Football: Tommy Mister has memorable St. Rita debut
By Mike Clark email@example.com September 2, 2013 10:04PM
St. Rita quarterback Tommy Mister runs the ball against Marist. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 4, 2013 6:20AM
Tommy Mister isn’t new to football, but he had never been in a situation quite like this.
How was it different? Count the ways: first game for a new team, at Soldier Field, kickoff delayed two hours because of bad weather.
“To be honest, I was sick in practice all week,” Mister said Saturday night after his St. Rita debut. “I was throwing up. I kept telling the coaches I had the flu, but I was so nervous.
“I’ve been playing football for 12 years and I’ve never been this nervous for a game. All week, I was just telling myself, ‘Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God, I gotta do something.’”
Mister did plenty in the nightcap of the Soldier Field prep tripleheader, running for four touchdowns and accounting for 401 yards of total offense as the Mustangs held off South Side rival Marist 28-26 in a season opener.
The transfer from Richards isn’t a typical quarterback for St. Rita, which more often leans on a diversified ground game. But the Mustangs coaches aren’t entirely unfamiliar with dual-threat quarterbacks.
“They told me they were going to lean on me a lot to get this game,” said Mister, who ran 31 times for 213 yards and was 9-of-17 passing for 188 yards. “They told me I reminded them of Pete Balsam.”
No wonder. Mister, who is committed to Iowa State, is 6-2 and 210 pounds. Balsam was a 6-3, 210-pounder who ran for 838 yards and passed for 1,235 in leading the Mustangs to the Class 7A title in 2006.
Coach Todd Kuska wasn’t going to make any comparisons after one game, but he does like Mister’s upside.
“As always, the quarterback is the focal point of the offense, and when a guy has the skills he has, he’s going to make everybody around him better. And he did,” the coach said.
“He takes a lot of pressure off the running backs, and I thought he played pretty well in the passing game, too.”
The latter is a point of emphasis for Mister.
“Coach Kuska told me that a lot of people didn’t think I could throw,” he said. “He coached a lot of great quarterbacks coming out of St. Rita. He told me he was going to fix me up and he did that. Right now, I feel like I could play quarterback at the next level.”
This game tape will offer a compelling argument in that direction.
Mister had scoring runs of 1 and 3 yards in the first half as St. Rita opened a 14-13 lead. His second-effort keeper from a yard out made it 21-13 in the final minute of the third quarter.
Marist responded with the second of Peter Andreotti’s two scoring runs and missed the 2-point conversion, leaving the Mustangs up 21-19 early in the fourth. Mister then directed a 15-play, 63-yard scoring drive that lasted 8:27 and featured a pair of fourth-down conversions — D.J. Miles’ nine-yard run on fourth-and-2 from the Rita 42 and Mister’s eight-yard pass to Malik Space on fourth-and-7 from the Marist 30.
Mister’s 19-yard TD run and the PAT kick gave the Mustangs an insurmountable 28-19 lead with 1:22 left.
“I’m in tears right now,” Mister said after Marist scored a late touchdown and he took a knee to end the game. “Everyone doubted us. A lot of people said I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t do that.”
Looks like those people were wrong.