By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
Glacier Peak senior quarterback Chris Becerra is being handed the keys to a high-octane offense. He played two games a year ago, but really the 6-foot-1, 215-pound gunslinger is unproven. Fortunately for him he’s got a number of weapons at his disposal, including three-year starter Sean Elledge and Quinton Dunbar.
Recently Herald prep editor Aaron Swaney sat down and chanted with Becerra and talked about what he learned from former GP quarterbacks Kevin Campbell and David Linney, what his first varsity start felt like and his goals for the season:
Glacier Peak has had a lot of success and now it’s kind of on your shoulders. How does that make you feel?
It feels great. I have something to prove. I have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve never been given anything and I’ve had to work for everything. I’ve been standing behind those guys (former GP quarterbacks Kevin Campbell and David Linney), learning from them and I’ve gotten better and better, learning from their mistakes, which has helped me. I feel a lot more confident because I feel what they’ve done has made me a better quarterback.
What did you learn from Kevin (Campbell) as a sophomore?
He helped me with my confidence. He was really calm and mellow. He made his reads and he didn’t have to do anything special. He just had to do his job and get rid of the ball. That really left an impression on me: Just do your job and get rid of the ball. You don’t have to do anything outstanding because we have great linemen and great receivers, so I just have to do my job.
What about David (Linney) last year?
It was his first year, so I helped David and he helped me as well. I learned a lot of reads and how to manuever my body well. He taught me more of the agile side because I don’t have much of that, so he taught how to read the defensive end, if he’s going to go, how to pull (the ball), how to I go, which side do I run.
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Having played last season how big is that for you?
It’s huge. I feel so much more comfortable this year. I feel like all of the other years I wasn’t ready and now with the experience of last year with the two games I got to start it made me more confident and more comfortable with my team and my surroundings. I know what it’s like. The new guys that haven’t really been out there I can coach up because I have been in the same situation before.
What did it feel like to go out there in your first varsity start last season (Week 3 vs. Shorecrest)?
I was really nervous, but I stayed calm because I didn’t want everyone to know I was scared. I wanted them to know I was in control and I was calm and I was ready to lead them and help them get to where they wanted to go. I didn’t want them to think ‘Oh no the quarterback is scared.’ If I’m scared, they’re going to be scared. So I just held it inside and said ‘I’m ready, we got this.’
Do you remember your first play?
I was more worreid about catching the snap. I was like ‘Just catch the snap, just catch the snap. That’s all I’ve got to do.’
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Talk about the high expectations surrounding your team this year.
I don’t think we’ve got unrealisitic goals. I feel like we’ve got measurable goals as long as we keep practicing hard. We know what we want to get to and we know what it takes to get there. All we have to do is do it. We can’t just have good practices, we have to have great practices.
How about your supporting cast? You’ve got guys like Sean Elledge and Quinton Dunbar and those guys. How big is that?
It’s such a big relief, knowing that I have all returning linemen except my center. But knowing I have those guys with experience like Sean and Quinton and the other receivers, it helps me feel more confident in them. It takes a lot of the pressure off of me.
How about Sean specifically? He’s been around the past three years and those other two quarterbacks. Has he given you any advice?
He’s helped me a lot. What he does is if he sees a weakness in a corner or safety he’ll say ‘I’m going to do this and then watch for this.’ So he’ll change up his routes a little bit and coach me up on it. We have a good connection.
How about Quinton? Someone who’s just a pure athlete, how fun is it to get him the ball and just watch?
Quinton’s fun because he’s just a smash-mouth football player. You get him the ball and he doesn’t like to juke very much. He just wants to get right up the seam and get that touchdown. He doesn’t care who hits him, he’s not going down and he’s just blowing everybody up.
What about Coach Rosenbach? Has he taken you aside and just talked to you about what to expect?
Since I came here as a freshman ever since then he’s been coaching me up, helping me get better, teaching me what I need to read, what I need to do to get better. It’s helped me a lot. This year I feel a lot more comfortable in the offensive scheme than I’ve ever felt before.
You played (eventual state champs) Bellevue in the playoffs last year. What did you learn from that team?
We learned that even though they were a state championship team we only lost by 10 points. So for us it showed us that it’s not unrealistic to get to that goal. We were within a fingertips length of getting to our goal, beating Bellevue and maybe winning a state title. It just taught us that we can do it if we practice our butts off every single day.
Have you always wanted to be a quarterback?
Having that time when you sat and you waited, what does it feel like to be out here and this is your team now?
It feels amazing. It’s what I waited for my whole life. I’ve always been second-string type guy. I’ve always been too big for quarterback (Becerra is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds) so no one has really ever given me the opportunity. Ro (Coach Rosenbach) is the first guy who ever gave me the chance. At first, sophomore year, he wasn’t going let me play quarterback, but he let me try and ever since then he’s gotten more and more comfortable with me and let me take my shots. I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to do and had to do and now I’m going to be a starter.
What are your goals?
I want to make sure that my team is always comfortable and know that they can come to me. Whenever we’re down or something bad happens, I can say ‘Don’t worry guys, we got this. It’s just one play.’ That I’m that guy they can come to and I can help them. I always want them to be ready to go. As a team, I’d like for every single play to be our like our last play. Every single play we want to be remembered for what we did. We need to give 110-percent on every single play and that will get us to that state championship.