CUERO - Cuero coach Mark Reeve was so impressed by Tyler Arndt's accomplishments as a sophomore nothing he did as a junior came as much of a surprise.
"I think the thing that Tyler did this year is he took over more of a leadership role," Reeve said. "Last year, we were just hoping he could get the quarterback stuff done. He was really our leader on the offensive side of the ball as far as focus and everything else. You've got to have somebody who believes that whenever he gets in the huddle, he's going to stick the ball in the end zone. That's what great quarterbacks have and that's one of the things that is his best attribute."
Arndt led the Gobblers to their second consecutive Class 3A semifinal appearance by completing 135 of 212 passes for 2,202 yards and 25 touchdowns with five interceptions.
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He also ran for four touchdowns and punted 24 times for a 45.8-yard average and was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Victoria Advocate's 2008 All-Area Football Team.
"I think having a year under my belt really helped by just knowing what to expect," said Arndt, who was the co-Newcomer of the Year on last season's all-area team after passing for 2,507 yards and 23 touchdowns. "We knew we had a lot of seniors coming back and we knew we were going to be good from the first day of two-a-days. We came out working hard and got of to a hot start and really improved."
Arndt, who is also an outstanding baseball player, worked over the summer on his football skills.
"I was able to gain a little wight and get stronger in the weight room," the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Arndt said. "I also worked on my mechanics of throwing, my footwork, being able to move around in the pocket, and having more presence of when pressure is coming."
Reeve was impressed by Arndt's ability to recognize vulnerabilities in opposing defenses.
"The thing he does such a great job for us is to take whatever the defense is giving us," Reeve said. "I think when you don't have a guy like Tyler, it's like gambling in Las Vegas. You've got a 50 percent chance you're going to go to the right side or you're going to have a run and hopefully they'll be in a pass defense.
"But with Tyler, we usually put three plays together and he went to the weak part of the defense. If the throw was there, he called a throw and if the run was there, he called a run. It takes a lot of our your hands. He puts you in a situation where you're going to get the best play you can possibly be in."
Arndt's demeanor along with his physical and decision-making skills have made him one of the most highly-recruited quarterbacks in the state.
"I know Oklahoma's been recruiting him," Reeve said. "That's the thing (former Oklahoma quarterback and current quarterbacks coach) Josh Heupel says is he's got very much the same demeanor as (Heisman Trophy winner) Sam Bradford and obviously that's a winning combination. Anytime you have an athletic event you don't want to get too overexcited. You want to be focused. That's the thing he's been able to do. He's able to take all the distractions out and concentrate on what he's got to do to be a great athlete."
Arndt figures he has plenty of time to make a decision about his future and tries to concentrate on the present.
"Everybody's going to say something and everybody's going to have their opinion," Arndt said. "I just stay focused on football and being prepared for that week and that game and what's going to happen."
Reeve knows with Arndt returning more good fortune is likely in store for the Gobblers next season.
"We just expect him to be Tyler Arndt," Reeve said. "He's proven to be one of the best quarterbacks we've ever coached and he's so good with helping his team be better. I think the one thing he does is he gives a lot of people hope when he gets in the huddle. He really believes every time that we've got a chance to score and one of our mottos was: 'Anywhere, Anytime.' We probably had seven or eight drives in the last 30 seconds of the half where we drove to score. I don't know how many big plays he made on fourth down when we had to have it."