Steamboat Springs Trailing 14-7 at the half, Sailors coach Mark Drake told quarterback David May to start quarterbacking.
The junior cut back on his errant passes and found his receivers all over the field, taking control of the offense and the team, and nearly leading Steamboat to a come-from-behind victory over Palisade Friday night.
"Coach told me I needed to stop making up my mind where I was going to go with the ball before I got to the line of scrimmage," May said. "He told me I needed to start making reads."
In the first half, May completed 2-of-7 attempts for 32 yards.
In the second half, he was 10-of-18 for 170 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for another.
Drake hates singling out players for glory or guilt, but it's impossible to ignore the demeanor change May underwent on the football field Friday night.
May admitted he never really thought he would be forced to play quarterback this year. As the backup, he was content playing the waiting game and linebacker until senior Joel Adams graduated and he moved up.
Then Adams went down with a knee injury, leaving some questions as to whether the team behind May and Preston Stanfill would rally together or unravel.
One convincing victory and one narrow defeat later, Steamboat seems focused on winning no matter who's in the huddle.
"He steps out there with confidence," senior Zach Forcum said. "He goes out to make plays."
With that come mistakes.
If May could have one pass back from Friday night, it would be the fourth quarter interception he threw, resulting in a Palisade score that proved to be the difference in the game.
But the way in which May responded after the interception with Steamboat down 11 left a larger impression on both Drake and Adams than his decision to make that pass.
"It's rare to see a player that can show the character he showed after making the mistake," Adams said.
Drake noted that May not only led the Sailors downfield for a touchdown in less than two minutes, he was the one who scored on an 18-yard scramble after nearly being sacked.
"He bounced back and we scored," Drake said.
Jeff Franks, the beneficiary of a 66-yard touchdown pass from May, said the raw quarterback with the strong arm matured a bit Friday night.
"It's weird," Franks said. "The jump he made compares an eighth-grader to a senior in high school."
Good thing May's only a junior.