IN THE SPOTLIGHT
He’s become pretty good at learning on the fly.
He proved that last year.
In a Class 8A state quarterfinal game at Huntley High School, Loyola Academy’s Andrew Forsyth was thrown into a difficult situation and basically asked to do the miraculous.
Way down on the depth chart at quarterback, Forsyth was the backup to the backup to the backup.
He was deemed the “use only in an emergency” QB.
Enter … the emergency.
Starter Tommy Herion left the game with a concussion in the opening quarter. Backup Quinn Boyle didn’t dress due to illness. And LA’s coaches chose to limit the quarterback reps for star receiver Jake Marwede.
And? Things couldn’t have turned out any better for LA. With Forsyth at the controls (6-11-0, 62 yards), the Ramblers went home with a 24-0 win.
Less than a year later, things have changed for Forsyth. Dramatically.
He’s been moved to wide receiver.
And, by all indications, it’s a pretty good fit for the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Forsyth. He was targeted five times and came up with four catches for 34 yards in Loyola’s 41-14 victory over visiting Fenwick on Sept. 23.
“He’s such a good athlete. We wanted to find a way to get him on the field,” said LA offensive coordinator Tyler Vradenburg.
Forsyth came up with his first catch (18 yards) in a Week Three win over Mt. Carmel. He had a 15-yard reception in the team’s victory at St. Francis in Week Four.
“Just being out there is great,” said Forsyth. “It’s nice that the coaches trust me. That they have my back.”
Forsyth opened the 2017 season as the possible Game One starting quarterback against Phillips. But then Boyle made a remarkably fast recovery from a broken thumb.
Soon after the season opener, Boyle, known for his quick thinking on the field, and a fellow teammate, wide receiver James Joyce, came up with a brilliant idea.
“Jamie and I got to talking. ‘We’ve got to get this kid [Forsyth] on the field,” ’ said Boyle, who accounted for 327 total yards against Fenwick.
“Coach Vradenburg was all for it,” Boyle added. “He loved the idea.”
It’s been a transition for Forsyth, who has played behind center his entire football life.
“The hardest part has been learning how to stalk block. That’s new to me,” said Forsyth. “And I’m also trying to run crisper routes.”
“Being a quarterback, he knows what I want out there,” said Vradenburg. “He’s smart. He helps us.”
And having more options at receiver will only serve to behoove Boyle, a dual-threat QB. Boyle not only ran the ball 16 times for 122 yards against the Friars, but he also completed passes to seven different receivers and finished 22-for-33 for 205 yards.
There’s chemistry with Boyle and Forsyth.
“We think a lot alike, when we’re on the field,” said Boyle, who counts Forsyth as one of his best friends.
In LA’s second drive of the game against Fenwick, Forsyth went down the seam and hauled in a 13-yard reception on 4th and 10. It set up an eight-yard TD run for Hamid Bullie.
“Andrew is a reliable guy to have out there,” Boyle said. “He’s smart. He’s athletic. And he’ll do anything it takes.”
Boyle also looked Forsyth’s way on LA’s second series of the second half. And once again, Forsyth picked up 13 yards on a long fourth-down play.
“Whatever works,” said Boyle, who is now being backed up by junior John Fallon. “I have a lot of options. And Andrew was getting open a lot.”
LA’s talented receiver corps also includes Joyce (2-32), Rory Boos (3-31), Dillon Grant (5-36), Artie Collins (4-54) and Alex King (1-10). Grant (8 yards) and Collins (12 yards) had TD catches.
And don’t forget Noah Jones. The junior speedster, who has been sidelined with an injury, eventually will enter the mix.
“Hoping to have him playing soon,” said Boyle. “He’ll give us a different dynamic.”