Player Profile: Kragen Cadman has his chance to shine at Kirtland Central
KIRTLAND — New coach. New position. No problem for quarterback Kragen Cadman.
The Kirtland Central Broncos football team will make their season debut Friday night at home against the Silver Fighting Colts. Cadman, who had been playing almost exclusively at wide receiver for the Broncos the past two seasons, finds himself in a very different position.
New head coach Jeff Schaum, who was hired last month to take over the program after Greg Jenks stepped down at the conclusion of the abbreviated 2021 season, said Cadman earned the starting quarterback spot after the coach saw him in practice drills over the past several weeks.
"(Cadman) has grasped what we're running offensively much better and much faster than the other guys," Schaum said. "It's a situation of once he understood what I was looking for in how to read defenses, I was able to put him in a spot where he could get some reps."
Cadman, entering his senior year at Kirtland Central, also played a starring role on the Broncos basketball team last season and said there are parallels between being a point guard on the court and a quarterback on the field.
"You learn very quickly how to be a leader in both positions," Cadman said Saturday morning, shortly before getting on the field and leading the Broncos in a scrimmage with Montezuma-Cortez High School. "It's important to be able to let your teammates know what's expected of them on the field."
Cadman admitted though, it's more fun for him to catch a touchdown as opposed to throwing one.
"I definitely like catching them better," Cadman said. "Getting downfield was always something I liked more."
Schaum is confident that, based on the Broncos offensive scheme this season, Cadman will plenty of opportunities to get down the field, be it through the passing game or the running game.
"We have a very specific run-pass-option style, so we're confident there will plenty of opportunities on offense," Schaum said.
The ability to communicate with the offensive line and skill players also was a factor in Cadman's ascension to the starting quarterback position.
"He's the leader on the field in terms of what I want us to run," Schaum said. "He's got to be able to get that message across in a timely manner, and so far, he's shown he can do that."
The best friend of a quarterback in the backfield is a talented running back, and the Broncos have that in Zakk Thomas, who flashed on numerous occasions last season.
"It's a real pick your poison type of offense," Schaum said. "Options will present themselves based on what defenses decide to try and take away."
The most challenging aspect of the position change for Cadman has come in learning the terminology and the speed in decision making.
"The speed of having to make those decisions on the field is what's most different," Cadman said. "Each play, there's three or four different decisions to make instead of just what to do as a receiver."
Cadman will get his first real challenge at the position when the Broncos host Silver in the opening game of the season at Bill Cawood Field.
The Fighting Colts will be led onto the field by head coach Jerome Ortiz, who replaced Raul Diaz after a 2-1 abbreviated season last spring. Diaz had been with the program since 2015.
"They're kind of in the same spot we're in as far as learning things new," Schaum said.
Cadman is excited for the opportunity to show off his playmaking ability as the leader of the Broncos offense.
"There's a lot to learn about the position, but it's been a good experience getting here," Cadman said.
Kragen Cadman Favorites
Favorite Junk Food — Hot Fries
Favorite Movie — Hacksaw Ridge
Favorite TV Show — Spongebob Squarepants
Favorite Video Game — Halo
Favorite Sports Team — Miami Dolphins
Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680