Sophomore QB helps Lamar Vikings to hot start

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Trent Fuller learned a lot about Shane Buechele in Lamar’s season-opening football game against South Grand Prairie.

It was a shootout, and Buechele looked nothing like a first-year starter, matching SGP score for score. He finished with 239 passing yards and three touchdowns, and his coach and Vikings teammates left the field high on their sophomore signal-caller.

“Nothing really rattles him,” Fuller said. “In that very first game, it came down to the wire. If I would’ve said, ‘Pick the sophomore out on the field,’ you wouldn’t have picked him.”

Buechele comes from a distinguished athletic background. His father, Steve, was a fan favorite in the 1980s for the Texas Rangers. Fans regularly voiced their enthusiasm for the elder Buechele with a loud chorus of “Boo.”

But his career ended before Shane was born. “So I never got to see him play,” Buechele said.

The young quarterback has helped Lamar, which faces Martin on Friday at Cravens Field, to a 5-2 start and 3-1 record in District 3-5A play.

The Vikings are averaging more than 35 points per game in district. Buechele, who has 11 touchdown passes and more than 1,173 passing yards, credits his offensive teammates for Lamar’s scoring prowess.

“Our team works really well together,” he said. “It’s great having a team surrounded by good players — our receivers, our O-line, the running backs — just having a good overall offense. Our tempo is really good.”

Cameron Smith, Lamar’s senior running back, has seen Buechele play enough to know the Vikings offense is in good hands.

“I’m comfortable with him throwing the ball,” Smith said. “He’s the best sophomore I’ve ever seen on varsity. We had faith in him at first and then he just jumped from being on his level to our level.”

Buechele, in turn, is impressed with the performance of Smith, whom the quarterback describes as a calming influence on the offense. The senior averages more than five yards per carry and has reached the end zone eight times.

“He’s one of my favorite players in the backfield,” Smith said. “He runs hard and he blocks well, so I like having him back there. He’s kind of a guy to look up to.”

Senior center Francisco Garcia, a third-year starter, raves about the combination of passing prowess and a strong running game that Lamar forces opponents to contend with.

“We have a great group of athletes this year and great coaches,” Garcia said. “The two go hand-in-hand.”

Count Garcia among those who aren’t surprised by Buechele’s early success. He recalls the then-freshman throwing touchdown passes in the spring game and playing with the fire needed to compete on Friday nights.

“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about: everyone doing whatever he can to win the game,” Garcia said.

Fuller could speak at length about the hard work and talent of the Vikings’ skill players. But Lamar’s winning ways start with Garcia and his fellow offensive linemen.

“Just about any coach will tell you the pulse of your team revolves around you offensive line, and I think the world of those guys,” Fuller said.

He thinks highly of his quarterback, too.

Fuller, who was a standout quarterback at Arlington High in the early 1990s, praised Buechele’s intelligence and poise.

“He’s very coachable, and he’s got a lot of the attributes you want in a QB, from being competitive to being level-headed,” Fuller said. “Nothing really rattles him.”

Buechele said he can lean on Fuller’s knowledge of the position. Whatever situation he finds himself in, his coach has faced it before. “It helps having him know what’s going on and telling me how to handle those situations,” Buechele said.

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