Football: Governors’ quarterback puts team first
By Tommy Williams Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2012 11:14PM
Morton Goveror's Jimmy Glidewell drops back to pass against the Griffith Panthers during their game held at Morton High School in Hammond on Friday August 17, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2012 11:26PM
HAMMOND — There are many ways to define a team player. The trait is valuable to any team hoping to win a state championship. Without question, a team player is a leader of men, an individual a coach can count on, on the field and off.
And a team player must be selfless, willing to sacrifice his numbers for the good of the team.
So when you have a quarterback who is more than willing to give up putting up fantasy numbers because his coach decided to change the way his team plays offense, and you don’t hear a peep out of him, you know you have someone special.
But it is something not-so-special, at least to any self-respecting quarterback, that truly defines Morton signal caller Jimmy Glidewell.
Go back to Aug. 17, when the Governors, fresh off another high-scoring sectional championship season, kicked off this season against Griffith.
Glidewell had one of his best days as a quarterback, with more than 300 yards passing.
One problem, though. The Panthers scored the most points they would score in a game this season, beating Morton 42-35.
“He was great in that game,” Morton coach Roy Richards said of Glidewell. “He was on fire and did a fantastic job, but we lost. We talked about how it’s nice to get a personal best and put up big stats but the bottom line is, you have to win.”
Despite Glidewell putting up good numbers, the Governors weren’t making their normal visits to the win column, starting the year 2-4. A change had to be made, a change that would challenge the ego of the average quarterback. But not the ego of the Governors senior.
“It’s a team game,” Glidewell said. “It felt good to throw the ball a lot but we were losing. And after the Hobart game, we decided ‘forget it, we’re running the ball.’ ”
The Oct. 5 game against the Brickies was Morton’s third loss in four games. It was also the Governors’ last loss. They’ve won four in a row, averaging 45 points per game in the four victories, including a 34-0 win over Highland last week to clinch a fourth straight sectional title.
“We were a 10-win-a-season team until this year. We were 10-1 last season,” said Glidewell, whose older brother was a quarterback on two of those teams.
“It was really different, something I wasn’t used to. We had to fight through the hard times.”
And for a quarterback, times don’t get any harder than when a coach tells you to throw less and you win more because of it.
Morton, led by a top notch offensive line and two 1,000-yard rushers, has a chance to win its second regional in three years when the Governors face Mishawaka on Friday night.
But Glidewell is proof that a quarterback can make things happen without having to ice his arm after the game.
“He doesn’t let me call a play that’s going to go into a bad front,” Richards said. “Him and I have spent so much time together, so he knows what I’m looking for and what play I want to call when I get a specific look. He may not be the guy throwing it, but he’s the guy engineering the play call.
“He makes sure we are running the right play for that kind of defense.”
Not to say that Glidewell can’t make things happen with the football. He called his own number on a first-quarter keeper that led to the first score in the sectional title game against Highland.
But reading defenses has been an underrated, but most important, contribution from Glidewell in the Governors’ comeback season. Even when he’s not on the field at the time.
“Sometimes when we put (fellow quarterback) Torey (Armstrong)in, Jimmy will be standing next to me thinking about what the next play should be. He has learned a lot from (graduated quarterback)Chris McCormack and he’s teaching Torey a lot.”
And schooling the opposition, too. Richards says Glidewell’s best games this season were against Gavit and East Chicago.
“He directed the traffic and got us in the right plays in both games,” Richards said.
The Governors scored 94 points in those games, including the playoff win over the Cardinals that featured a 407-yard rushing night.
“You have to look to see how many guys the defense has in the box or look for where the safeties are for pass plays,” said Glidewell, who reads more than just defenses with a 3.0 grade point average.
The next defense for Glidewell to dissect belongs to Mishawaka (9-3), a worthy opponent but one whose defense has given up 62 points in its last two sectional victories.
“I expect them to be very physical and disciplined on offense and defense, but if we don’t make mental mistakes or turnovers, I expect a good outcome,” Glidewell said.
After a tough start, good outcomes have become the norm again at 169th Street and Grand Avenue, in no small part because of a quarterback who is just as happy to read defenses than throw over them. And there’s no reading too much into this one: that is what a team player is all about.
“He’s awfully sharp and he has the type of personality that he’s not going to fail,” Richards said. “You find yourself rooting for him because he’s such a good guy.
“I’d say 10 years from now, a guy like me will be working for a guy like him.”