Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year – Eric Kline (Blaine)

Posted: November 16, 2010 in 2010 Football Season
Tags: , , , , , , ,

From StarTribune.com

Blaine’s Eric Kline: A double-trouble QB

He led the Bengals to a 10-1 season with 3,088 total yards and 34 touchdowns.

By DAVID La VAQUE, Star Tribune

Judging Blaine quarterback Eric Kline solely on his performance in the Bengals’ 34-0 loss to Wayzata in last Friday’s Class 5A quarterfinal football game is shortsighted. ¶ After all, Kline ended the first possession of his first start last season with an interception, an almost forgotten footnote for the player who became the state’s finest dual-threat quarterback. And while the Wayzata loss provided an unfortunate ending, Kline’s outstanding senior season earned him Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year honors.

“That loss doesn’t change the player Eric has been for us,” Blaine coach Shannon Gerrety said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s a complete winner.”

This fall, Kline provided 3,088 total yards and 34 touchdowns, led the Bengals in rushing and got them into the state tournament with a 10-0 record. Off the field, he took a leadership role by organizing passing drills and becoming a fixture in the weight room.

“I wanted to provide energy and set an example by making the right decisions,” Kline said.

Though soundly beaten by Wayzata — Kline managed just 86 yards of total offense and threw two interceptions — he showed character after the game by giving reporters his best explanations for why a promising season ended with a thud.

“That’s what a man does,” his coach said.

Later in the evening, Kline joined a half-dozen teammates at the home of wide receiver Evan Spurbeck. The group talked into the wee hours, reminiscing about their many football glories from the time they first played together in second grade right up through their senior year.

“We spent a lot of time dreaming about going to state as seniors so it’s weird to think that it has already come and gone,” Kline said. “We really came together, and I’ll never forget the connections we made.”

Gerrety installed the spread offense prior to the 2008 season and under the guidance of James Peterson, another superb dual-threat quarterback, the Bengals reached the state championship game.

Then a sophomore wide receiver and backup quarterback, Kline later became Peterson’s successor. As a junior, Kline accounted for 2,491 total yards and 30 touchdowns and led Blaine to a 8-2 season that ended in the section championship game.

Returning to state this season required Kline’s gutsiest performance. A separated left (non-throwing) shoulder forced him to miss the first two days of practice and limited his snaps the next two days.

Playing through pain, Kline posted 318 total yards, including 24 carries for 183 yards and four touchdowns as the Bengals defeated Andover 40-14 in the section final.

“He never went out of bounds,” Gerrety said. “He would cut back on runs and look for more yards.”

Kline said his shoulder in no way affected Blaine’s loss to Wayzata. He gave the Trojans’ defense credit for overwhelming team speed.

With the football season over, Kline is looking forward to running track. He is on the fence about playing basketball. Also uncertain are his college plans. Among the 15 schools showing interest are Division I programs North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Playing quarterback is Kline’s preference, but he is flexible.

“I’m not sure what these schools are looking for,” Gerrety said. “But Eric will be somebody’s gold mine.”

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Comments
  1. Jack says:

    This guy puts his team on his back tho.

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