Healthy Jacob Snow ready to help cardinals in multiple positions – News-Herald

Jacob Snow knows what it’s like when football isn’t part of his life.

As a senior on the Mentor football team, Snow missed much of his junior campaign after seriously injuring his right thumb in a preseason game against St Edward. While he came back towards the end of the season, he still got a taste of what it was like to be away from the game he loves.

With that in mind, at Cardinals fall camp, Snow is doing everything he can to make sure he’ll be on the field — no matter what position that might be.

During three days of camp, Snow played quarterback, receiver, and safety for the Cardinals. With the season opener against Canton McKinley just a few weeks away – August 19 to be precise – Snow isn’t quite sure what position he’ll play in.

But the keywords are that he will play. Having missed a lot of time last year, it’s an opportunity he doesn’t take for granted.

“It was the first time I was injured and it really valued me after football was taken away from me for so long,” Snow said. “Injuries can happen. This year could be my last year of football forever so I’m not taking it for granted. I’ll be locked in all the time with a smile on my face because I’m playing out there.”

Mentor is in a unique position this fall camp because there are two capable quarterbacks, both Snow — last year’s returning starter — and sophomore Scotty Fox, who took over when Snow was injured last season.

Fox has impressed all summer, even earning an early Division I college football offer from Bowling Green.

Coach Matt Gray said his goal is to get “the best 11 players on the field” Friday night. But he also said, “This is absolutely a quarterback contest,” and that as of Aug. 3, no decision had been made as to who will be starting quarterback against McKinley.

But that aside, while Fox has no other position to play, Snow is a Swiss Army knife-type player, having played quarterback, receiver and safety this fall camp.

“Jacob is a very, very dynamic athlete that we could use pretty much anywhere except on the two lines (offensive and defensive) and he would be an impactful player for us,” Gray said. “It’s a testament to the type of person and player he is.”

Snow is enjoying the multitude of hats – and leotards – he’s sporting this fall. He has red “defense” jerseys in the morning sessions and then switched to the white “offensive” jerseys for the afternoon sessions.

“I’ll have fun with it,” Snow said. “It’s like going back to when I was 7 and playing backyard football.

“The last time I played defense was a linebacker when I was an eighth grader at the Shore. Aside from a game against St. Ignatius last year when I broke up, I probably haven’t played receiver since I was on recess in fifth grade. It will be fun.”

Snow thought back to the injury that stole most of his junior year. His year in 11th grade would be his banner coming out party as a mentor cardinal. He started Mentor’s Division I state semifinals last year when incumbent Ian Kipp was unable to play and headed into last year with plenty of steam (and momentum).

Then came the second quarter of the St. Edward game.

“I threw a flat route at Mikey Norwood,” Snow said. “I was pushed by a D-lineman and my thumb snapped as I landed. When I stood up and clapped like, ‘Let’s go!’ I felt the bone snap into my wrist. I knew it wasn’t good.”

He never returned in the second half.

He returned later in the season against Medina but admitted: “I can’t do it again but I think I came back a little early.”

Gray said he challenged Snow and Fox last winter to prepare for a quarterback derby. The Cardinals head coach praised both players for how they pushed each other, worked and improved during the offseason.

Gray reiterated, “We’re a long way from making a decision on who will be our starting quarterback on August 19,” but said he was impressed with both players.

“Jake’s development as a leader and as a young man has been amazing,” Gray said. “The normal mindset in a competition is to throw in the towel. Jake did the opposite. He has increased his level of play and also developed into a great leader.”

That football being taken away last year due to injury causes that.

“Wherever they put me, I’ll do my best to help this team win,” Snow said. “I love playing the different positions. It feels like backyard soccer again. I really enjoy that.”

Certainly more fun than standing on the sidelines with a cast on your hand.

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