In many high school programs, sophomore Chad Briden would probably be the starting varsity quarterback based on his obvious skills.
But Briden attends Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, and the Wildcats are a powerhouse football team.
He is Westminster’s backup QB on the varsity this season behind senior Evan Johnson. If Briden is not getting enough snaps with the varsity, he’ll stay sharp playing for the JV team.
“It’s all kind of week to week,” Briden said. “I’m hoping that I can get in and get some experience on varsity with a winning team. I’d like to get a lot better for the next couple of years because we have a really good young team. We have a lot of young skill players and a lot of older linemen. It’s just good to get familiar with them and do well. If I don’t play varsity on Friday, I’ll play the JV games on Monday.”
Briden had plenty of confidence heading into the season.
After attending his first NFA camp this summer in Indianapolis, he was invited to the Duel and finished first among incoming 10th graders.
“I wasn’t really sure about how I stacked up against other people who were good quarterbacks,” Briden said. “I’ve really only seen people in St. Louis, so the Duel really helped me to see that I could compete with those guys and make some of the throws that I wasn’t really 100 percent sure about. My accuracy was a lot better than I expected.”
As a freshman last season, Briden split time at quarterback with Westminster’s JV team and completed 49 of 87 passes for 807 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“I was really excited about last season because we had a new offense,” Briden said. “We turned into a spread passing team and it was a lot of fun. The first game I played, I threw for 3 touchdowns. It was a lot of fun getting to throw to receivers that I’ve been playing with for a long time. And it was good to do well.”
With the Wildcats switching to the R4 offense this season, Westminster coaches suggested Briden attend an NFA camp this season. NFA Founder/President Darin Slack and Master Coach Dub Maddox developed the “Rhythm, Read, Rush, Release” system and the innovative offense has been adopted by football programs from coast to coast.
“Going to the NFA camp in Indianapolis helped me get better at the R4 system,” Briden said. “The camp also helped me a lot with not really changing my motion, but understanding what happens when I throw the ball a certain way. Why the ball flew that way and why the ball looked the way it did. And NFA helped me a lot with my motion where I could do drills at home and get better.”
It was a very productive summer leading into Briden’s sophomore season. “I did a lot of work on going through my reads a little bit more,” he said. “In the past, I would force some throws. I’ve been learning a lot more about defensive coverages, learning a lot more about reading the defense and know where my read should go.”
Briden has been playing quarteback since seventh grade. “I really like playing quarterback and I like having the ball in my hands,” he said. “I trust myself with the ball and feel like I can make the decisions and make the plays.”