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Young body, old spirit: Pandemic cancellations put Rama in position to lead the Cougars

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

By Jordyn J. Bennett

SPRINGFIELD, Penn. — No matter how good you may be under center, playing

quarterback at any level is a challenging task. Talented high school underclassmen get stuck on

junior varsity; college athletes get redshirted; even first round draft picks like Patrick Mahomes

of the Kansas City Chiefs, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns and Justin Fields — who was

taken 11th overall this year by the Chicago Bears — are put in the No. 2 spot for developmental

purposes. Growing and learning is a vital part in becoming a better commander for your team;

however, not all quarterbacks get that developmental opportunity.

While he is a long way away from thinking about playing on Sundays — and even has

some time before he is playing on Saturdays — Springfield High School (Penn.) junior

quarterback Jake Rama got his first start on varsity last season as a sophomore. Rama fared well

in his first games as a starter, but knew he had a lot to learn.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Rama’s first year was cut short by the pandemic. For

many, the pandemic has been a time where people couldn’t find their way; for Rama, it was an

opportunity to improve.

“I definitely had the playbook down a lot better,” Rama said about utilizing his extra time

to perfect his craft. “COVID last year, although it might have been bad for other people, I think it

set me up pretty well for this year.”

Not only did he prepare himself mentally, but physically as well, putting an additional 20

pounds onto his 6’1” frame. Rama looks for inspiration from the past and future, looking to

Mahomes for innovative techniques and fearlessness, while honoring the strategy and winning

mentality of the G.O.A.T.: Tom Brady.

He may not be at their level yet, but he is confident in what he can do now and where he

will go.

“My arm and my accuracy are definitely my best traits I feel,” Rama said. “I definitely

feel like I’m more of a pocket passer. The way I can throw a ball, I feel like I can throw a ball

better than most people. I have a lot of confidence in the throws I can make, and it definitely

shows on some of my tape this year.”

Majority of his talent can be seen from clips of Springfield’s 42-6 trampling of Harriton

High School (Bryn Mawr) Sept. 3, where the junior threw four touchdowns on just 10 throws.

His completion percentage and yardage was just as impressive, accompanying his quartet of

scores with 231 yards and only missing three of his throws (76.9%).

Rama linked up with senior wide receiver Robby Longo five times for two scores. Rama

said he and Longo’s chemistry began to formulare last year. With a season-ish under their belt

and extra time to prepare, Rama knew that when they put it all together, the two were going to

explode onto the scene.

“Our connection kinda just stayed alive this year,” Rama said. “It took a slow start in our

first game against (Perkiomen) Valley High School. In our second game against Harriton we

fired on all cylinders. All that offseason work, like running routes and stuff, it's really paying


Putting in the work is just a small portion of the young quarterback's impressive display

of maturity.

It’s like pulling teeth attempting to get Rama to talk about himself because everything is

about the team. When asked about his individual aspirations this season, the goal is to win a

championship; As positive as he was about the pandemic, he is aware of the film he wasn’t able

to obtain because of a lack of games and not threatened by how it could affect his recruitment:

he knows what he has to do now. And to put the cherry on top, he holds a 3.3 GPA, being raised

in a household that has always preached there is no football without good grades.

“I think some of it’s natural, but some of it is coming up, as I’m not a younger kid, but

I’m definitely old for my age,” he said. “I think it’s just my maturity and knowing what needs to

be done for this to happen.”

And what he wants to happen is to join his idols Brady and Mahomes as a champion.

For Rama, a championship caliber player adds up to a college quarterback. He is

focusing on getting better for his team and is confident that if he does that, he’ll be playing at the

next level one day.

“I want to be better than I am now — better than I was yesterday. I definitely strive in

practice to be better than I was yesterday because I feel like that is a good mentality and mindset

to have.”

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