Garrett Fugate saddles up at QB

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By DANIEL BARNETT
Reporter
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The Mules football team has experienced some changes in the last year. Arguably the biggest of those is the changing of the guard at quarterback.
With Hayden Hawk graduating last year, Garrett Fugate takes over this year as the team’s offensive leader. Fugate spent the last two years serving as the backup to Hawk, taking only a few snaps per game, and most of them as the punter. But now the job is solely his, and all eyes are on the first-year starter.
Fugate may have limited experience, but he does not come into this empty handed. He has the backing and trust of the coaching staff. And so far this season he has taken every offensive snap for the Mules.
Offensive coordinator John McMenamin said one of Fugate’s biggest strengths is his competitiveness.
“Garrett’s an ultimate competitor,” he said. “You know, he’s a really intense guy. The game matters a lot to him, the team matters a lot to him, and that’s probably his best trait right now.”
As Hayden Hawk’s backup, Fugate only took a few snaps at quarterback. The plays he did take, due to his speed, were designed as quarterback run plays.
“Speed-wise he is one of our fastest guys and one of our strongest guys so he adds another dimension to the game at the quarterback position that a team really has to honor the run with him,” McMenamin said. “He definitely gives the other defensive coordinator something to chew on.”
McMenamin said he has seen a valuable bond of trust and friendship form between Fugate and his receiving core.
“I think the one thing that all of our quarterbacks have done, especially Garrett, is that they have earned the respect of those guys and they work their tails off,” McMenamin said. “He is here all summer and he throws to them all summer.”
Those playing alongside Fugate have reaped the benefits of his athleticism and leadership. Wide receiver Andrew Bakker said he likes what he is seeing from Fugate this year.
“He runs a very fast-paced offense,” Bakker said. “I think that we have potential to score a lot of points with him, and he and our running backs set up the run, which opens it up for me more in the passing game.”
Bakker said he has seen Fugate put himself into a good position with the offense and set this team up to do big things offensively.
Expectations are high for Fugate this year, but meeting expectations is his goal.
“I feel like I’m ready for it,” he said. “It’s been really fun getting to get in there and actually make some plays and help the team win.”
When it is all said and done, Fugate has a lot of support in his corner.
“He’s a warrior. He just keeps plugging and fighting through, and he’s really been a real bright spot,” McMenamin said. “You always worry about a first-year starter, and he still makes a mistake or two, there is no doubt about that, but I think he has really embraced it.”