Brady Dorner knows he has big shoes to fill when he steps onto the field as State College’s starting quarterback.
The senior is replacing outgoing starter Tommy Friberg, who threw for over 4,000 passing yards in his career, including 2,293 as a senior. Dorner spoke with a broad smile and excitement in his voice at the team’s photo day about the opportunity ahead of him this season.
“I’ve been looking up to Tommy,” Dorner said. “I’ve just got to embrace that role and become a leader of the team, be friends with everybody.”
Dorner’s smile didn’t wear off when he spoke about Friberg’s advice on how to be a leader.
“He said, ‘you have to be friends with the linemen,’ ” Dorner said, “because they’re the people really protecting you back there.”
Dorner won’t be the only senior stepping up into a leadership role this season. Senior defensive end Kevin Kurzinger is ready to assume that role on defense.
“I’ve just got to be out there every day teaching them how to do everything right,” Kurzinger said. “I just take it on myself that we’ve got to be as strong as we are as a team.”
State College head coach Matt Lintal said Kurzinger has flourished in his role as a leader.
“Kurzinger is one of the best leaders that we have in terms of just his production on the field and also his work ethic off the field in the weight room,” he said.
Lintal is confident in the leaders that have stepped up this season, and has “super high” expectations for his new starting quarterback.
“I think he’s going to be able to manage our offense extremely well,” he said. “Last year in one game he played four different positions. He’s a kid that understands, not just quarterback, not just wideout, but he’s been in multiple spots. He’s played running back, slot receiver, wide receiver and quarterback so he gets it as well as anybody we have.”
Lintal’s expectations aren’t based only on Dorner’s play on the field, but also his love for the game.
“I have complete faith in him as a young man and as a football player,” Lintal said. “He’s a kid that has grown up with the game. Football is important to him. He’s been working for this time. ... I think people are going to be impressed when they see his play.”
2019 State College Little Lions
Last Year’s Record: 12-2 (Class 6A State quarterfinalist)
Coach: Matt Lintal (sixth season)
Estimated Roster Size: 73
Schedule: Aug. 23, at Mifflin County; Aug. 30, vs. St. Augustine Prep (NJ); Sept. 6, vs. Hollidaysburg; Sept. 13, at Carlisle; Sept. 20, at Chambersburg; Sept. 27, at Central Dauphin East; Oct. 4, vs. Harrisburg; Oct. 11, vs. Central Dauphin; Oct. 18, at Altoona; Oct. 25, vs. Cumberland Valley
Lintal’s Outlook: “(We take it) one week at a time. We’ve got to focus on Mifflin Country and the 23rd of August and that first game and just focus one week at a time. We always kind of set our goals. We want to win the Mid-Penn. We want to win the district championship. And we feel like if you can do those two things, you have a great shot to go on and win the state championship. So each and every year those will be our three long-term goals, you know. But we really want to be focused one week at a time and try to dominate the things that are right in front of us.”