For Bergquist, the B stands for bruising
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
La PORTE -- The only issue Jeremy Lowery has with Collin Bergquist is that there isn't more than one of him.
"The thing that's great about Colin is he's just as great of a kid as he is a football player," the La Porte coach said. "He does the right things right. He works hard not only at practice, but he's one of our best weight room guys. He's always at school, where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there. He makes great grades. He's one of those kids, when kids aren't sure how to do things, it's real easy to tell them to take a look at that kid. It's not only football, it's his whole life. You've got to have a whole bunch of him."
All it takes is seeing Bergquist run the ball one time to find out plenty about the Slicers senior tailback/quarterback. He seeks out contact like a wrecking ball seeks out a building.
"I'm always looking for a good hit," Bergquist said. "It always feels good. Even if they're giving it to me, I still love it. My older brother (former LP quarterback Nolan Lorenz) taught me, you've got to go for power and yards instead of trying to juke, getting negative (yards). I was a little shiftier when I was younger, but I've always been a little meat-headed strong."
Bergquist has always had an affinity for the weight room. A squat 5-foot-4 sixth grader, he soared half a foot in a school year. In the process of doing so, he developed Osgood-Schlatter, a disease that affects children experiencing growth spurts.
Senior Collin Bergquist plays a dual role of tailback and Wildcat quarterback for La Porte. (Photo by Jay Anglin)
"I did physical therapy for like three years," said Bergquist, who aspires to do that for a living himself some day.
A running back/quarterback growing up, Bergquist began to take his weight training more seriously as he got into high school. As a 6-foot, 207-pound senior, he ranks among the team's strongest players in almost every lift.
"I really like to focus on my legs so I can keep driving," he said "I keep my core strong to keep balance. I work shoulders and traps so I can get that hard pop when I hit. I'm seeing the results."
He sure is. Even with La Porte's passing game still evolving and teams leaning on stopping the Slicers' run game, Bergquist has rambled for 494 yards on 86 carries, well over five yards a carry.
"Our O-line is improving week by week," he said. "That was a struggle point at the beginning. It's getting a lot better. (Passing) has been getting a lot better each week, which is creating space to get the run game going a lot more. It's basically just whatever we need. Put me wherever I need to be, and I'm ready to go whenever. I'm just hitting my holes and going through, trying to get my yards. I've got the extra tailback as a blocker (in the Wildcat)."
Bergquist played a good bit of conventional quarterback last season, but Lowery tweaked his usage to take greater advantage of his skill set and to get QBs RJ Anglin and Jack McGuire involved. When either of those two are in, Bergquist plays tailback. When they come out, he runs the Wildcat with Jamaal Salary at tailback.
"His main skill set is running the football," Lowery said. "We're just using his abilities in a slightly different way. That's the name of the game. When you involve a quarterback as a runner, you get the extra number back. When you're not, the defense is plus one. When he's actually able to read someone, now you get plus one. Where you're using it, that's your choice. They're reading different players on the defense. It allows us to get another hat on somebody else. Salary runs the ball really well for us in that set. It's a chance to get him on the field. There are versions where we can go bigger, too, bringing in (Jaden) Browder and (Gavin) Zolvinski, more like H backs. You get more kids involved, they get excited about it and you're able to build off it."
A star running back (albeit much smaller) in his playing days at Penn, Lowery has a deep appreciation for what Bergquist brings to the backfield.
"A lot of heart, a lot of determination," Lowery said. "He can play like fullback and he can get out and run like a tailback. Not many people can catch him. The other thing you've got to appreciate is what he does when the ball is not in his hands. He's a good blocker. Pre-snap, he's always where he's supposed to be, He's put the work in. We try to play into each kid's skill set the best we can, put them in the best situation."
Also a wrestler and baseball player for La Porte, Bergquist hopes to play football in college or either of the others, if the opportunity comes up.
"I'd love to do any of the three, but football is definitely my favorite," he said.
While La Porte goes into Friday's game at Lake Central, the Slicers, as Lowery emphasizes, aren't blinking.
"I think it's all about the right mentality, staying dialed in, like coach always says at practice," Bergquist said. "Nobody's worrying about the loss, they're just worrying about the next week. We always stay positive in games, hyping each other up. We never yell at each other. Near the end of last year, we found our stride with that focused mentality and we're definitely building off it this year."
Collin Bergquist has been the bright spot in La Porte's offense so far
this season, rushing for 494 yards. (Photo by Jay Anglin)