Nick Putnam knows a lot will fall on his shoulders if the Laingsburg football team is to have another successful season.
And the junior quarterback has been up to meeting that challenge for the Wolfpack this fall.
With Laingsburg not getting much going on the ground early this season, Putnam has used his arm to help the Wolfpack get off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2008.
Putnam delivered a big performance through the air in Laingsburg’s CMAC opener Thursday, throwing for a single-game school-record 358 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-26 victory over Fulton. He completed 21 of 25 passes in the win.
“Our run game wasn’t very strong so I knew I had to step up for our team to succeed and move the ball,” said Putnam, who was voted the Lansing State Journal’s high school athlete of the week. “My line did a great job of pass blocking for me and my wide receivers ran great routes and they caught the ball and made some plays when they needed to.”
Thursday’s performance was a sign of the growth Putnam believes he’s made as a quarterback since last fall. Putnam was moved up to varsity in the middle of last fall and got plenty of experience during Laingsburg’s run to a Division 6 district title. He believes that experience has paid dividends early this season.
“Last year I was a little bit nervous and got rid of the ball early, and I threw a couple picks here and there,” Putnam said. “Definitely knowing my reads and when to get rid of the ball and where to throw it and place it to my wide receivers where only they can get it (has helped me). My passing game has gone up and I hope to keep having it go up where I don’t have a setback.”
Putnam, who has six passing touchdowns through two games, hopes his improvements under center can help Laingsburg build off last year’s historic season that featured the first district title in school history. Last year’s success has led to a changed mindset in the Wolfpack program and the playoffs are now something Putnam views as an expectation.
“We’ve kind of built it in our program knowing we’re going to be a playoff team from now on,” Putnam said. “That was the first ever district title (last year) and we’ve only ever been in the playoffs two other times. Last year was really like the setting year. For now on we are going to know ourselves as a playoff team. Now our goal this year is to get a winning record where we host a playoff game. It’s only been done one other time in school history.”