BELLAIRE – The Big Reds’ football program has always been known for its pass-happy offense which has been triggered by some very good quarterbacks.
Names like Mike Sherwood, P.J. Woods, Jose Davis, Ty Masciarelli, Matt Materkoski, Nate Davis and the Rocchio brothers – Anthony and Nick – come to mind when thinking about some of the best to have ever entered a Bellaire huddle.
You can add another name to that prestigious list – Spencer Badia.
The senior has put up some staggering numbers during his days as Bellaire’s starting quarterback, becoming one of three Ohio Valley quarterbacks to ever surpass the 7,000-yard passing mark. Bellaire’s Nate Davis and Steubenville Central’s Brenton Colabella are the other two.
Heck, the 5-10, 180-pounder who is coming off knee surgery during the off-season, passed for a school-best 507 yards and seven touchdowns in his first varsity start, a 63-27 rout of Steubenville Central at Harding Stadium in 2011. Not bad for openers.
Come Saturday afternoon when he walks out onto Nelson Field in the All-American Village against arch-rival Martins Ferry, Badia has a chance to pass Nate Davis as Bellaire’s all-time passing yards and total offense leader. He also has the opportunity to become the first player in OVAC history with 8,000 yards of total offense.
And to think, all those numbers came in just three years, not four.
Entering Saturday’s clash with the Purple Riders, the senior, who sat behind Anthony Rocchio his freshman season, has 7,302 yards passing and 463 yards rushing for 7,765 yards of total offense in 20 career games. Nate Davis finished his 4-year career with 7,938 career yards of total offense, with 7,348 coming via the air, both OV marks.
“That wasn’t even in my mind. The more I think about it (the records), it really is a team effort and I couldn’t do it without the guys around me. I couldn’t care less about the individual stuff as long as we’re winning games,” Badia downplayed the record chase.
“Yeah, that’s a lot of yards, but without all the coaches and everyone else … they’ve put me into the position to do all I can do,” he added. “Without them, it’s not possible.”
What will it feel like when he finally breaks Nate Davis’s records?
“I was Nate’s water boy when I was younger,” Badia admitted. “From seventh grade to now he’s someone that I’ve always looked up to. So it will be nice. Coach (Jose) Davis is one of those select few, as well. It’s great being around guys like that that know so much about the game and being able to relay it back to me.
“Coach Davis has done so much for me from film study to just being a coach and helping me with anything that I needed help with, including the (knee) surgery. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and everyone staying on my back to keep going and get back.”
By deflecting the plaudits to others, Bellaire head coach Jose Davis, who was pretty good in his days in Red-and-Black, wasn’t surprised.
“That makes him an even better person,” Davis said. “I think it speaks volumes about the family he comes from. It’s funny because you see so many individuals from this area that all they talk about is their own individual performances or stats, but he’s the complete opposite of that. He’s all about winning games. Whatever it takes.”
The Big Reds’ head coach wasn’t surprised to see his quarterback pass him or near his brothers’ records.
“Records are made to be broken,” Jose said. “You just never know when it’s going to happen.”
Because of Badia’s help over the past three seasons, classmate and good friend Nick Patrone became the Big Reds’ all-time leader in career receptions with 136, eclipsing the old mark (130) of former NFL linebacker Ben Taylor.
“I knew I was close, but I wasn’t actually sure what the exact number was,” Patrone, another 5-10 senior, said.
“Ben was one of the best players to ever come through here, so break his record for catches is pretty special to me. I feel honored.”
What’s it like catching a pass from Badia?
“He’s a great quarterback,” the wideout allowed. “He gets the ball out to you so quick, it allows you to be able to read the defense and then do what you do with the ball.”
“Those two having been playing together since growing up,” Jose Davis said. “There’s that special bond between them, especially the last two years when Nick’s kind of become our go-to guy.”
If Badia’s records don’t come Saturday, there’s always a first-round Division VI playoff game ahead the next weekend.
But, all he wants to do is win games!
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org