After an outstanding freshman season, QB Steel-High Alex Erby motivated to lead Rollers to another state title
Alex Erby is an inch taller, 10 pounds heavier and assumes his arm is maybe 15 yards taller than last June.
So, given the season he made as a freshman last year – he was PennLive’s All-Star quarterback pick in PennLive’s first central team after throwing for 2,489 yards with 32 affected while leading the Rollers to the State Class A title – no one would.I blamed him if he would have had a little more arrogance when he stepped onto the pitch on Wednesday for summer work against Harrisburg, Columbia and McCaskey.
But Erby was quick to point out that there were other factors at play.
The Rollers lost outstanding senior wide receiver Damein Hammonds and running back Odell Greene to graduation, and Penn State entry receiver / safety Mehki Flowers moved to CD East in January. Oh, and despite his production and frame – he’s 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds now – he still doesn’t have a college offering on hand.
So, Erby said, all he worries about now is putting the work up to par with his desire to prove he can bring Rollerskates back to a title and, along the way, show the colleges that ‘he’s one of the best in the country.
“It’s very motivating,” Erby told PennLive. “I’m watching other guys – (former Jeanette and current Gateway rising sophomore quarterback) Brad Birch got an offer from Oregon. And, I see guys getting offers from other schools, and I really think I’m just as good as they are.
“So I’m just going to work to focus on my game, and I think the deals will come. “
And, he hopes, victories will come once again along the way.
And, while on paper without Hammonds and Flowers to stalk his balls deep, and without Greene there to keep the chains moving between the two, Erby seems to have his work cut out for him, he said he was confident in the returning cast. That includes Tyrone Moore, who featured big numbers as a third option for Flowers and Hammonds last season, as well as Rell Ceaser Jr. and Jaieon Perry, who shone in the first-year linebacker, as his main receiving targets.
“I feel like I’m up for the challenge,” Erby said. “And I think some of these guys have experience and I think they can do it.
“I am extremely confident in the squad at the moment. “
But Erby will be the key.
This is something his father, Roller Skates coach Andrew Erby, impressed him before this summer. And, Erby said Thursday, he believes his son has adopted him. For example, when Alex said he suffered what was an MCL and ACL sprain early in the basketball season that kept him from getting up and recovering for a few months, he didn’t never stopped throwing. Even if it meant throwing out of a chair. And he doubled down on the upper body workouts that he said helped improve his arm strength.
“Last season I was probably throwing a few balls around 48 yards,” he said. “But, now I have put some 60 yards over there.”
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And, said Andrew Erby, Alex also connected with former Cedar Cliff and UMass quarterback Andrew Ford, another left-handed passer, as a mentor.
“They talked about some X’s and Bones and the IQ of football,” he said. “They talked about some things that were more advanced – at the college level. Andrew Ford was a heckuva player so I thought it was good for him.
“I think he is ready to take the lead,” he added. “In terms of really leading the team and having a better understanding of offense and how we want to use talent on the pitch, I think he will be more of a coach on the pitch.”
And, if everything turns out the way father-son imagines it, there will be plenty of reasons to get a little boastful on the road. For now, however, Alex has said there will be some hard work at Steelton as the Rollers prepare for what they hope will be another great season. And, he said, don’t be surprised if you see them come out, jackets on, running to the Dairy Queen for a conditioning session.
“Me and Ronald Burnette and Jaieon Perry, we run all over Steelton,” Alex said. “And I think we can go back to back. I think we can have an unbeaten season. We all have that mindset because that’s all we’re talking about on these tracks.