When players emerge at positions as critical as quarterback, it often signifies a watershed moment for a football team.
In 2018, sophomore Chase Silva assumed the starting role after an injury in his team’s season opener and led the resurgent Skyline Falcons to the Class 4A title game. In nearby Lafayette, Centaurus’ junior quarterback Nick Faraca had a strong season for a Warriors team that was in transition and hoping to glimpse some light at the end of a tunnel of losing seasons.
Both Silva and Faraca put up some eye-popping numbers last fall. And while they play for teams in different stages of rebuilding efforts, both players enter their respective 2019 campaigns with greater expectations.
“Last year was pretty surreal,” Silva said. “I didn’t really expect to be the starter and I ended up playing in the state championship game. Of course, I have expectations for myself this season after getting that experience last year. But really, I just want to help the team win and do what we did last year.”
After then-senior quarterback Nate McGregor was injured in the second quarter of Week 1, Silva, who is now a junior, went on to throw for 2,829 yards and 30 touchdowns. Faraca, now a senior, threw for 2,436 yards and 18 touchdowns, and also ran the ball in for nine scores.
Both players were top 10 throughout of Colorado in passing yards during a season that saw Fairview’s Aidan Atkinson lead the state with 3,952 yards and an all-time best 55 touchdowns. That’s pretty good company for two relative unknowns to keep.
But even now that they face the added pressure of having to back up their impressive personal statistics, both Silva and Faraca remain focused on how they can help their teams.
“I’m just really excited for the season,” Faraca said. “I got two new wide receivers and I’m looking forward to throwing them into the game and seeing what they can do. We really want to win more games this year. My goal, at least, is to win five and go even on the season. All three years I’ve started, we’ve won just two or three games so it would be great to do better than that.”
Silva’s task this season changes from leading a team on a playoff run after a lengthy drought to trying to keep the Falcons among the top teams in 4A competing for state titles annually. Faraca’s responsibility is to help the Warriors turn things around after three straight seasons with four or fewer wins.
Both will have to do it without being able to lean on star players from last season.
Silva won’t have graduated tailback Jeremy Hollingsworth, who ran for 4,766 yards and scored 66 rushing touchdowns in his Falcons prep career, as well as wide receiver Kyle West, who is third all-time in Colorado with 225 career receptions.
“We definitely lost some key guys who were big factors in our offense, for sure,” Silva said. “But we have a lot of guys who are working hard and maybe they’re not as good as them yet, but they definitely have the potential to step up and be what those guys were for our offense. I mean, our system is pretty much our system and maybe we’ll simplify things a little bit for the new guys on offense but I think once we get farther into the year, we should be able to get back to where we were last year.”
Faraca won’t be able to throw the ball to Andres Mendoza, who caught 65 passes for 897 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.
“It’s just like last year, we just need a couple more players at a couple more positions to step up,” Faraca said. “Our junior class is looking really good and they’re starting to fill in and round out into good football players. We just need a little bit more of that and more leadership around the field. The core groups are there and we just need to continue to push everyone to be better.”
Silva and Faraca stepping up was crucial for their teams’ success in 2018. If they want to drive their teams’ progression onward and upward this fall, it looks like each young man may have to step it up even more.
FAB FIVE: QUARTERBACK
Top five returning local quarterbacks. (2018 total yards/yards per game):
1. Aidan Atkinson, Fairview (3,952 / 395.2)
2. Nick Faraca, Centaurus (2,436 / 243.6)
3. Calahan Carter, Holy Family (1,102 / 220.4)
4. Chase Silva, Skyline (2,829 / 202.1)
5. Carter Closson, Silver Creek (844 / 84.4)