Demarcus White said he sat down with Tyler Palermiti and Kevin Sheckells before the season began, and the McDaniel College football coach had an announcement.
Palermiti, a junior, earned the starting quarterback role for the Green Terror. Sheckells, who came to McDaniel after stints at Old Dominion University and Wesley College, was set to be the team’s backup.
White, the Terror’s first-year coach, had plans for both, however.
McDaniel (3-2, 2-2 in the Centennial Conference) has used Palermiti and Sheckells at some point in each game this season, and the Green Terror headed into the bye week with two quarterbacks that have enjoyed success.
Palermiti (6-feet, 190 pounds) has 743 passing yards and five touchdowns through five games — and the only starting QB in the Centennial without an interception. McDaniel’s offense is ground-based, so White and offensive coordinator Scott Browning have packages for Sheckells.
The junior uses a lot of his 6-4, 240-pound frame behind the Terror’s offensive line as a sort of “jumbo” scheme, and Sheckells has 76 rushing yards (third most on the team).
White praised his quarterbacks for understanding the process and accepting their roles. It’s not conventional, the QBs said. But it’s working for them.
“We definitely use it to our advantage,” Palermiti said. “I think everything has been all right [with] the whole situation. We understand it’s to win games, you know?”
McDaniel’s offense struggled last week against Juniata (2-3), and the Green Terror stumbled in their Homecoming game. Palermiti threw for a mere 67 yards in a 28-14 loss, and was sacked four times. Sheckells didn’t see any action against Juniata, but the Wesley transfer said he’s good with the early-season design and wants to contribute as much as he can.
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“I’m just really excited to see how they’re going to keep on expanding on it,” Sheckells said. “I feel like when I’ve been given my opportunity to go in there I perform well. Obviously I’d love to be a bigger part of the offense and continue to expand upon what I do. Mostly they’ve been using me in run packages, but everyone on the team, all my teammates know I can throw. They’re just waiting for it.”
The left-hander tossed a touchdown pass in Week 1 against Misericordia, and ran for a score in McDaniel’s Week 4 victory over Gettysburg. Sheckells rushed for 47 yards, on 6.7 per carry, in that Week 1 win.
Palermiti had a career day against Gettysburg with 244 passing yards (17-for-26, 65.4%), his first collegiate 200-yard game. The 244 yards was the most by a McDaniel quarterback since Sept. 30, 2017.
The Green Terror QBs are bracing for opposing defenses to be scheming for dual approach, so it’s uncertain how often they’ll continue to share duties. McDaniel’s second half begins Oct. 19 with a road game against Dickinson (2-3, 1-3 Centennial). Then the Green Terror return home to welcome first-place Muhlenberg (5-0, 4-0).
Palermiti said the Terror need to fine-tune a few things in preparation for the second half.
“We just have to execute. We have to do what we know how to do,” he said. "Our playbook isn’t huge, so we have a few plays that we execute to a T, and we need to keep that up. We need to win situations, like win on first down, making sure we don’t take a loss. We need to not shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties.
“If we control those things, I think we have a good shot at winning every game."