A proven playmaker catching the ball, Jeremy McGoldrick took advantage of his opportunity to sling it on Friday.
Usually a dynamic wide receiver, McGoldrick made his first start at quarterback and contributed to all four Castle touchdowns in the Knights’ 30-16 win over Nanakuli on homecoming/senior night.
McGoldrick found out he’d start at quarterback just before kickoff and scored on a 63-yard keeper on the third play of the game. He went on to run for 156 yards, threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that helped thwart Nanakuli’s comeback attempt.
McGoldrick’s performance gives Castle’s upcoming opponents another facet to consider in preparing to face the Knights. So will the senior line up behind center again when Castle faces Kailua next Friday?
“I won’t have the answer to that question until game time next week,” McGoldrick said.
McGoldrick wasn’t sure what his role would be until warmups on Friday, but helped ensure Castle (3-4, 2-4 OIA Red) will have an OIA Division I playoff game waiting beyond next week’s regular-season finale.
McGoldrick began last season as Castle’s backup quarterback before emerging as a two-way threat as a receiver (43 receptions, 690 yards, 15 touchdowns) and defensive back. He played quarterback as a sophomore “so I know all the plays.”
“We had some things going on in practice and we put a special package in and the plan was to get the quarterbacks rotating,” Castle coach Nelson Maeda said. “But Jeremy had some success on the field with what we were doing so we stuck with it.”
Maeda said he was somewhat surprised with McGoldrick’s passing performance given his limited repetitions throwing the ball in practice this season.
“He was really our third or fourth quarterback,” Maeda said. “He came in and did a nice, bang-up job.”
Said McGoldrick: “I hadn’t been throwing the ball at all this year so even in practice I was rusty. You saw it today, I had a couple throws that weren’t so good.”
But he had a bunch more that were on the money in completing 13 of 22 attempts. Eight of those completions went to Makana Smith, who eclipsed his previous season totals with nine grabs for 163 yards and a touchdown. Smith entered the game with four receptions for 133 yards and was Castle’s second-leading passer (333 yards, three TDs) and rusher (176 yards, three TDs).
Jaylen Uyemura-Lee, who handled the majority of the passing duties this season, took over late in the third quarter while McGoldrick returned to his customary post at wideout.
After Nanakuli closed to 20-16 with 1:46 left in the third quarter, Uyemura-Lee led the Knights on a 10-play drive and connected with McGoldrick on his fifth touchdown pass of the season.
“That was a backside route,” McGoldrick said. “I told him right before the play if the front side isn’t there, I have the backside post.”
It wasn’t a flawless performance though as McGoldrick lost two fumbles in Nanakuli territory. But the Castle defense managed to hold off a Nanakuli passing attack led by Nainoa Banks‘ 325 yards to end a four-game skid prior to facing Kailua.
“It’s going to be a big game next week,” Maeda said as the Knights went through their postgame stretching routine. “I just found out Kailua beat Mililani. It’s great for them … and for us, we’ve got our work cut out for us next week.”