A hilltop public school with a parochial-sounding name, Trinity High School overlooks the county seat of Washington, where Wash High brandishes a football tradition that eclipses its larger, suburban rival. After all, Wash High sent a handful of alums into the NFL, among them offensive lineman George Reihner of the then-Houston Oilers and defensive back Ted Vactor of the Washington Redskins.
And Trinity? It produced former CBS and NBC news anchor Faith Daniels. It produced Jay Mariotti of ESPN's "Around the Horn" fame, or infamy. It produced long-ago test pilot Joe Walker and a string of Ph.D.s, M.D.s, J.D.s ... but no major-college QBs.
From the quarterback-steeped WPIAL, Connecticut's Cody Endres is believed to represent the first Hillers graduate to start at major-college quarterback in a half-century -- perhaps even in the school's 83-year history. Archaeologists continue to dig deep, but the fact remains: the old Trinity Hall Military Academy that Ulysses S. Grant used to visit has graduated few, if any, field generals to college football's highest echelon.
And this Connecticut redshirt freshman fill-in may well start for a second consecutive time Saturday in a conference-critical home game against West Virginia (5-2, 2-0 Big East).
Starting debut: Cody Endres
|Cody Endres' numbers in his first collegiate start Saturday in Connecticut's 40-16 win against Cincinnati:
"I think we had a guy go to Tulsa in the late '80s, early '90s," Endres said yesterday, taxing his Trinity history, referring to 1997-2000 Golden Hurricane part-time starter Mike Wall. "So other than that..."
Endres is it. The beginning. The end.
His inaugural major-college start wasn't so historical for the Huskies (6-2, 2-1), but it did carry considerable heft. It stanched a two-game losing streak. It came during homecoming, at a tenuous time with last year's starter out with a broken foot and the 0-2 replacement out with a concussion. It arrived in the teeth of a stiff Cincinnati defense and an even stiffer wind in the former airfield grounds now known as Rentschler Field.
"You know, I was averaging something like 12 or 14 attempts a game [at Trinity High]," Endres recalled. "I come to UConn, my first game I throw the ball 42 times.
"It was a little different."
He completed 18 of those 42 for 196 yards, the third-most by a Huskies quarterback this fall. More vitally, after nine interceptions in seven games, the debut starter threw none.
"I thought Cody Endres did a really good job," said Randy Edsall, the coach of the BCS's No. 25 team. "Managed the game and moved the ball for us, didn't turn the ball over."
As a result, Endres and Zach Frazier, a Notre Dame transfer from Mechanicsburg, Pa., will revert to their previous designation as the No. 2 quarterbacks to starter Tyler Lorenzon: either-or. "It'll either be Cody or it'll be Zach," Edsall said. "It'll probably be a game-time decision in terms of what we decide to do. They're both pretty similar."
The pro-style passing game has been ingrained in Endres since the third grade, when his father, onetime Bowling Green quarterback Dave Endres, switched him from Windsor Elementary defensive end and schooled him in the position he plays still.
"I'd say 80 to 90 percent of what I learned came from him," Cody said.
The son passed for more than 2,500 yards at run-happy Trinity. He completed as many passes as Pitt recruit Tino Sunseri and future Ohio State star Terrelle Pryor in a senior season replete with 908 yards and nine touchdowns. He signed with Connecticut, to which he committed the June before that senior season, then redshirted last fall.
Look at him now.
A 34-yard pass arranged the go-ahead touchdown run against Cincinnati. A 27-yard pass to star tailback Donald Brown set up a field goal to seal it.
"Aw, he's doing a great job," Brown said yesterday.
As for potentially facing a team from barely 40 miles south of his Washington home, Endres said, "It just makes you want to work that much harder, makes you want to earn the spot.
"I'm going to prepare like it's me who goes out there Saturday. Hopefully, it works out that way."
Chuck Finder can be reached at 412-263-1724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
First published on October 29, 2008 at 12:00 am