Little was expected from New Mexico Stars rookie quarterback Andrew McGlory when camp opened March 1 in Glorieta in preparation for the Lone Star Football League season.
Since McGlory, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound Prairie View A&M alum, was just breaking into the pro indoor game, the plans were for him to back up arena ball veteran Donovan Porterie of UNM fame. The coaches wanted time for McGlory to transition to the walled environment of 50-yard fields.
But when Porterie didn’t report, ready or not McGlory, 25, was thrust into the starter’s role.
Now, a little more than four months later, he’ll be starting in the LSFL championship game Saturday when the Stars face the host San Angelo (Texas) Bandits.
The meeting originally was scheduled to be a first-round playoff battle between the second-seeded Bandits (8-4) and third-seeded Stars (7-5), but when the No. 1 seed, the Rio Grande Valley Sol (8-4), failed to meet league “obligations,” as LSFL Commissioner Darlene Jones so vaguely put it, the Sol was ruled ineligible, and the Stars-Bandits meeting was elevated to championship-game status.
“Coach had originally called (last Friday) to tell me the news, but I was taking a nap,” McGlory said Wednesday. “When I called him back he said, ‘Congratulations, quarterback, you’re going to the championship game.’ I was excited. He then kind of gave me a rough draft of our (week’s) schedule. Then I told my family.”
Although McGlory had several solid outings this season, including a seven-TD game against Amarillo in 70-49 win in Game 5, he also had just about as many clunkers, which caused coach Dominic Bramante to be on high alert most of the season for a veteran replacement.
But McGlory said his confidence never wavered. Not even after committing seven turnovers in a season-opening 63-21 home loss to Amarillo. Not after he was deactivated two-thirds of the way through the season and replaced by a just hired QB who wound up throwing five interceptions in a key loss at Amarillo. Not even after going 13-for-38 with two more INTs in a close-call 27-26 victory over West Texas in Game 11 that included an interception returned for a score.
Despite all that, Bramante said he’s all in with McGlory for Saturday.
“We’re riding with Andrew, for better or for worse,” Bramante said at the team’s Hotel Cascada headquarters. “There’s been disappointment and heartbreak, but this young man keeps coming back and playing.
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling how he deals with adversity. Even when I’m in his butt (for making poor reads/bad throws), he’ll finish games where my patience level with him ran out a long time ago. He’s oblivious to it. His skin is so thick, that young man can accomplish anything.”
Bramante stressed this is a redemption game for his QB, who was 20-for-44, with an interception, in the Stars’ lone game at San Angelo on April 12, when the Bandits won 56-34 to drop New Mexico’s mark to 1-3.
Bramante said the Bandits’ crowd behind the Stars’ bench that game was giving McGlory heavy grief.
“The fans in San Angelo were going, ‘Coach, you’ve got a good team, but your quarterback stinks. You need a quarterback.’
“They were riding him hard, but like I said, he was oblivious to it.”
McGlory said he isn’t concerned with hecklers.
“I don’t listen to it,” he said. “If it was easy (to play QB), everybody would be doing it. The worst things are armchair quarterbacks.”
McGlory was at his best in leading the Stars to crucial comeback victories in their final two home games – a 54-47 win over the Bandits five weeks ago and a 60-47 playoff-clinching victory over the Sol two weeks ago. Each time, New Mexico rallied from double-digit deficits.
Added Bramante: “I think (this week) is the first time I’ve said to the team this year, ‘That’s my quarterback.’ ”
But, Bramante added, ‘That doesn’t mean he’s not going to do things that will cause me to pull my hair out again.”