Jake Dilcher well prepared for any challenge
Only a freshman, Jake Dilcher is one injury away from becoming the starting varsity quarterback at Kennett High School in Kennett Square, Pa. Should junior starter Nick Dunlevy get hurt, Dilcher is ready to take the big step up in class.
“I’ve played for a long time and a bunch of the players that are on the varsity now, I used to play with them in my younger years,” Dilcher said. “And I’ve gotten reps with the varsity in practice and a couple of scrimmages. I think I’m ready.”
In addition to playing quarterback since he was five years old, Dilcher has other advantages.
His older brother played football and his dad, Bryan, coaches the running and slot backs at Kennett. He also played college football at East Stroudsburg University.
“It’s a huge advantage,” Jake Dilcher said of growing up in a football family. A lot of kids haven’t had the opportunity to play for as long as I have and to be around the game for as long as I have. I try to use the experience to my advantage.”
Faring so well in the Duel in July also helped boost Dilcher’s confidence. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to be,” he said. “The first day, I wasn’t nervous, but I didn’t really know what to expect. The next day was all the competition and that was cool.”
In NFA’s showcase event in Massillon, Ohio, Dilcher wound up finishing in third place among incoming freshmen. “Knowing it was my first Duel and a lot of kids I placed in front of had been there before, that was pretty satisfying,” he said. “But there is always so much room for improvement so I’m not every really completely satisfied. But just knowing it wasn’t just my friends and my family telling me I can do it, that means a lot. I actually think I can because I finished in the Top 3. I can take that into my season and produce out on the field.”
Dilcher is the starting JV quarterback at Kennett, and he is very likely to get playing time with the varsity. He might be young, but he is already showing the strong leadership qualities found in most successful QBs.
“I’m definitely looking to help my team a lot,” Dilcher said. “The past couple of years, our record has been pretty bad. I’m just looking to help out and get that turned around. One of our slogans this year is being tough in everything you do.
The past couple of years, the team was all talk and there was a bunch of selfish players. This year, we’re all committed and working really hard to turn that around.”
For as much success as he’s already had, the 5-foot-9 ½, 145-pounder continues working hard to improve his game. “I’m working a lot on my arm strength, just because I’m young, and my arm speed,” Dilcher said. “At the varsity level, it’s a lot faster, things happen so fast. I’m lifting, I’m in the weight room a lot trying to get stronger. I’m also working on speed and strength and then knowing the plays like the back of my hand so I’m able to help my teammates out when they don’t know their responsibilities on the field.”
Working with NFA the past three years has also prepared Dilcher to play against older competition. “They’ve helped me with my mechanics and some other things,” he said. “And NFA has been really great with off the field things, helping with my team and in school and in life. They’ve helped me learn to become a better man and learn life lessons and set goals.”