Derek Elsholz is the new varsity quarterback for Notre Dame Prep after taking over from last year’s starter, Jake Farrell.
He is not only a good quarterback but also a leader, a positive influence and teammate, and a senior AP and honors student. He leads his team everyday by studying plays and defenses in his free time. He has a huge passion for the sport and plans to play past high school.
He has not always been a quarterback; last year, he was a weak side defensive end. Through the first five games, he has thrown for 758 yards, ten touchdown passes, and has thrown for an average of 126 yards per game. He is 50 for 79 in terms of completions for the first six games and has only thrown two interceptions. Elsholz had a great rushing game against Sunnyslope, where he rushed for 65 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a big passing game against Desert Mountain where he threw for 180 yards with three touchdown passes as well.
When talking about why he started playing football, Elsholz said, “My dad put me into the game when I was 6.” He was a running back and safety when he was younger and made his way to quarterback when he got to high school. He decided to move to quarterback for a few different reasons, including taking on a leadership role and having control of the offense.
Elsholz mentioned that “Being the varsity QB at NDP is no different from being a regular student at the school except for having the personal connections with certain coaches and players.” He also explained how he does not have as much free time as some other players because he is so busy studying the plays and reading defences.
His center, senior Carter Adams, said that Elsholz “makes it very easy for the rest of the offense to be successful because he recognizes all of the plays so well and can adapt to defenses being run against him.” He also needs to know what every other player is doing while still learning his own position.
Adams also said that “Derek is a great leader for this team and keeps everyone in check, including himself. He is always the first one at practice and the last one to leave.”
Elsholz’s “main motivation for playing football is to be a part of something bigger than myself and has a lasting impact not only on our community but the future of Notre Dame culture as well. My motivation has definitely changed over the years, because I used to play for myself and for my family, but now I mostly play for my teammates, my coaches, and NDP.”
He also has long term goals for himself. Elsholz has many individual goals of “getting accepted into college, playing sports at the collegiate level, and to be the best I can be academically, athletically, and spiritually. The major goal for our team this year is to win state. We have come so close to bringing home the title the past couple years, and for the seniors, this is our last chance to finish the goal we set to accomplish three years ago.”
He is not doing all of this for himself though; he is doing it for the school and community. He mentioned that “This is not only for our school and community but serves as validation of all of our hard work on the field and in the off-season. We want to be remembered as the team that finally brings the ‘champion’ name back to the school.”
Elsholz and the rest of the varsity team are looking to make it back to the championship game and bring the trophy back to NDP, the first since 2008.