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Swift success: RB's sophomore QB comes into own

Riverside Brookfield quarterback Ryan Swift (right) takes the snap and looks to hand it off in the Bulldogs' game against Nazareth on Friday.
Riverside Brookfield quarterback Ryan Swift (right) takes the snap and looks to hand it off in the Bulldogs' game against Nazareth on Friday.

RIVERSIDE – Ryan Swift's hectic season is a bit symbolic of the season as a whole for the Riverside Brookfield football team.

The sophomore was thrown into the starting quarterback spot after senior Jack VandeMerkt sustained an injury in Week 3. Even after VandeMerkt returned to the active squad, Swift remained the starter.

"It was a little hectic, but during the offseason I trained a lot so I was prepared," Swift said.

Swift started playing quarterback the same way he earned the starting job at RB. In eighth grade, his team's starting QB got hurt and Swift consequently made his debut at the position.

Originally, Swift was a tight end and defensive lineman, and even played that role with RB's varsity team before moving to quarterback. After finishing out that eighth grade year at quarterback, Swift played his first full year under center last fall on the freshman team.

RB coach Brendan Curtin described Swift as the type of athlete that had to be on the varsity squad regardless of position. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds he has a big body for a quarterback.

Despite relatively little experience at quarterback, Swift is drawn to the importance of the position.

"I know when it comes down to if we lose, it's my fault and nobody else's," Swift said. "I like that part of it."

One of Swift's favorite players is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and cited a play from college where Luck forced a fumble after a defensive player recovered a fumble from his running back as a highlight. That kind of toughness is something he wants to show on the field. Curtin said Swift is "a force" when he runs with the ball.

Three plays into the Week 4 game at Gary West Side, Swift had to come in for the injured VandeMerkt and guided the offense to a 49-point outburst. That proved what Curtin has said all season: Swift is calm, cool and collected under pressure. The hardest part of moving to quarterback was learning everyone's responsibilities on offense.

"Just making sure I have all the play calls down and all the signs," Swift said. "Making sure I know what everyone is doing while still having time to read the defense."

After a tough loss to area rival Nazareth last Friday, Swift and the 1-7 Bulldogs close out the season on Friday against Fenton.

Week 8 result: Nazareth 41, Riverside Brookfield 0

Week 9: Riverside Brookfield vs. Fenton
7:15 p.m. Friday
Where: 160 Ridgewood Rd., Riverside
Records: Riverside Brookfield 1-7 (1-2 MSC), Fenton 5-3 (2-1 MSC)
Outlook: The Bulldogs' season finale comes against a Fenton team looking to clinch a playoff birth with a win. RB could share second place in the Metro Suburban Conference with a win. Fenton won last year's meeting 20-10.

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