Rensselaer senior quarterback Hunter Hickman had a busy spring, working out with St. Joseph's College offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
LaFleur's brother is Washington Redskins quarterback coach Matt LaFleur. That inside track to the big time helped.
"Being around their quarterbacks and him, that gave me a big boost of confidence," Hickman said. "He really helped me with my footwork and stuff. He was more concerned with my feet that my arm slot.
"Getting comfortable in the pocket was key."
So far. So good.
Hickman is 89 of 178 for 1,501 yards. He's thrown for 19 TDs. He's rushed for 268 yards and two more scores. He is 12-of-14 on extra points.
The Bombers (6-5) will travel to Andrean (9-2) on Friday night for the Class 2A Sectional 25 championship game.
Hickman said he can count on one hand the number of Rensselaer football games he's missed since he was 5. His father, Ken Hickman, used to be the Bombers' athletic trainer. Now, he is the school's athletic director.
"He's been around our program since he was born," Bombers coach Chris Meeks said. "He was our ball boy. I'm dead serious; he's been on our sidelines since he was a baby."
In Indiana a good percentage of QBs are basketball players, shooting jump shots and hanging nets. Hickman is not one of those.
"I hate basketball," he said.
Twice Hickman has advanced to the semistate as a wrestler. As a freshman he did it at 103. And last year at 132.
He said that grappling helped him become a better football player. It made him tougher and stronger. He has friends on Lowell's wrestling team.
He once went to Crown Point just to watch star wrestler Jason Tsirtsis practice.
"It's pushed me to be my best," Hickman said. "I can't remember the last time I took a week off of anything. I push myself. I have to be mentally tough."
Not much can be tougher than playing Andrean on Father Eckert Field.
When the Bombers were working out in the offseason and talking about goals for 2012, one team kept coming up.
"We knew if we wanted to win the sectional, it went through Andrean," Hickman said. "We have to come out and play our best football of the year. I think we've done that the last three weeks.
"If we do that we'll be all right."