competing and did a really good job.”

Hunter Entsminger said that competition with Barbe, the son of Sherando director of student activities Jason Barbe, made both a better football player, and Hall said the duo’s friendship throughout the process was a bright spot for him and the team as a whole.

“They do it in the right way, that they support each other,” Hall said of the quarterback competition earlier this month. “… They have the right perspective and we talk daily about the psychology of it and the importance of them being together for our team and for their success to keep going on.”

Hunter Entsminger said he feels well prepared for his new role after working all offseason with Hall, although he said the biggest challenge has been the responsibility that comes with making sure everyone on offense is where they need to be and doing what they need to do.

His transition has been eased by the addition of Minteer to the Warriors’ coaching staff this fall.

“It’s definitely great because he’s always there,” Hunter Entsminger said of his predecessor. “If I have a question he’s there to help me. … He might even be there when we’re at lunch during school, I don’t know. He’s always just helping me, motivating me to be the best that I can be and helping me out when I have questions.”

He said he was encouraged by his performance in Sherando’s scrimmage against Musselman (West Virginia) last Saturday, his first taste of significant varsity playing time.

“It felt good because I knew what was going on, knew everything. Then sometimes I’d get off my fundamentals of like throwing or where my read was supposed to be,” he said. “But it was still a good experience knowing that I can do it and that I showed that I could.”

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Senior Dylan Rivers has undergone a bit of a position switch this fall, as he moves from outside linebacker to inside linebacker in Sherando’s 3-4 defense.

The move should make it more difficult for opposing offenses to avoid the 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior who has verbally committed to play for Penn State in 2017.

“It’ll be nice because I can switch up my position a lot, they won’t know where I’ll be,” said Rivers. “And I’ll be playing that in college, so it’ll be nice.”

This season marks Rivers’ first time working at inside linebacker, and he said his new position requires him to process and play a lot faster.

Last year Rivers – also a reliable target at tight end (26 catches, 614 yards, six touchdowns in 2015) and an occasional wildcat quarterback (nine rushing touchdowns) – finished with 43 tackles and three interceptions while serving primarily to cut off half of the field to opposing offenses. Hall said 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore Joseph “JoJo” Doleman (31 tackles in 2015) will be Sherando’s new field-side outside linebacker.

“We’re gonna put JoJo there and that’s a scholarship athlete sitting right there, a (2019) kid that’s gonna be the next Dylan Rivers,” Hall said. “… And so now again you still have a guy that can cut your field off, you have a condensed field and you have Dylan in the middle of it.”

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Hall said the Warriors are looking to get better between their first scrimmage last Saturday and their road exhibition game against Loudoun Valley at 6 p.m. Thursday.

He said the Musselman scrimmage provided Sherando with a good baseline of what the team needs to work on and hopes to see improvement against Loudoun Valley despite the quick turnaround and fluctuating practice times this week due to heat and poor weather.

“We need to make a big step forward. If they execute perfectly they still need to take a big step forward,” Hall said. “I think it’s just about making sure they take ownership of what they’re doing and how it fits within our framework of our team and have it all progress together.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com