LUTHER — Seth Stivers had never taken a snap at quarterback and was a little nervous when Luther coach Shawn Meek suggested he make the move there last spring.
Coming off a shoulder injury that left him on the sideline all of last season, Stivers wasn't sure he could handle the position.
So far, so good.
The senior threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Lions to a 26-14 upset of Dibble on Friday. Luther is now 3-1 to start the season after going 2-8 a year ago.
“I feel like I've gotten a lot better, especially with passing because I've done so much better with our reads, plus I get so much time back there with our line.” Stivers said. “I feel like I've gotten a lot better at becoming an actual quarterback.”
The strong start is a good sign for the Lions, who are quickly building momentum.
“Our kids' confidence level is just so much higher than it was last year,” Meek said. “These kids are expecting to win games. But anytime you get a win, no matter how it comes, it's huge for confidence.”
Luther trailed 14-12 in the third before Stivers took over and led the comeback.
But the Lions' defense also stepped up, posting five sacks. Two of those came from defensive end Colton Kuhlman, who also recorded seven tackles.
Stivers said the win was a kind of statement, especially after many people expected the Lions to lose.
“We saw the predicted score,” he said. “We made copies of that and hung them in our lockers, and that was kind of our motivation. We put on them, ‘What are you going to do to change this?'”
Meek said the team started making changes after last season, but the biggest change was moving Stivers to quarterback.
After injuring his shoulder during his sophomore year while playing running back, Stivers chose to sit out last season and heal. Taking the extra time to recover from a torn labrum and torn biceps turned out to be a wise decision.
“He's a leader,” Meek said. “The kids want to play behind him and there's definitely a huge difference as far as having him out on the field with us.
“He's progressing each week and like I said last night was by far the best night he had throwing the ball. He made some big-time plays last night both in the pocket and on the run throwing the football for us.”
And if he continues progressing, District 2A-2 becomes a tougher district than it already is with Millwood and defending champion Oklahoma Christian School.
“To be successful, you've got to have good quarterback play,” Meek said. “Obviously as the quarterback goes, you go. Each week as he progresses, we're going to continue to be a better team.”