By his own admission, Miles Foerster had a late start when it came to learning the quarterback position.
The Amherst native has been playing football since the third grade, but didn't take the role as a signal-caller until his freshman year of high school.
But whatever ground Foerster is making up on the field, he has one aspect pretty well taken care of, and that's being in control of the huddle for a St. Thomas More School program in Oakdale, Conn.
As a junior, Foerster won a school-wide leadership award that was bestowed upon him by the board of directors, a high honor for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound captain.
"It was an amazing experience, because back at my old school (Amherst-Pelham Regional) I didn't win a lot of awards," Foerster said. "But since I (came to St. Thomas More), I started pushing myself in the classroom and on the field, and, personally, just being a good person and everything like that. It was amazing getting the award. It was great to be recognized in front of all my classmates and everything like that. I don't think I can get that same award next year, but I want to definitely want try to be better next year just as a person."
His work on the gridiron is starting to come along, too, but it was a slow road. He played one game at quarterback at the end of his freshman year at Amherst. It sparked some motivation in him.
"The year between, I took it more seriously, started training with a quarterback coach and everything," Foerster said. "I started my sophomore year on varsity as quarterback, but then got pulled back down because of a lack of experience. Then, junior year, I started and finished out the entire year and then went to St. Thomas More after that."
He reclassified, then started for the Chancellors in 2017 under then-first-year coach Jeff Moore. In 2016, they finished 1-6 out of the Class B division, but Moore started recruiting more heavily for his first season and the team improved to 5-3.
That mirrored Foerster's growth as a player.
"That was definitely a big thing (in my decision to come to St. Thomas More)," said Foerster, who threw for roughly 270 yards per game last fall. "I kind of wanted to test myself and kind of revive the program back to life. They had a one-win season. So it was exciting to play the top teams. We didn't always win against all of them, but this year we're going to be a lot better."
They better be. With a move up to the Class A level, the competition will be a lot more fierce, as those programs all feature post-graduates and national rosters. In addition to the NEPSAC competition, the Chancellors will play St. Frances Academy out of Baltimore, a nationally-ranked squad that was so dominant last year that many teams on their schedule refused to play them in 2018.
A lot of the Chancellors' success will ride on how well Foerster is able to handle the greater responsibilities Moore puts in front of him.
"So last year, it was just not as much, but this year he's putting more of that in and we're going to do a lot more checks because I have a stronger feel for the offense," Foerster said. "It's not completely new. It's going to be a new offense, but there's going to be some similar stuff that's going to be repeated this year, which is good, because now I can get a feel for what the right checks are, and then also to look at the defenses and (make reads). . . . He's going to put a lot more trust in me this year. But last year definitely was a learning experience for me. . . . In the offseason, even during that last season, he taught me a lot about the position. . . . It was amazing. It really was."
Foerster already has the attention of local colleges, but admits the recruiting process can be taxing.
"It's been difficult," he said. "I have offers from Bryant University, Saint Anselm and Central Connecticut State University. But it's been an interesting recruiting process for me. It's not the fastest for me. I'm mostly a guy that hasn't had a lot of years to improve himself as a quarterback. . . . So it's been a learning process. It's been more difficult than you think it is because you play with some of the top athletes and have to pick up the offense. It's been a learning process, but I love it. It's a great experience."
As for what he's looking for in a school, Foerster is just looking for the right fit.
"Pretty much, I definitely want a place where I can challenge myself," he said. "I definitely want a place where I have to work for my spot. I always want to work hard, because the challenge is a big part of football for me, playing the game and being able to compete for my spot. I love it. It's going to be also a place that feels like home to me. I want to like the campus, the school itself and I want to have that same experience with the coaches and the players."
Until then, that schedule will be taking up his full attention. In addition to St. Frances, one game to keep an eye out for is when the Chancellors take on Choate Rosemary Hall, which has won 39 straight games, currently the ninth-best run in the nation.
"Pretty much to win, (the goal is) to win every game. That's the goal," he said. "That's everyone's mindset on that. Choate, our second game, is definitely a team we definitely want to beat because that's their first game, so we want to end their streak. We've got a lot of goals. I think one is to compete as hard as possible, try to win every single game. That's what I've understood so far."