QB Nate Dobson Improving, Learning At Peoria

Nate Dobson walks up behind his center and calmly gestures for one of his receivers to go in motion. After surveying the defense he raises his arms to his chest and takes the shotgun snap. As pressure comes off the edges he climbs up in the pocket and fires a strike down the seam in-stride for a big gain.

Not bad for a guy who’s only been playing quarterback for a little over three years.

The six-foot, 200-pound junior is one of the reasons the Peoria Panthers (8-3) are into the 4A Quarterfinals where they’ll play top-seeded Saguaro (11-0) Thursday night in Scottsdale.

Dobson’s ability to beat teams with both his arm (nearly 2000 yards and 13 passing touchdowns) and his legs (a team-high 850 rushing yards and 16 scores) has been keeping opposing coaches guessing all season.

“It just depends,” Peoria head coach Will Babb said to Sports360AZ.com with a grin when asked how he would try to stop his quarterback. “What I would do? I don’t know. I’d probably try to do a couple different things…but I can’t give that out [laughing].”

Don’t worry coach, apparently your secret’s still safe after Dobson tallied near 300 total yards and four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) in Peoria’s thrilling opening round win last week over Bradshaw Mountain.

“I’ve been working on this ever since freshman year,” Dobson told Sports360AZ.com shortly after the win. “I thought I was going to come in my sophomore year and be the starter but things didn’t work out like that. For me to get my first playoff win in my varsity career, that was big.”

Babb has seen his quarterbacks growth and maturity firsthand but knows he’s nowhere close to hitting his full potential at Peoria.

“He’s still learning the position,” Babb explained. “There’s a lot to learn and he’s getting pretty good at it but there’s still a lot to learn. There’s a high ceiling for him.”

That’s certainly good news for Panthers’ fans.