Two weeks ago in Pleasant Valley's blowout victory over Dieruff, quarterback Brandon Leap got to attempt just one pass before being pulled midway through the second quarter.
Last Friday night against Pocono Mountain West, he made up for that lost time in a major way.
The junior signal-caller went off in the first half versus the Panthers, tossing four touchdowns in the span of six drives to give his Bears a lead they would never relinquish. Leap finished the night by completing 11-of-19 passes for 225 yards and the four scores. His great numbers, along with helping Pleasant Valley win its second consecutive game, have earned him the TIMES NEWS Football Player of the Week honors for week three.
"All the credit has to go to my offensive line," said Leap. "They open up the holes for Austyn (Borre) to run and then that makes it easier on me. It also helps to have the receivers that I have. Those guys are great playmakers and they make me look good.
"I told coach before the game that I wanted to throw more than last week and get our playmakers involved. We were able to do that and come away with the win at the same time."
While Leap is more than capable of making all of the throws that head coach Jim Terwilliger expects him to make, he was the beneficiary of some great plays made by his wide receivers. Receiver Andrew Romeo, along with Borre, each made great runs after the catch to help their quarterback out. Borre took an early swing pass to the left and out-ran everyone on his way to a 52-yard touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Romeo took a short drop off from Leap, let his blocking set up, and split two defenders en route to a 46-yard score. Romeo also made two other phenomenal catches on jump balls, pulling down a 24-yarder midway through the second prior to hauling in another 16-yard touchdown seconds before halftime.
"I feel like I have three of the greatest receivers in recent Pleasant Valley history," Leap said. "They are playmakers who can make things happen on any given play. I also can't forget about tight end Dakota Everett or my other receiver Tony Bell. We haven't really gotten the ball to those guys yet, but they are always ready to come in and get the job done."
Leap has had to battle through a lot over the last 12 months as his career has gotten off to an up-and-down start. Anointed the starting quarterback before last season, Leap broke his hand in Pleasant Valley's final scrimmage and was forced to sit out the team's first five games. Once he did get back on the field in the second half against West, he fared pretty well. He went on to finish the 2011 campaign with 663 yards and seven touchdowns in four-and-a-half games.
This year, with the exception of the game with Dieruff, Leap's performances have been solid. He threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Nazareth before putting on another show last weekend. Terwilliger believes his quarterback's evolution has really taken shape since the end of last season.
"Brandon has always been a great thrower," said Terwilliger. "He can make all the throws. His improvements have come as a passer. He has learned when to check it down and how to move the football down the field by making the right decisions.
"His knowledge of the game has improved as well and I think that stems from his great off-season. Over that time he has become a leader and has done it more through his actions than his words."
Terwilliger's quarterback credentials speak for themselves and his tutelage will only make Leap better. Leap knows that no matter what, whether he is getting praised for a great touchdown throw or chewed out for a bad interception, his coach's words are only meant to help.
"He is always hard on me, but I know its because he just wants me to play to the best of my capabilities," said Leap. "He wants me to be a hard-nosed quarterback. Not many quarterbacks are looked at as the tough guys so he wants me to play fast and hard.
"If you mess up or make a mistake he is definitely going to be on you, but that's what we need. He always keeps me fired up. He never lets me get too low or too high. If I have my head down he picks me up. If I have to be taken down a peg he'll do that too. He's a great coach."
Leap and Terwilliger, along with the rest of the Bears, will continue to work together as they strive to bring home the Mountain Valley Conference championship.