North Valley’s Tristan Burke is a big play waiting to happen, through the air or on the ground.
“We ask a lot of him,” said head coach Todd Willaman. “There’s a lot of reads he’s got to make. He’s still making plays with his feet like he has, but he’s also making good reads and getting the ball where he needs to.”
Last year Burke threw for over 2,000 yards and ran for another 600 en route to a 6-4 record and second place in the Skyline Conference. The Knights strong season came to an abrupt end with a loss to Douglas in the play-in round. That defeat motivated Burke and his teammates to get better.
“It kind of put a chip on our shoulder a little bit because we didn’t really like how last year ended,” said Burke. “We thought we could have gone a little bit further.”
They thought right. This year North Valley finished the regular season 8-1 and won the Skyline outright. Burke still exhibited that same play-making ability, but he improved in taking care of the ball.
“We talk about making chicken salad out of something and he doesn’t try to do that anymore,” said Willaman. “He knows what’s expected of him. He knows what’s going to help and hurt his team.”
Burke’s 34 combined touchdowns have certainly helped his team, but when asked about his success, he defers the credit.
“Everyone’s just been doing really good on the offensive line so it’s easier to throw the ball, and receivers are making big catches,” said Burke.
It’s hard to deny what he contributes. The quarterback brings that big play capability and a knack for getting it done in the clutch.
“I just stay calm,” said Burke. “I try not to get all antsy and freak out, and it’s worked pretty good so far.”
As the Knights prepare for the state playoffs, they’re hoping their play maker keeps on working.