Football: Lloyd next up to lead Hub offense

Junior Josh Lloyd signals to the Rochelle offense during the football team’s JV game against Morris this past season. Now an upperclassman, Lloyd will take over under center when the varsity Hubs next take the field. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Junior quarterback setting high expectations for upcoming season

From the freshman team to the JV team, the last two seasons have prepared Rochelle quarterback Josh Lloyd for taking the reins of the varsity offense this coming season. Lloyd will have the chance to leave his mark when the Hubs eventually take the field next spring.

While Lloyd began playing football when he was 5 years old, he didn’t take up the quarterback position until fifth grade. The responsibility and leadership the position requires are what Lloyd has enjoyed most about going under center, and he’ll look to demonstrate those abilities as he continues preparing for his junior season. Lloyd will potentially be the varsity team’s fourth starting quarterback in four years, following Ethan Etes, Andrew Johnson and Noah Mershon.

“Being the leader on the offense, everybody on the field trusts you to make the right decision,” Lloyd said. “The pressure a quarterback receives is a privilege. I feel the last two years have helped me a ton. I have been taught many things about the physical, mental and leadership aspects of the game. I’ve also built great relationships with everybody on the team. Coach [Kyle] Kissack has taught me a lot about the game aside from just throwing the ball. He’s pushed me and kept me accountable for everything I do, which is why I’ve improved.”

Lloyd will look to lead a revamped Rochelle offense that has lost multiple starters on the offensive line, as well as the backfield, from this past season. Despite COVID-19 altering or shutting down team activities, Lloyd said he’s been pushing himself in the weight room and working to improve his speed and agility. Lloyd has also focused on sharpening his throwing techniques, whether it’s been through throwing into a net or throwing to a teammate.

“I’ve improved in every aspect of the game over the last two years, but the passing game is probably where I’ve improved the most,” Lloyd said. “I’ve also become a better leader throughout the years. I’d like to continue working on passing and being smoother with my footwork. I wouldn’t have improved as much as I have without the support of my teammates.”

The Hubs will be looking to bounce back from a 4-5 season this past year. Although the immediate focus remains whether or not COVID-19 will allow football teams to compete this season, Lloyd said his goals for the remainder of the year include helping Rochelle win a conference championship and sending the team’s senior players out on a high note.

“I have high expectations for our team because of the amount of work we’ve put in and the resiliency we’ve shown during this tough time,” Lloyd said. “Our varsity team is capable of doing great things this year because of our skill level and the brotherhood we’ve created.”

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