Columbia City quarterback Greg Bolt is used to playing with the big boys. As the youngest of four brothers, all of whom went through the Eagles’ football program, his whole life has been keeping pace with the older kids.
Now, the sophomore starting quarterback is doing more than keeping up. He’s led Columbia City to its first 4-0 start since 1991. The Eagles are trying to become the first Columbia City team to go 5-0 since 1969.
“I just try my best to be a leader, but I don’t want to be talking too much because I am younger and don’t know as much or have as much experience,” Bolt said.
His oldest brother, Trevor, was a senior quarterback when head coach Brett Fox was in his first year.
“It’s always good when you can say to a kid that’s a sophomore in that position, ‘go ask your brother,’” Fox said.
Bolt said it was Trevor who got him interested in playing quarterback initially and still gives him advice.
“He was always out there throwing the ball with me, and that’s helped me a lot,” Bolt said. “He has taught me some things.”
Through the first four games, Bolt has completed 60 of 111 passes for 887 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fox said that’s a result of Bolt always pushing to keep up with, and be better, than others.
“It’s being that little brother and having that syndrome of ‘I’ve got to beat my brothers in these things,’ and I think that’s a good thing to have for him,” Fox said.
Bolt, who played varsity halfway through his freshman season, credits his veteran receiving corps for his early success.
“It’s amazing because they have experience out on the field on Friday nights, and they know what to expect and can help me learn and become a better player,” Bolt said.
Bolt’s go-to is senior receiver Michael Sievers, who’s has seven touchdowns on 19 receptions for 397 yards. Sievers sees what his young quarterback is capable of and has nothing but confidence in him.
“In the past years we haven’t had a quarterback that’s been steady, so it feels nice to have a steady quarterback back there,” Sievers said.
When teams key in on Sievers, receivers such as Keiran Gilles and TJ Bedwell, paired with Max Bedwell, who leads the team in rushing but can catch, too, have stepped up. Bolt has thrown touchdown passes to six different players.
“It makes it kind of easy to continue to throw the ball and trust that those guys are going to be there,” Fox said.
The Eagles have a history of starting seasons hot and cooling off toward the end. With the NE8 more competitive than it’s been in years, Fox and company say they aren’t going to let that happen. And they face a talented and angry DeKalb (3-1) team tonight.
“We should be angry about what happened at DeKalb last year, and we should play that way and have a little chip on our shoulder for how that game ended,” Fox said.
Fox, in his sixth year at the helm, is referring to the heartbreaking 28-21 loss in which the Eagles executed a near-perfect two-minute drill that halted on the DeKalb 1-yard line after officials ruled that a 4th-and-6 Bolt pass to Sievers picked up only five yards, giving the Barons the ball with eight seconds left.
“With the way we lost last year, we’re extremely hungry just to go out there and play our hardest and see what we can do,” Sievers said.
(All games 7 p.m. unless indicated)
Bluffton at Jay County
Carroll at Bishop Dwenger
Central Noble at Fremont
Churubusco at Prairie Heights
DeKalb at Columbia City
Concordia at Northrop
Bishop Luers at North Side
Snider at Homestead
South Side at Wayne
Garrett at Eastside
Heritage at Adams Central
Huntington North at Bellmont
Lakeland at Angola
Leo at East Noble
North Miami at Whitko
Northridge at Warsaw
Norwell at New Haven
South Adams at Monroe Central, 7:30 p.m.
Wawasee at NorthWood
West Noble at Fairfield
Woodlan at Southern Wells