Schneider’s quick release has him thriving early on as Basalt’s starting quarterback
Somewhat vanilla on the outside, relying on a heavy dose of the power run, the Basalt High School football team’s offense has always had its share of wrinkles under coach Carl Frerichs. The latest involves the twitchy arm of junior Kade Schneider, who is in his first season as the Longhorns’ starting quarterback.
“We knew going into the season he was a super talented passer and a really smart kid, so we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Frerichs said. “We really like his quick release on our boots, which I think adds something to our passing game on those boots that is a huge advantage to us.”
Basalt likes to let Schneider roll out of the pocket on pass attempts, where he has a plethora of talented receiving targets to choose from, including seniors Sam Sherry, Wilson Maytham and Ryan Garcia, and junior tight end Ben Limongelli. Complimenting the air attack is that ever consistent BHS ground game, this year led by the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior Cooper Crawford.
This has meant a 37.3 points per game average for Basalt through its 3-0 start this fall, which continues Friday night with a big non-league game at Glenwood Springs.
“I was really excited this year to play and it’s been a really good experience playing with all these guys,” Schneider said. “My expectations were kind of low going in, so just to play like we have been is pretty cool. But there is definitely a learning curve with playing varsity for your first year. I’m impressed with how we’ve been playing and it’s been really fun. I’ve surprised myself, too.”
Schneider barely touched the varsity field as a sophomore during the pandemic-delayed spring season. Out of precaution due to the coronavirus, Frerichs kept his varsity and junior varsity sides separate in the spring, in case there was an outbreak among either group. This meant JV players who may have at least practiced or even been on the sideline for varsity games in the past didn’t get that experience earlier this year, at least until the JV season had concluded.
Schneider did see some varsity action in the postseason, but never at quarterback. He took over this fall for recent graduate Matty Gillis, a well-respected leader for the Longhorns the past two seasons.
“Matty was a great player and a great leader and Kade has really just filled in those shoes and is playing really good right now. Good arm, just making all the right calls,” said Sherry, who like Frerichs enjoys Schneider’s ability to get the ball out in a hurry. “It really just opens up a lot more pass plays, because last year we were running more. But this year we are able to pass it more. We have more receivers, so that seems to be working well for us right now.”
According to MaxPreps, Schneider has completed just shy of 50% of his passes for 402 yards through three games this fall. What stands out is the fact that he’s thrown seven touchdown passes without an interception this season. Sherry has been on the receiving end of four of those scores, with a team-high nine catches for 145 yards.
Schneider said he worked with local baseball coach Frank Markoya over the summer in preparation for the football season. He credits Markoya with helping him develop that quick-release arm the Longhorns’ offense sees as a valuable asset.
“I worked with him a lot and he really helped me with a lot of the quarterbacking stuff we don’t really get to do in practice. That quick release, the footwork, all that stuff. He really helped me out with that,” Schneider said. “Just getting the ball out quick, especially on that roll out when you got the whole D-line coming at you and there is not a lot of time, that quick release really helps.”
Schneider will certainly continue to develop as a leader and a playmaker for the Longhorns. For Frerichs, the main point he wants his QB to focus on is avoiding turnovers, something he’s been incredibly efficient at so far.
Having run this same offense since elementary school, Schneider hasn’t had any issues with the X’s and O’s. It’s been more about adjusting to the varsity level and getting comfortable under those Friday night lights.
“We run the same offensive system from third grade all the way through high school, so he knows the plays, he knows what he’s doing. But again, that quick release is something that is really to his advantage and is really helping our offense,” Frerichs said. “To have seven touchdown passes to zero interceptions going into Week 4 is pretty special for a first-year starter. If he keeps taking care of the ball like that, we are going to have an opportunity in every game.”
Broadcaster Jim Williams of KSPN and KNFO is leaving the valley after eight years of serving as the voice of Aspen, Basalt and Roaring Fork high school’s sports.