Trent Nobach is savoring every moment as he prepares for his senior season this fall.
After all, the standout Arlington High School quarterback knows how quickly it can all get taken away.
When coronavirus restrictions were loosened and prep football was cleared to resume this past March, Nobach and his teammates made their long-awaited return to the field. After a 16-month layoff, the talented 6-foot-2 quarterback was eager to build on a strong 2019 sophomore campaign and showcase the strides he’d made since then.
But in an instant, that all changed.
In the first half of Arlington’s spring opener against Monroe, Nobach was sacked hard to the turf. For several moments, he laid there in pain.
“I was looking left. (The defender) came from my right shoulder, so I didn’t see him,” Nobach said. “When I hit the ground, I heard a little pop in my shoulder. I knew that wasn’t good. Then I tried to move my arm and tried to get myself up, but I just couldn’t.
“So I knew it was pretty bad right away.”
Nobach had broken his left collarbone.
After the agonizingly long wait, his season was over before it ever really began.
“I was super excited to play,” said Nobach, who’s regarded as one of the top high school quarterbacks in the state for his class. “We’d been off for like a year and a half. So getting the injury in the second quarter of the first game was very disappointing.”
Nobach spent the rest of the five-game spring slate on the sidelines, watching as his team struggled through a rough 2-3 season that included a shutout loss to Monroe and blowout losses to Marysville Pilchuck and Snohomish.
“It was probably one of the most deflating injuries we’ve ever had,” said longtime Arlington coach Greg Dailer, who is entering his 14th season at the helm. “We really didn’t have a backup plan. … And we just felt really bad for him. He’d worked so hard and he was so excited (to play).”
Following the injury, Nobach’s arm was in a sling for about four weeks. But before long, the three-sport athlete was back competing for the Eagles’ golf and basketball teams during their abbreviated seasons.
Nobach, a lifelong golfer who said his best score was 2-under-par at Everett’s Walter Hall Golf Course last summer, helped lead the Arlington boys golf team to the Wesco North title this spring.
“I didn’t want to miss two (sports) seasons,” he said. “So after about four to five weeks, I started to play golf, which really I thought was the best thing for my shoulder, with mobility and getting all the strength back.”
And after the golf and basketball seasons, it was back to football for Nobach.
Not having any film from his junior season was challenging in terms of college recruiting exposure. But this summer, he made up for lost time by traveling to a variety of football camps, showcases and unofficial visits. His summer included football trips to California, Montana, Utah and even some Ivy League schools on the East Coast.
“I don’t have any junior film, (so) I had to put myself out there in front of all these coaches,” Nobach said. “… It was a very eventful summer. I had a lot of fun.”
A few weeks ago, Nobach competed in the annual invite-only Northwest 9 Showcase quarterback competition, which is designed to rank the top nine high school quarterbacks in the Pacific Northwest. Nobach finished fourth in the senior division of the prestigious three-day event.
“I was pretty excited about that,” he said.
Nobach, a two-star prospect, is currently ranked by 247Sports as the No. 8 senior quarterback recruit in the state. He’s also the state’s No. 98 overall senior recruit.
But Nobach said he’s not worried about his college future right now.
“I’m just keeping my options open (and am) ready to go have some fun my senior year, and then kind of worry about the recruiting process afterward,” he said.
The last time most people saw Nobach play was in 2019, when he was a first-year sophomore starter for the Eagles. He completed 59% of his passes that season for 1,653 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. It was good enough to earn All-Wesco 3A North first-team honors.
But even so, Dailer said Nobach has made massive strides since then. Nobach has trained with former Seattle Seahawks reserve quarterback Jake Heaps — who coaches many area high school quarterbacks — and spent many hours working out in the gym and studying film.
“It’s just gonna be night and day from his sophomore year,” Dailer said. “And he was All-Wesco his sophomore year. But I just think he’s come so far. It’s gonna be fun to watch him play.”
According to Dailer, Nobach’s biggest improvements over the past two years have been increased arm strength, improved footwork and a greater knowledge and command of the offense.
Arlington runs an up-tempo, no-huddle attack that places a lot of responsibility on the quarterback to quickly make the correct calls at the line of scrimmage. And Nobach has become masterful at that part of the game, Dailer said.
“Now it’s all second nature. He knows it better than I do. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Hey, Trent, what are we doing on this one?’ Because I’ll forget,” Dailer said with a laugh. “… He can do it in his sleep. He’s gonna be so much quicker with his decisions.”
But what stands out most, Dailer said, is Nobach’s pinpoint accuracy.
“He’s probably the most accurate quarterback I’ve ever had,” Dailer said. “And that’s saying a lot. We’ve had some pretty good ones.”
Nobach and Dailer both raved about their team’s deep and promising receiving corps, highlighted by seniors Levi Younger, Gage Price, Elisha Jackson, Luke Brown and Ethan Martin.
“We have about eight receivers that we can rotate in,” Nobach said. “Being a quarterback, I like to throw to the guy who gets open. And having about eight of those guys is gonna make our offense really, really good.”
Most of all, Nobach said he’s glad to be back on the field with his teammates.
“(The injury) really gave me a sense of gratefulness just for this year — every summer practice, every practice during game week, all these games upcoming,” he said. “My focus is really just living in the moment, because this is my last time playing as an Arlington Eagle and with all my buddies that I’ve grown up with since kindergarten.
“That’s probably what gives me the most joy — just being on the field, looking my teammates in the eye, laughing, having fun,” he added. “We all have one goal. We’re trying to be at the top of Wesco. And every day, we strive to get better to do that. This year, I’ve had a lot of fun already. And it’s just the beginning.”