Quaker Valley grad Conlan excelling under center with Hobart

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Quaker Valley graduate Patrick Conlan is off to an impressive start in his first year as a starting quarterback for the football team at Hobart College in New York.

In five games, Conlan, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior, completed 40 of 75 passes for 574 yards and six touchdowns. He rushed 10 times for 60 yards, including once for 53 yards, and two touchdowns.

Undefeated, the Statesmen led the Division III Liberty League heading into Saturday's game against Rensselaer. Last week, they ranked fifth in the AFCA poll and sixth in the D3football.com poll, the highest they've ranked in either poll.

“Patrick has developed into a great leader,” head coach Mike Cragg said. “He's terrific in play action and reading defenses.

“We went slow with him at first, but he's broken it open much more.”

Conlan, 20, agreed he is hitting his stride.

“I'm much more comfortable,” Conlan said. “The nerves are starting to die down.”

Conlan's passing percentage has improved. In his most recent outing, he completed 62.5 of his throws against Springfield on Oct. 12.

He has been intercepted only twice.

He threw at least one touchdown in four games, including a school-record 89 yards in a 41-7 win over Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Oct. 5.

“It was a big play,” Cragg said. “Patrick burned the free safety off a flea flicker.”

“That definitely was a career highlight,” Conlan said.

Conlan completed 6 of 8 passes for 72 yards in six games, including two NCAA playoff contests, as a backup last year. In a postseason game against Wittenberg, he threw one pass for a season-high 30 yards.

He played in four games as a freshman in 2011.

He ranks in the top five among all-time school leaders in pass efficiency (137.4), pass completion percentage (55.4), total offense per play (7.14) and average yards per pass (7.8). In single-season rankings, he is third in total offense per play with a mark of 7.46 this year.

Conlan, whose father, Shane, was a standout linebacker at Penn State and for the Buffalo Bills, said he has become much better in reading defenses.

“There's more of a mental aspect to college football than high school football, especially for a quarterback,” Conlan said. “I'm really impressed when a quarterback starts right away in Division I.

“It's really tough to grasp everything.”

Conlan, a Liberty League All-Academic selection last year, is considering a career in finance.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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