DURHAM — Redshirt freshman Bret Edwards gets the call.
University of New Hampshire interim head football coach Ricky Santos announced Monday that Bret Edwards, from Lowell, Mass. and a former standout at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Mass., will be the starting quarterback for the Wildcats when they open the season at Holy Cross on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The back-and-forth race for the No. 1 job started last winter and narrowed to two contenders — Edwards and freshman Max Brosmer — during fall camp.
“Both of those guys, we feel, are good enough to be starting quarterbacks in this league,” said Santos, who added that he wouldn’t be surprised if Brosmer saw playing time in the Holy Cross game as well.
After Holy Cross, UNH plays its FBS game at Florida International in Miami on Sept. 14.
The Wildcats play their home opener against the University of Rhode Island on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.
Edwards, 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds, got the edge for the starting job in part because of his ability to scramble and keep plays alive with his feet, as well as his work in maintaining possession of the ball.
“He’s really efficient with the football,” Santos said. “Took care of it. Ultimately, he protected the ball better throughout camp. And he gives us a dynamic with his legs.”
Edwards was outstanding in UNH’s Blue-White game that wrapped up fall camp on Aug. 25, completing his first 10 passes and 18 of his 19 in the game for 176 yards and a couple of touchdowns to sophomore receiver Brian Espanet (who also caught a scoring pass from Brosmer).
Edwards was a three-year starter at Central Catholic and was the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 MVP. For his high school career, he passed for 4,736 yards and 54 TDs.
He worked with the scout team and as a backup last year and did not see any game action with the Wildcats.
After the Blue-White, Edwards talked about how his game has come along.
“Last year was a big learning year for me so I was out there timid, not knowing where to put the ball sometimes,” he said. “But this year I’ve put in a lot of work. Coach Santos has helped us out a lot with reads and coverages and just making us feel comfortable back there. He’s brought a lot to the table. Mostly coverages for me and reading the defense and knowing where the ball goes and canceling out routes that aren’t going to be there with those coverages.”
Last year at this time, Brosmer, who’s from Roswell, Ga., was starting his final season of high school football at Centennial High. He passed for 3,459 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior. He graduated early and enrolled at UNH in January, working with the Wildcats through the winter and spring.
In the team’s spring game, Brosmer completed 12 of his 19 passes for 151 yards and a pair of scores. In the fall game he completed six of his nine passes for 99 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
On Saturday, Edwards and the Wildcats take on a Holy Cross team that already has a game under its belt.
The Crusaders played at Navy, an FBS level opponent, and fell, 45-7, on Saturday.
UNH knocked off Holy Cross, 28-0, last year at home in Wildcat Stadium.
But two years ago at Fitton Field in Worcester, the Wildcats lost 51-26 to Holy Cross. The Crusaders put up 520 yards of offense and had five passing touchdowns in that game.