Life as starting quarterback of the state champion Truckee High football team was good to Pat Shaffer.
But while his high school career officially came to an end this past Friday — as he and seven other Wolverines competed in the Sertoma Classic all-star game — the recently graduated senior is far from ready to hang up the pads.
Shaffer is taking his talents to Greenville, Penn., to play football at Thiel College, a Division III school in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. Shaffer received a merit scholarship worth $15,000 a year.
“We’re just ecstatic that he’s going to play for us, and we’re looking forward to getting him here on August 11,” said Kurt Reiser, head coach of the Thiel College Tomcats.
Reiser said Shaffer contacted him early in the recruiting process, sending in game film that impressed the coach and his staff. He also made the 2,000-plus-mile trip east to visit the campus, which is located in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, near the Ohio state line just south of Lake Erie.
“We had a chance to see him on video that he sent us, and we really liked what we saw,” Reiser said in a telephone interview. “He makes great decisions, both from in the pocket and when he’s flushed from the pocket, and he’s got good arm strength. We think he’s a very good athlete — he can run with the ball, he can throw the ball — and I think he’s exactly what we’re looking for in a quarterback here at Thiel.”
Shaffer does not lack confidence after a successful senior year in which he helped lead the Wolverines to a third consecutive 3A state championship, and third straight undefeated season. He was voted to the All-State and All-League first team, having completed 116 of his 203 pass attempts for 1,861 yards, with 18 touchdowns.
His father and longtime Truckee coach, Bob Shaffer, said his son researched the Thiel College program well in advance and figured he’d have a shot at playing based on the roster. He also liked that the Tomcats run a similar spread-style offense to that of the Wolverines, his dad said.
“Pat kind of did his homework as far as pulling up rosters and seeing who’s coming back and who they recruited, so he thought he’d be right in the mix there,” coach Shaffer said. “They had a senior last year who graduated, so it’s kind of open right now. The sophomore that’s coming back, now a junior, kind of has the up on him because he knows the offense, although they do some of the things we do, so that should help the transition.”
Reiser confirmed that Shaffer will indeed have an opportunity to vie for playing time right away.
“He will, because of our situation,” Reiser said. “Quarterback was one of the areas we really wanted to try to address during the recruiting process, and getting him has really allowed us to do that. There are a couple guys on the roster currently, one of them is a junior and the other a sophomore, but he’s going to get a chance to compete with those guys, as well as a couple of other freshmen we have coming in.
“We feel very strongly about him. We feel like he’s going to be able to come here after what he’s done in high school, with that winning background, and do some very good things.”