Senior captain Rian Schwede has done anything asked of him, and is flourshing in that role.
The general consensus about Whitman-Hanson Regional High senior Rian Schwede is simply stated: He’s as unselfish a player as you can ask for.
His talent blends quite well with his unselfish manner, too, and it hasn’t been more evident than over the last two weeks.
Due to an unforeseen change at quarterback early in the season, the Panthers needed a boost under center, and Schwede, who was on the receiving end of 19 passes for 300 yards and two TDs last season, stepped right in and is now sharing snaps with junior John Zeidan.
Quarterback isn’t completely foreign to Schwede, as he played it throughout youth football, but it’s never easy to accept a position change, albeit a partial one.
“I always love my receiver spot, but it was like second nature when coach told me [to play quarterback],” Schwede said.
But Schwede, who stands at 6-foot-3, isn’t just playing quarterback. He has also been been split out wide and lined up in the backfield, along with starting in the defensive backfield and on special teams and flourishing while doing so.
Over the past two weeks, Schwede’s posted five touchdowns and a two-point conversion rush, while recording an interception.
On some occasions — as in two games ago against Quincy — Schwede will see action at receiver, running back, quarterback, defensive back and placeholder all within the span of a quarter.
Senior kicker Jake O’Brien’s said Schwede’s unselfish attitude is nothing new.
“Since youth football, Rian has played a ton of different positions,” O’Brien said. “He will do anything to help the team be more successful. Rian definitely embodies the unselfish attitude that every football player should strive to have.”
Against the Presidents — a 39-0 shutout victory — Schwede found himself on the receiving end of a 30-yard TD from Zeidan, tossed an 11-yard score to classmate Jacob Nixon and rushed for a 2-yard TD.
The offensive outburst came after the Panthers were held to two touchdowns or less their previous three games.
“Rian has always been one of the leaders, that’s why he’s one of our captains,” W-H football head coach Mike Driscoll said. “He’s doing what Rian does. He’ll do whatever we ask him to do.”
Against Silver Lake last week — a 29-6 victory on senior night – Schwede fired a 57-yard TD to Nixon on a fleaflicker to open the scoring just 16 seconds in. Then, in a 2:06-span in the fourth quarter, he converted a key two-point conversion run to put the Panthers up by two-plus scores, came down with an interception and tossed a 76-yard TD to classmate Ryan Downing.
“Rian’s stepped into that role and he’s flourishing in it,” Driscoll said. “We know he’s got a cannon, and Rian’s done a great job for us.”
Schwede said the biggest adjustment has been studying all of the pages of the Panthers playbook rather than a few.
“The practices, they’ve just been kind of getting to know the whole entire offense, all the runs,” he said. “I was pretty down with all the pass routes and plays, but a majority of the runs I’ve started to learn.”
It’s on to Plymouth North (4-2, 2-2) for Schwede and the Panthers for a key, in terms of potentially hosting a playoff game, Patriot League Keenan Division battle.
“We got to have a real good week of practice and preparation and that’ll be it,” Schwede said.