Reese Sauter started at quarterback Thursday night for Francis Scott Key in place of Steven Keeney, a senior who missed the game with an injury.
Sauter took over FSK’s Wing-T formation on offense, which focuses on the run. But the junior showed everyone he wasn’t afraid to pass, either.
Sauter grabbed hold of the position and performed quite well — the quarterback found out he’d be starting against Patterson Mill that morning, and he didn’t disappoint the Eagles faithful.
Sauter established a rhythm with his receivers on offense and utilized the running game effectively en route to FSK’s 27-7 victory. Not bad for finding out you’re the starting quarterback hours before kickoff, one day earlier than usual — Francis Scott Key moved its Week 3 contest up one day to avoid any Hurricane Florence entanglements.
“Steven said he had something wrong with him, and he needs to be out,” Sauter said. “They just put me in at the last minute.”
Sauter finished 11-for-18 for 195 yards (unofficial) and tossed two touchdowns. He carried four times for 26 more yards, and scored a touchdown on the ground.
Keeney watched from the sideline and celebrated with his team, which cemented the victory on a long scoring drive that began late in the third quarter and ended midway into the fourth.
Key (2-1) marched 66 yards on 15 plays, and Sauter found junior Quinlan Stacey — a lineman converted into a tight end — for an 11-yard touchdown pass to cap it.
Sauter’s extra point gave the Eagles a 27-7 lead, and after Patterson Mill (0-2) took over a few minutes later junior defensive back Riley Selby snared an interception near midfield to help seal the win.
FSK coach Josh Rutter said he was proud of how the Eagles handled this week’s adversity — a shortened period for preparation and an earlier kickoff, not to mention playing without one of their veterans in Keeney.
“Reese came in and did a really good job,” Rutter said. “The nice thing was, we had practiced him a good bit this week just because Steven was kind of in limbo. It was short notice for Reese, and his handled his business really well tonight.”
Sauter got Key on the board first with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Smith midway through the first quarter. Sauter connected on his first three passes for 49 yards.
The Eagles led 6-0, but Patterson Mill finally broke through.
Junior lineman Corben Jones recovered a fumble for the Huskies, giving them good field position at their own 39-yard line with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Junior quarterback Nathan Vujanic completed four passes on the drive, the last of which went for 40 yards down the far sideline to found Chris Blackwell for a touchdown. The extra point was good and Patterson Mill led 7-6 with about 2 minutes to play in the quarter.
But Key responded — and Sauter starting throwing again.
He connected with senior Corey Goodman on a 29-yard pass to get inside Huskies territory, at the 30, then heaved one down the middle into heavy coverage on the next play before Matthew Diehl hauled it in at the 1.
Two plays later, Sauter sneaked in for a 1-yard scoring run. Junior back Trace Shiftlet’s two-point conversion run gave FSK a 14-7 lead, and it stayed that way to the half.
Sauter was 7-for-12 for 139 yards in the half, and senior Bobby Sylves caught four passes for 56 yards.
Goodman led FSK’s rushing attack with 56 yards on 13 carries, while junior Joseph Red-Man added 55 yards on 11 carries.