Two weeks into the season, Maine South’s Brian Collis was his team’s backup quarterback. Now, the sophomore is coming off a career-best game and hoping to help the Hawks make a deep playoff run.
Collis threw for a career-best four touchdowns in a 35-0 victory over Evanston on Friday, completing his first seven passes en route to finishing 17-for-27 for 197 yards.
“We’re trying to play to his strengths,” Hawks coach Dave Inserra said. “Sometimes you forget the kid’s only a sophomore. He’s only (15) years old, but he’s very poised and he’s seeing the field really well.”
Inserra has been complimentary of Collis’ arm strength and throwing ability since the beginning of the season. Collis showed why in the victory over the Wildkits, throwing for two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
It has been a crazy run for Collis, who had never played in a varsity game until Inserra made him the starter in Week 3 against Glenbrook South. However, Collis said that with each game he is growing more confident.
“I’m getting a little more comfortable each week,” he said. “My timing with my receivers is improving. My vision on the field is getting better. At first it was about getting used to playing at a varsity level, but now I’m just feeling more confident about what I’m doing. The game has been slowing down, which has helped.”
After the Hawks’ 0-2 start this year, Collis was tasked with helping to get the offense moving. Now Maine South is 6-2 overall (4-0 CSL South) with one game remaining against Waukegan before the playoffs. Collis said the team’s long postseason tradition, as well as a current 64-game winning streak in CSL South play, was in the back of his mind when he took over as starter.
“Obviously there’s a lot of pressure to step into a big spot like that,” he said. “But I felt like I was ready for it. I put in a lot of work and I’ve had excellent support from all my teammates along the way.
“I just realized I didn’t need to make the huge plays each time, and that you can’t force things. When I relaxed a little, things started to come more easily.”
Senior receiver George Sajenko said it was important to build Collis up during his early weeks as starter, and to remind him why he was at this level. Now the support is paying dividends.
“Early on, a lot of guys would tell him that he’s up here for a reason,” Sajenko said. “He just needs to keep reminding himself of that (as the team prepares for the playoffs). His confidence should be really high.”