Warriors Athlete of Week: Brainerd QB willing to do whatever it takes
Will Peabody started as a slot receiver for the Brainerd Warriors last season, while Hanson Devine and Chris Pederson took the majority of the snaps at quarterback.
Except for last season, Peabody had been a quarterback throughout his career. This fall he returned to the position, won the signal-calling job in the preseason and has flourished as the starter. He has rushed for 421 yards (5.5-yards per carry average) and two touchdowns and thrown for 194 yards and another score as 4-1 Brainerd has won four straight games.
Peabody said playing wide receiver helped him learn many of the routes in the Warriors' offense so shifting back to quarterback was a relatively smooth transition.
"It was just adjusting from going out from the line of scrimmage to behind it," he said. "It wasn't too hard of an adjustment for me."
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- Sport: Football
- Position: Quarterback
- Year: Senior
- Age: 18
- Height: 6-foot
- Career highlight: Beating Moorhead 27-22 last week
- Other sports: Baseball
- Grade-point average: 3.6
- Favorite class: Math
- Favorite food: Ribs
- Favorite movie: "Benchwarmers"
- Favorite TV show: "Family Guy"
- Hobbies: Being with friends, outdoor activities
- Future plans: Attend college, possibly major in education
- Favorite athlete: LaDainian Tomlinson
- Parents: Eunice and Tim Peabody
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Warriors coach Ron Stolski said on Peabody's goal sheets for the season, the senior listed doing anything he could to help the team be the best it could be.
"Every day he comes to practice willing to do whatever he can and now he's in that quarterback role, doing whatever he can to make us a better ballclub," Stolski said.
"One of the things I look for in a team is that quality of will," Stolski added. "Are you willing to do what it takes to help yourself get better and be successful? Are you willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals? Are you willing to accept coaching? Will runs with abandon and a certain will.
"What maybe goes unnoticed but is noticeable to our staff are all the little things he does for his teammates. He's a willing worker. He helps out. I'm convinced if we asked Will to be the punter he would try to be the punter."
In the last two games in particular, Peabody has run with abandon. He finished with 12 carries and 113 yards against Sauk Rapids and 17 attempts for 128 yards against Moorhead. An offensive line of Will Schneider at center, Ryan Powers and Seth Desrocher at guard and Michael Bieganek and Hunter Erickson at tackle has been one of the reasons Brainerd has rushed for 1,391 yards in its first five games.
"They've been doing really well," Peabody said of the line. "Coach (Chet) Stevenson has been working hard with them, getting them on assignment. They've been making holes for us to run through. It's been awesome. They've been doing their thing up front. We've been able to do ours in the backfield."
Peabody and the Warriors continue to work on the passing game, which has produced just 309 yards so far.
"That's one of our weak suits," Peabody said. "We need to improve that part of our game. That comes with practicing it, getting the ball out of my hand, reading defenses."
Stolski isn't consumed with how his quarterback looks while passing or how many yards he throws for. "We're concerned about whether a guy can make the throws to an open man and Will's done that," Stolski said. "He's made some excellent throws along the way. We threw more (against Moorhead), probably more than we had in the previous four games. We needed to and we wanted to. That helped open up the game for us. It gave us another way to attack an awfully good defense."
One of the Warriors' thrilling plays against Moorhead was a halfback option pass from Charlie Geraets to Peabody midway through the second quarter. Peabody pitched to his right to Geraets who pivoted and threw back to the left side to Peabody, who caught it and ran 9 yards for the score.
"We had practiced it in practice that week," Peabody said. "We had gotten it down pretty well. ... Charlie made the pass work. He threw it up to me and I was able to catch it. There was nobody in front of me. I just had to take it into the end zone."