Football: Wetterau leads Shawnee vs. Camden Catholic

Senior quarterback Colin Wetterau leads Shawnee’s football team.

Colin Wetterau is a baseball guy who still misses wrestling.

But as a senior at Shawnee High School, Wetterau is flourishing on the football field.

“It’s just experience, trusting the guys in front of me and feeling super comfortable,” Wetterau said of his superb play at quarterback in the Renegades’ first four games.

Wetterau will lead Shawnee (3-1) against visiting Camden Catholic (4-0) Friday in a West Jersey Football League crossover  clash of Top 10 teams.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Wetterau has emerged as one of South Jersey’s most prolific passers, which is a bit of a surprise even to him.

For one thing, Shawnee long has been a team that, while balanced on offense, has leaned heavily on the running game. And for another, Wetterau is an NCAA Division I college recruit for baseball as a catcher who wasn’t even the Renegades’ full-time starting quarterback until the second half of his junior season.

But look at him and the Renegades now: He has completed 52 of 76 passes for 889 yards and nine touchdowns as Shawnee has averaged 34.2 points.

In four games, the Renegades have produced 889 passing yards (222.3 average) and 545 rushing yards (136.3 average).

And Wetterau is coming off the best game of his career. He was 13-for-15 passing for 261 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Kingsway last Friday.

“I think we ran the ball something like six times” in the first half, Wetterau said. “We had our top two running backs  out with injuries and the passing game was working, and Coach [Tim] Gushue was saying, ‘Hey, it’s working and I’m going to stick with it.'”

Wetterau credits his offensive linemen and receivers for his success.

Shawnee’s front line of seniors Tom Kane, Aiden Cohen and Eric Dackis and juniors Beau Lanzidelle and J.C. Dobis has given him plenty of time and room to operate.

And senior playmakers such as Daevon Robinson, a North Carolina State recruit, along with Jake Schillinger, Ethan Reiger,
and Jeremy Fisher have literally grabbed Wetterau’s passes and run with them.

“Everybody knows Daevon, No. 7,” Wetterau said. “But all those guys are good. They are all fast, they all make plays.”

Gushue regards Shawnee’s receiving corps as one of the best in the coach’s 35 seasons.

Of Wetterau’s improvement, Gushue said: “It’s confidence. He has a great feel for what we want to do and he trusts the guys
in front of him and the guys he’s throwing the ball to.”

Wetterau is a top baseball player who has committed to attend St. John’s University. Shawnee baseball coach Brian Anderson
has called Wettereau, a first-team all-South Jersey selection as a junior, the best defensive catcher in the recent history
of the program.

Wetterau said his status as a scholarship baseball player works in his favor on the football field.

“I think it takes some pressure off,” Wetterau said. “I don’t have to worry about trying to impress college coaches, or get
involved in the recruiting process. I can just relax and play.”

Wetterau also was a top youth wrestler who gave up the sport when he entered high school.

“I still miss wrestling,” Wetterau said. “I come from a wrestling family.”

Wetterau has been a strong football player for Shawnee in the course of his career. Also a top defensive back, he emerged as the Renegades’ full-time quarterback toward in the second half of the 2016 season, and “played very well against [eventual champion] Timber Creek,” in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals last season, according to Gushue.

But this season has been a bit of a revelation, as the star baseball catcher and former youth wrestling standout has developed into a remarkably productive passer for a program known more for its running game.

“I know this is my last year playing football,” Wettereau said. “I’ve played with a lot of these guys since we were five years old.

“It makes it special, knowing this is the last time we’ll be playing together. We want to make the most of it.”

Game at a glance

Camden Catholic (4-0) at Shawnee (3-1), Friday at 7 p.m.

Rankings: Camden Catholic is No. 3 in the Inquirer Top 25 while Shawnee is No. 10.

Last year: Camden Catholic beat Shawnee, 28-7.

The streak: Camden Catholic has won 26 in a row against South Jersey teams, dating to a 27-14 loss to Camden on Oct. 10, 2014.

Camden Catholic players to watch: Senior all-purpose Marcus Hillman (706 rushing yards, 8 rushign TDs, 9.5 sacks); junior quarterback Rob McCoy (35-for-69, 528 yards, 5 TDs); sophomore linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave (39 tackles).

Key matchup: This is a clash of high-powered offenses, with Camden Catholic averaging 41.2 points and Shawnee, 34.2. Both operate no-huddle spread attacks. The difference might be determined by which defense can generate the most pass-rush pressure and limit big plays through sound positioning and sure tackling.

Pick: Camden Catholic, 24-21.