Hillsdale High School head football coach Mike Parodi and his starting quarterback, senior Cole Carrithers, have come a long way.
A really long way actually.
“We joke about it now,” Parodi said. “We were probably the only head coach and quarterback who were high-fiving after an interception last season.”
And while that might not be funny to many other football minds, such has been the maturation of the now senior signal-caller. When Carrithers took over the role last season, it wasn’t a mystery that he needed a little seasoning — and thus, there was no better way for the quarterback to grow than to be thrown right into the fire.
“I think he needed the experience,” Parodi said. “He needed to get used to that speed and that level of competition — and just, the constant repetition, me in his ear, watching film.”
The year was rough at times, despite Carrithers’ All-League performance. “There was definitely some getting used to his first varsity season,” Parodi said. “It took him a while to get used to the speed and understanding what we were trying to do offensively. He learned the hard way sometimes about making mistakes. After an interception, I made him tell me what he saw and why he saw it. And then we talked about what was wrong. We high-fived and said ‘let’s not do that ever again.’”
Fast-forward an off-season and Carrithers seems more willing to high-five his coach after a touchdown instead of an interception in 2013.
With Week 1 in the books, Carrithers fueled the Knights’ offense in a 31-28 upset win over the PAL Ocean’s Half Moon Bay. Carrithers threw for 196 yards and three touchdowns while completing nearly 61 percent of his passes and hooking up with three different receivers in those TDs.
For his efforts, Carrithers is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“It was a great win for us for so many reasons,” Parodi said. “Just, to start the year 1-0, to go over the hill to Half Moon Bay to a perennially outstanding program and get a win in Half Moon Bay was awesome. It was a great feeling for our kids for sure.”
And probably an even better one for Carrithers considering his trek as the Hillsdale starter. While his physical tools have never been in question, what’s stood out so far after an off-season and one game, are Carrithers’ intangibles.
“His poise, his ability to take what they (Half Moon Bay) were giving us,” Parodi said. “And, he’s worked hard this last off season. His understanding of the offense is really high right now. I knew that this was going to happen with him at some point. And I’m glad that it happened when it did. He was even coming over and making suggestions based on what he saw and we’re in a good place when he starts doing some of that stuff. It’s cool to see the growth and the maturity. He definitely played one of his better games as a varsity player.”
It’s that growth and maturity Parodi hopes will help Carrithers guide the Knights to the top of the Lake Division in the Peninsula Athletic League.
“We talk about how we have to be as consistent as possible,” Parodi said. “From Week 1 to Week 10. And if we do what we want to do, the good stuff happens at the end.”