BURNABY — The newspaper headline said it all: Leave It To Seiber.
That was back in early October of 2017, Justin Seiber’s senior year at Kentwood High, located about a half hour’s drive southeast of Seattle.
In a wild and crazy North Puget Sound 4A clash, quarterback Seiber went 35-of-48 for 526 yards and four touchdowns as his Conquerors topped Hazen 52-48.
The performance went down as the fifth highest single-game passing performance across all tiers in the entire history of Washington state high school football.
Now, not even two full years later, you could well say that the Simon Fraser Clan are preparing to open the 2019 Great Northwest Athletic Conference season by uttering the same sentiment.
Now installed as the team’s new starting quarterback, it’s time again to say ‘Leave it to Seiber.’
“There is no doubt that he had a phenomenal spring, and the neat part is that he stayed up here all summer and worked with the guys on campus… that’s something that really shows,” Clan head coach Thomas Ford enthused o on Tuesday of the 6-foot-3, 175 pound Seiber, whose efficiency and poise in the pocket were both clearly on display last season as he clocked valuable minutes as pure freshman understudy to the now-graduated slinger Miles Richardson.
“Right now he is definitely heads-and-shoulders above the rest of the quarterbacks in the group,” Fords continued earlier this week. “But, it’s a talented group. Justin is a super-talented guy and he has the mental capacity to match it, and that is something that helps set him apart at quarterback.”
Seiber, in fact, was able to throw a touchdown pass in his first-ever Clan game last season, a 10-yard pass to receiver Devin O’Hea on the final play of the third quarter in a memorable 54-7 opening-day win over visiting Willamette.
On the season, Seiber went 105-of-185 (57 per cent) for 1,116 yards and a seven touchdowns over eight games, a pretty impressive stat line for a kid straight out of high school on a team which never fully established the run-pass balance.
Now, after breathing a summer of Burnaby Mountain air, Seiber headed into Saturday’s fall camp scrimmage as the leader of the Clan offence.
“It’s awesome being here for the second year and not only knowing coach Ford’s system, but knowing all the guys better,” Seiber said. “That gives us something to and build on what we had last year.”
The Clan quarterback room took a huge step up with the recruitment of freshman Gideone Kremler of Victoria’s Mt. Douglas Secondary Rams.
When asked about Kremler’s presence, Seiber welcomed everything Kremler had brought to the team over the first week-plus of camp.
“He’s a great guy, a little banged up right now,” Seiber said earlier in the week, “but he’s so football smart and has such a positive attitude. He brings the energy of the whole room up. He’s great to have here.”
From his perspective, Seiber can also say that it’s great to have the pieces of what many think will be a cohesive offensive line, as under-rated as it still might be by GNAC standards.
With the squad’s two lone seniors — Stephane Tanguay and Tyler Wood — manning the guard spots, and a pair of incoming freshman in Bailey Elder (Tacoma-Stadium) and Garrett Wallace (Bellevue-Eastside Catholic) opening eyes at tackle, 2019 is setting itself up as a pass-the-torch kind of campaign along the front.
“Coach Ford has brought in some really good freshmen with Bailey Elder (6-6, 310) and Garrett Wallace (6-7, 280),” Seiber begins. “Then we have our returning guys in Steph Tanguay and Tyler Wood. There’s a lot more trust. You feel comfortable in that pocket knowing you’ve got those guys.”
Establishing some semblance of run-pass balance will remain a challenge for the Clan in 2019, yet that passing game, on a moxy alone, has the potential to surprise, never mind that Seiber seems poised to take a big jump in his sophomore season.
The biggest reason for Seiber’s big smile when the topic of his receiver core is mentioned?
“Rysen John will have a huge year,” he says of the Clan’s offensive dynamo, the 6-foot-7 target whose presence, physical stature and overall confidence are at an all-time high heading into his senior season.
“I can’t wait to see the numbers he will put up and almost every single receiver from last year is returning,” Seiber continued. “They all know the play book, all the adjustments we want to make, and I ran a similar offence to this in high school myself.
“Now, I am just looking forward to doing it on Saturdays.”
SFU opens the season out of conference on Sept. 7 when it plays at Portland State.
In the meantime, Leave it to Seiber is a saying that gaining momentum by the day.
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