Colton Daniels has every attribute you look for in a high school quarterback.
The 6-foot senior from Salem Academy is a 4.0 grade-point average student with a strong arm and good mobility in the pocket.
The only thing that’s missing is experience.
Daniels spent his entire high school career as a backup quarterback, but though he is still a virtual unknown, he has displayed great ability when given the chance.
“He was just starting to get there,” said senior receiver Skyler Williams. “Coming out like that how he did was really good for him moving into the next year.”
He’s beat out, at least so far, Koby McCallum for the starting quarterback spot.
McCallum was the starting quarterback at Horizon Christian the past two seasons, and Daniels said he learned about the mental side of the position and footwork from McCallum.
And having McCallum playing receiver gives Daniels another athletic receiver in a group that includes returning starters Williams (646 yards, 12 TDs), Rylan Stamback (669 yards, seven TDs) and Wilson McLean (461 yards, TD) in the team’s blur offense.
“He’s helped me because we were doing a competition so it’s raising each other’s level of play,” said Daniels, a second-team all-conference punter as a junior. “I definitely think it’s been good for me. Having him out there throwing passes against me has made me want to bring my level up. I think it’s been very beneficial.”
In a backup role as a junior, Daniels was 17 of 40 passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns with one interception as a backup.
That also means that Daniels is ready for his chance to help his team.
“He’s a really, really strong student of the game,” Salem Academy coach Gary Johnson said. “He’s got a lot of arm. Some college coaches have looked at him throw. He’s got a great character. Kids will follow that anywhere.
“That’s what Colton can do really well. A lot of it’s based on his confidence. He hasn’t had the number of reps that maybe a lot of quarterbacks shave had, but he’s a gem at quarterback. He’s going to play quarterback at the next level somewhere.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
Coach: Justin Hubbard, fifth year.
Last year’s record: 10-2 overall, 6-0 PacWest, lost in state semifinals.
Key athletes: Nick Orlandini, Sr., RB/DB: A four-year starter, the speedy runner was a first-team all-league player on both sides of the ball as a junior. R.J. Veliz, So., QB/DB: Displayed his athleticism as a freshman as the team’s starting quarterback. Denver Bogat, Sr., RB/LB: A second-team all-league selection at running back and a strong rusher.
Outlook: The Cavaliers have an athletic and experience group of skill position players returning, but their biggest questions are on the offensive line. Blanchet has the athletes to compete for the league championship this season.
Coach: Steve Crane, third year.
Last year’s record: 1-6 overall, 1-5 PacWest.
Key athletes: Shey Lopez, Jr., QB/S: A second-team all-conference defensive player as a sophomore last season.
Outlook: The Braves had a successful senior group last season that won the program’s first league game in a decade.
Coach: Josh Crawford, second year.
Last year’s record: 0-9 overall, 0-6 PacWest.
Key athletes: Derrick Jaramillo, Sr., P/QB/DE: A first-team all-conference and all-state selection at punter as a junior. Alex Gostevskyh, Sr., RB/LB: A second-team all-conference player on both sides of the ball as a junior. Noel Vasquez, Jr., WR/CB: An all-conference selection on offense as a sophomore.
Outlook: The Cougars have the talent to make a step forward this year. With the addition of River Moss, the starting quarterback at Woodburn a year ago, Gervais has the potential to compete for a state playoff spot.
Coach: Calvin Griggs, first year.
Last year’s record: 2-7 overall, 2-4 PacWest.
Key athletes: Marshall Montgomery, Sr., OL/DL: A second-team all-conference player on offense as a junior. Dane Bruggeman, Sr., WR/DB: An honorable mention all-conference receiver last year. Layne Newman, Sr., OL/LB: One of the team’s top defensive players, he was an honorable mention all-conference player last season.
Outlook: The Lions return all but two starters from last year’s team, but have a first-year coach in Griggs and a lot of room for growth.
Coach: Gary Johnson, third year.
Last year’s record: 8-3 overall, 4-2 PacWest, lost in state quarterfinals.
Key athletes: Rylan Stamback, Sr., WR/DB: Caught 39 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and was a first-team all-conference on offense as a junior. Skylar Williams, Sr., WR/S: Caught 43 passes for 646 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and was first-team all-conference at receiver. Zach Ramillosa, Sr., OL/LB: A first-team all-conference offensive lineman who moves to middle linebacker to take advantage of his athleticism and experience.
Outlook: The Crusaders have a proven group of receivers for whoever wins the starting quarterback spot. The biggest question for the team is on the offensive line where only Ramillosa and Sam Schmidt return.
Coach: Kyle Braa, seventh year.
Last year’s record: 11-1 overall, 6-0 PacWest, lost in state semifinals.
Key athletes: Dru Cook, Jr., RB/S: Rushed for 536 yards and eight touchdowns and made 51 tackles last season when he was a second-team all-conference defensive back and will take on an increased role in the offense. Ayden Zimmerman, Sr., OL/DL: A second-team all-conference offensive lineman as a junior. Nathan Yoder, Jr., RB/LB: Rushed for 308 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore.
Outlook: Scio graduated a huge and prolific group of seniors from last year’s team, but has an athletic junior class that will put the team in contention for the top spot in the league again.
Also in the PacWest
Colton: A playoff appearance as an at-large team last season (5-5 overall, 3-3 PacWest) was the shot that the Vikings needed, and the team should be a playoff team again this year.