Quarterback competition igniting the Inferno


Melanie Flint

By RayJaun Stelly, Contributing Writer

After winning the Big Sky Championship in each of the past three seasons, the EWU football team stumbled in the 2015-16 season, finishing 5-3 in conference play, 6-5 overall, as three different quarterbacks all received playing time throughout the season.

Senior Jordan West immediately filled big shoes and received the nod from coaches with the departure of Vernon Adams last season, showing he could handle the pressure that was put on him by practically everyone. “Good things come from pressure, as long as you know how to control it,” said West. “When you play for a top program you’re never entitled to anything, and must always earn everything.”

Starting in 10 out of the 11 games, West finished with 30 touchdowns for 3,002 yards with a 64.6 completion percentage and eight interceptions. His best game came against Montana State where he threw for six touchdowns for 410 yards, completing 21 of his 24 passes.
Despite West’s excellent numbers and performance, which was successful for a full-time starter, head coach Beau Baldwin and his staff tried a new approach throughout the season by giving all three of his quarterbacks action on the field.

Sept. 5, 2015, we were able to get our first look at redshirt sophomore Reilly Hennessey, who saw a fairly significant amount of playing time during the season, as well as being the former Washington Gatorade Player of the Year in 2013, had a completion percentage of 64.8, quarterback rating of 144.1, four touchdown passes for 773 yards and three interceptions. In that short amount of field action, Hennessey’s impact was very beneficial for the team.

Redshirt sophomore Gage Gubrud also saw playing time last season, completing 53.8 percent of his passes for 66 yards and one interception in three games.
“If you were to go back a year ago last spring, I really thought Gage would be right in the mix as well,” head coach Beau Baldwin said.

April 9 capped off the Eagles’ full week of practice for spring and Gubrud managed to stand out in the first scrimmage, completing six of his seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdown passes, including a 67-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Meanwhile, Hennessy completed six of his 12 passes for 58 yards and West completed four of his nine passes for 49 yards along with one interception. Combined, the three quarterbacks finished 16 of 28 passing for 249 yards for two touchdowns and an interception.

“We are competing day in and day out — that’s what spring ball is all about. It’s my last year and I’m going to make the most of it,” West said.
Head coach Beau Baldwin has yet to announce who the starting quarterback will be in 2016-17 season, and with the competition heating up it does not seem like any decision will be coming soon.