In a time of need, he swooped in to save the day. He’s no Superman; he’s senior transfer quarterback Gary Jantzer.Since the end of last football season there was speculation of who the next quarterback would be, once it was discovered senior Jake Miles would be unable to participate due to ongoing back problems. Rumors of a transfer began swirling around the school in early June.
One of the first to hear the buzz was senior DJ Herrington. Herrington had been taking snaps at the quarterback position so the talk of a new quarterback intrigued him.
“I was the quarterback the whole summer and I really enjoyed defense and I was getting paranoid I couldn’t do both,” Herrington said.
Herrington was excited to have a new quarterback, but he wanted to make sure Jantzer was the right man for the team. Herrington researched Janzter on Google, looking for highlights, but didn’t stop there. He put Janzter to the test on his very first day of practice late in the summer when the team lifted weights.
“DJ put me through the ringer. I could not move my arms at all,” Jantzer said.
The impact of lift was noticed later that day when the team went down to the field and ran though some drills. It was the first time Janzter took snaps at Pete Sussick Stadium. Senior receiver and defensive back Ben Martin noticed.
“The first day I saw him, his passes scared me, but once he got used to lifting, they got a lot better,” Martin said.
Martin attributes much of the team’s success to having Jantzer on the team.
“I don’t think we would be in the position we are in if we didn’t have Gary on the team,” Martin said.
Martin is more than impressed with Jantzer’s running ability to add to his passing game. This can be mostly attributed to him being a running back in previous years.
“Gary is very mobile and fast. He isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and put someone on their butt if he has to,” Martin said.
Jantzer ran for more than 200 yards in the first win of the season. Martin also thinks he has a shot at beating head coach Josh Line’s passing yard record. Line went from planning on a season without Jantzer to possibly seeing his passing yard record disappear.
“I have heard about a lot of kids coming. Some do come and some don’t, and very rarely are they good players, so I didn’t really think much of it,” Line said.
However, right off the bat Line was very impressed with the performance of the new quarterback.
“I was impressed in the first practice. He is athletic and very quick, he has good speed and a nice arm. He can play,” Line said.
Line said the team was good without Jantzer, but is even better having him make the plays.
“We are great with him just because he brings that dimension. We have so many good receivers and several good backs and our lineman are really good, but without a quarterback none of that really shines as bright as it has,” Line said.
According to Line, Jantzer reminds him a lot of himself when he was a quarterback at Marshfield.
“He is not a real polished quarterback. He reminds me of myself in high school. I did not get coached much on the position and I think it would be accurate to say he hasn’t been coached on the position. What he lacks in skill polishing, he makes up for with pure athleticism. He’s a play maker, he just finds ways to make plays,” Line said.
According to Line, along with being a phenomenal football player, Line said he gets along great with his team and it is not hard to see why.
“He gets instantaneous respect from his teammates because of his work ethic and toughness,” Line said.
Although Jantzer is a standout on the field, Line thinks it is obvious as to why Jantzer is such an athlete.
“I would say his work ethic is amongst the best I have ever seen. He works really hard. That is why he is a two-time state champ in wrestling. You don’t get to that point unless you work very, very hard,” Line said.
Wrestling is where the two-time state champion began connecting with Marshfield athletes this last year while at a Freestyle and Greco wrestling tournament, where he met sophomore wrestlers AJ Lira and Travis Wittlake Jr.
“I knew Gary through wrestling, but he’s always been a little bit older than me and bigger than me so we never really wrestled in tournaments until the first time last year,” Wittlake Jr. said.
Wittlake Jr. said it was a very close match between the two of them, but in the end he was able to come out on top. He also thinks the move will greatly benefit the Pirates this wrestling season.
“It was really good because I didn’t really have a drill partner that was my size and could give me a workout and he didn’t have one at Henley either. It is the perfect mix. We get to make each other better,” Wittlake Jr. said.
Along with it benefiting them individually, Wittlake Jr. said Jantzer will be very beneficial to the team also.
“It should help the team a bunch and we should be in it for the state title. I’m expecting four state champs. I mean, we could have more, but I’m expecting at least four,” Wittlake Jr. said.
Jantzer also has big plans for this school year that he hopes will change the rest of his life.
“I think we will be state champs in football and wrestling, too. I also want to be a three-time state champion, then head off to college for either wrestling or football,” Jantzer said.
According to Jantzer, what sport or who he will compete for does not matter as long as he can get a full scholarship to a college.
Jantzer said he has adjusted very quickly to MHS and has seen one major difference in Marshfield from the previous schools he has attended.
“The biggest difference at this school, compared to the others I’ve been to, is that the kids care more,” Jantzer said. “They aren’t just going through the motions.”