Several quarterbacks around Montana have come with plenty of hype this fall.
Helena’s Kaden Huot is regarded as the state’s top recruit at the position, and already is committed to the University of Montana. Isaiah Claunch, from 2020 Class AA state runner-up Billings West, also is a top-15 recruit.
Hamilton’s Tyson Rostad is off to a solid start, and Sentinel’s Zac Crews returned to the position for his senior year. Then there are the juniors getting noticed – Reed Harris at Great Falls and Pat Duchien Jr. at Florence-Carlton.
But none are off to a better start this season than Polson’s Jarrett Wilson, yet another signal caller in that 2023 class.
“We aren’t big on statistics,” Polson coach Kaden Glinsmann said. “But I don’t want to do him a disservice. Jarrett is just so accurate.”
Maybe it’s the fact that his team, in essence, had a opening-week bye. But three weeks into the high school football season, not one quarterback has done more for his team and still managed to stay more under the radar than Wilson.
The Pirates were awarded a forfeit victory against Butte Central Catholic in the season’s first week. So, Wilson’s first action this season came against Stevensville in Week 2.
All he did in a 52-12 victory to open West Region ‘A” play was tie a pair of all-time state single-game passing records – and throw for the third-most yards ever in a Montana high school game.
Wilson’s statistical line in his 2021 debut: Completed 42 of 56 passes for 565 yards and seven touchdowns.
The 42 completions tied a record first set by Butte’s Dallas Cook against Skyview in 2012. The seven touchdown passes equaled the single-game total of Florence-Carlton’s Zach Newbary against St. Ignatius in 2011, and Butte’s Dylan Cook’s (Dallas’ brother) against Hellgate from 2014.
Part of that success is the Air Raid offense that Glinsmann installed a year ago. The other part is having the quarterback that makes the right reads, the right calls and moves the offense at a pace that’s difficult to neutralize.
“He’s just a super smart kid,” Glinsmann said. “We go so fast, and Jarrett calls his own plays.”
Glinsmann primarily turned the offense over to his then-sophomore quarterback midway through last season. They have an arm band for certain situations, but otherwise, cutting out the middle man (the coach sending in a play) further accelerates the offense.
“I love it,” Wilson said. “When we can go and score in just a couple of minutes, it’s exciting.”
Wilson comes by his football knowledge and smarts naturally. His father, Scott, also played quarterback (at Big Sky) – and was the Polson coach for many years. That hasn’t kept Wilson from enjoying his time as a point guard on the Pirates basketball team, too, where he started as a ninth grader and became an instant leader in that sport as well.
“He has that poise,” Glinsmann said. “No moment is too big. You’re not going to get him to shake in his boots.”
Oh, and the 565 yards? Only Billings Central’s Chris Klein has thrown for more, going for 624 yards against Colstrip, and 590 yards against Sidney – both during the 1995 season.
That’s right. It’s been 26 years since anyone has passed for more yards in a Montana high school game than Wilson did two weeks ago.
The numbers are an extension of Wilson’s preparation. This past summer, in fact, he attended the same football camp those other aforementioned quarterbacks were at – hosted by former NFL coach Marty Mornhinweg.
And there, despite still being in a boot recovering from a stress fracture he suffered during last spring’s track season, Wilson garnered a compliment from the former coach.
“I’m pretty good friends with Dane Oliver (of Sentinel),” Glinsmann said. “He knew Jarrett was pretty special. He asked Marty who the best quarterback out there was. Marty’s response, ‘That kid in the boot … he’s, by far, the most accurate.'”
Wilson has gone out and proved it over his first two games of 2021, and has rival Ronan coming to town Friday.
The Pirates’ junior followed up the Stevensville performance by completing 18 of 23 passes for 247 yards and six more touchdowns in a 63-0 whitewashing of East Helena last Friday, a game in which he only played the first half.
Add it all up, and Wilson enters Friday’s rivalry game with 812 yards passing and 13 touchdowns in two games.
The state record for passing yards per game for a single season is 376.8, set by Dallas Cook in 2013 (Wilson is averaging 406.0 ypg). The most touchdowns ever in a season belong to Glacier’s Brady McChesney, who threw 41, also in 2013 (Wilson is on pace for 52 touchdown passes just in the regular season).
All of this should lead to more and more hype for this under-the-radar junior.
“I think I should be up there with the top QBs in the state,” Wilson said.
(Photo courtesy of Jarrett Wilson)