Max Rose understands his name was unrecognizable to many outside of Skyview’s football program at the start of the high school season in football’s most recognizable position.
He also forgives those who, even after seven games played, 13 touchdowns thrown and 1,421 yards passing as the Storm’s first-year starting quarterback, still might not know the name Max Rose.
“I think that’s awesome,” he said. “I like it.”
You see, you won’t find the Storm’s senior, a student with a 4.0 grade-point average who will graduate in the top 5 percent of Skyview’s senior class, touting his own worth. Not at camps or combines because he doesn’t attend them. Not on social media, because you won’t find any posts. Or, you will, but they’ll be re-tweets of his teammates’ game-film highlights or college offer announcements to put the focus and spotlight on them.
Humble over hype.
“He’s the first guy to congratulate you,” said fellow senior Griffin Sissel, who also plays baseball with Rose for the Storm.
That’s Rose, enjoying a ride that feels like a Super Bowl every Friday night all season as a first-year varsity quarterback with no post-high school football plans.
And Friday’s 8 p.m. showdown at Kiggins Bowl against Union (6-1 overall, 2-0 4A Greater St. Helens League) is the team’s biggest game to date since it’s a must-win for Skyview (4-3, 1-1) in order to stay alive in the 4A GSHL playoff race. A win evens the Storm with Union in the league standings with one game remaining, while a Titans victory guarantees Union its first postseason bid since 2014.
Perhaps the biggest questions mark surrounding Skyview in preseason camp came at quarterback. Who would replace Brody Barnum, who led the Storm to the 4A state semifinals a season ago? How would the offense flow without a player who passed for more than 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns?
Enter Rose, a junior-varsity quarterback and Barnum’s understudy who won the job.
Rose understands that as a quarterback, there’s pressure. He’s mentally worked every play, but also is aware of the physical pressures and taxing plays of those who protect him every down — his offensive line.
That’s why he wants to reward his teammates for their hard work by not turning the ball over.
“I don’t want to take that away from them,” Rose said.
That’s why Trevor Bentley’s 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in Skyview’s eventual 38-20 loss to Camas on Oct. 6 was especially crushing. Rose orchestrated a 91-yard drive only to have the interception come at the Camas 1-yard line when the Storm attempted to tie the game in the first quarter.
There was no letdown because his teammates lifted his spirits after one mistake turned the chains.
“They all have my back,” he said.
Eric Rice, Skyview’s quarterbacks coach, said Rose’s biggest attributes are his competitive drive and ability to process the offense. At 6 feet and weighing 210 pounds, Rose knows he isn’t the biggest quarterback, or the quickest or have a rocket for an arm. But what he lacks in physical attributes he makes up for in other areas that allows him to thrive.
“He has some of the best mental work of any kid I’ve seen,” Rice said.
What Rice means by that is having pre-snap understanding then being able to adjust once the ball is snapped.
And Rose does it well.
“He has to be able to do that,” Rice said. “For Rose to be able to overcome that, you can see it, because he’s incredibly efficient.”
Efficient, in fact, is the adjective Rose used when asked how he’d describe himself as a quarterback. Case in point is last Thursday’s 48-13 victory over Battle Ground.
Rose was 13 of 14 passing for 231 yards and three touchdowns passes — all over three quarters of work. This following a career-best game for completions (24), attempts (35) and yards (335) in the defeat to the 4A’s top-ranked team.
“It might not look the best or the most natural, but I like to think it’s going to get done,” he said.
Some of the best advice he’s received is from Barnum, who reminded him no matter how well he does, there’s always going to be people who believe he’s not good enough.
Rose has a response ready for those folks: He’s up for the challenge to be in this role.
And Friday is perhaps his biggest to date.
“I want to go out here and prove I do what I need to do to win football games,” Rose said.