When looking for a place to play quarterback, Jimmy Schill turned to the past.
After being told he wouldn’t play offense his senior season at Elyria High, Schill decided to transfer to Amherst, where his love of the sport began in the Amherst Youth Football program.
The 4-0 Comets and Schill have been a perfect fit. In four games, Schill has completed 17 of 25 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns while throwing just one interception.
He also has 193 yards rushing on 35 carries with a touchdown.
Nothing was guaranteed when Schill decided to take his talents to Amherst. He had to win a three-way battle in camp with senior incumbent Matt Fairchild and Brookside senior transfer Jonathan Hice. Fairchild is starting at tight end this season while Hice starts at inside linebacker.
Schill said the decision to come back to Amherst, where he played in the youth program from third grade to eighth with a number of players on the varsity roster, was what fit him best.
“At Elyria I was told by the offensive coordinator and the head coach that I wouldn’t get to play offense at all,” Schill said. “I really wanted to go out there and be able to play on offense to help the team out that way because we were struggling.
“When he told me that I talked to my dad, and he told me I needed to look at my options. I decided to come back here.”
Comets coach Mike Passerrello likes the transition so far. He’s pleased with how Schill, Fairchild and Hice have embraced their roles.
“I think Jimmy has done an excellent job of coming back and meshing with kids that he’s played with before,” Passerrello said. “He went to school with these kids at the younger level and he’s had a relationship with a lot of them.
“Any decision we made from there was what we thought was best for the football team. Everybody has done a great job with it.”
Senior inside linebacker Nathan Soto was glad to see his old teammates back as his new teammate.
“It’s cool because me, Kenny (Velez) and Jimmy used to play together on the Amherst Youth Football teams, going back to our first year of football,” Soto said. “Jimmy has done an awesome job. He can hurt you on the ground or with his arm and takes some pressure off (all-conference tailback) Khennedy (Scagliozzo) because he’s someone else the defense has to plan for. He’s done a great job.”
As the Comets’ season progresses, Passerrello said he’s putting more on Schill’s plate.
“Each week he’s doing more and more with making sure we’re in the right play,” Passerrello said. “We’ll continue to build off that as long as he can handle it. We’re not just going to throw everything at him and say, ‘Figure it out.’ As much as he can handle is as much as we’ll do.”
Schill is happy to be back where it all started.
“It felt good to be able to come play with kids I knew and was used to,” he said. “Being able to take the field with them again has been great.
“We want to show our conference that we’re here to compete and play hard. We want to be the hardest-hitting team every Friday night and so far I think we’ve done a very good job of that.”
Another part of Schill’s embracing a new program can’t be measured on the field on Friday nights. He frequently heads over to his old stomping grounds, the Amherst Youth Football practice fields, to check out the next generation of Comets.
“Being able to go out and help with the youth program, watching those kids play and seeing that they have the right mindset to come out and play the game the right way, has meant a lot,” Schill said. “I know these are the kids that are going to be helping this program on Friday nights in the future and it feels good to give something back.”
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