While thousands of mostly high school age quarterbacks brought their aspirations of refining their skills for college to the Manning Passing Academy this summer, Vermilion Catholic senior Brennan Gallet had no such misconception.
Gallet — all 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds of him — checked his ego at the door of his dorm room at Nicholls State with the sole purpose of fulfilling Archie Manning’s vision of simply improving his skills for high school.
With some of the best college and pro quarterbacks assembled in the role as counselors, Gallet worked on footwork and pocket presence.
He also picked the brains of the star-studded group there such as Peyton and Eli Manning, asking about routes and defensive coverages in an effort to get a leg up and dominate the cerebral — not the physical — part of the game.
What’s transpired has been Gallet’s ability to deliver a nearly flawless season for a top-seeded Vermilion Catholic team searching for perfection when the Screaming Eagles (13-0) meet sixth-seeded St. Frederick (9-4) for the Division IV select state championship at noon Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
“I really never thought about my career extending past high school,” said Gallet, a 3.8 gpa student headed to UL-Lafayette to study Petroleum Engineering. “At my size, that’s never really been an option. It would be nice to go out on top and end a career that I’m proud of with a state championship. It would be great for our class that’s been through a lot together.”
Over the past 18 months, Gallet has dealt with his own share of adversity in leading Vermilion Catholic back to the Superdome for the first time in a decade since the Eagles won the Class 1A crown.
Gallet was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in June of 2012, requiring daily insulin shots or an insulin pump to help control a condition he said hasn’t deterred his quality of life or capacity to play football.
“It’s gotten easier to manage (over) the years that I’ve had it,” Gallet said. “I’m able to do what I normally do, but it takes more discipline to get it right. It’s made me grow up and be more responsible.”
Athletic bloodlines and roots to Vermilion Catholic, located in Abbeville, run deep in the Gallet household. His father, Brandon, was a quarterback and wide receiver. His mother, Angela, a starting point guard and is an assistant coach at the school that won the Class 1A state title last season.
The family’s rich tradition with the school has provided Gallet a greater sense of purpose since taking over two years ago as Vermilion Catholic’s starting quarterback.
During that span, Gallet has flourished in Vermilion Catholic’s no-huddle spread system, helping the Eagles to a 24-2 record, a state quarterfinal appearance a year ago and the school’s second trip to the final after last week’s 33-8 win over Cedar Creek.
“His football IQ’s off the charts,” Vermilion Catholic coach Russell Kuhns said. “He’s not a very big kid, so if you’re not going to be very big or fast, you better be pretty smart, which he is. He really studies the game and the defenses to make the throws he makes.”
Vermilion Catholic’s version of the spread — which averages 39.3 points — and Gallet couldn’t have been a better alliance, one that’s resulted in 5,069 yards passing with 65 touchdowns and 17 interceptions over his 26-game career.
Where Gallet said he believes his greatest growth as a quarterback is before the ball’s even snapped, assessing offensive coordinator Roch Charpentier’s play call and, based on the defense, deciding whether to remain with it or audible to something more advantageous.
Gallet, a second team all-district performer in 2012, has completed 61 percent of his passes (172-of-282) for 2,707 yards, 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. During the playoffs, he’s reached season milestones with 331 yards in a 56-19 quarterfinal win over St. Mary’s, and five touchdowns the week before in a 34-0 shutout of Central Catholic-Morgan City.
“He’s pretty vocal and backs it up with what he does on the field,” Kuhns said. “Despite being an undersized guy, he has tremendous respect from his teammates. He’s got a pretty big arm and can chunk it a little bit. He plays big.”