After making a favorable impression in the final three games last season, the 6-foot-7 Foltz will lead the Skyhawks in their opener at 11th-ranked Bloomsburg University on Saturday afternoon.
By Jim Fenton
EASTON - He spent the first eight games of the 2014 Stonehill College football season observing from the sideline.
That all changed on Nov. 1 when Matt Foltz was called on to make his collegiate debut as the Skyhawks' starting quarterback.
Stonehill had a 3-5 record at the time and was struggling offensively when coach Robert Talley turned to the 6-foot-7 Foltz, who picked up valuable experience while making three straight starts.
Now a sophomore, Foltz enters the 2015 as the Skyhawks' starter after completing 46 of 72 passes for 609 yards at the end of last season.
"It was exciting, but also I knew I had a lot of work to do,'' said Foltz. "Getting in those last three games made me realize what it's going to take to be a good quarterback here. Hopefully everything I've done in the offseason has paid off now.''
Foltz will have a homecoming when Stonehill begins its season in Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon against 11th-ranked Bloomsburg University.
The Mount Joy, Pa., resident lives about 90 minutes south of the of the Bloomsburg campus, a place he has never visited.
There will be plenty of family members and friends on hand for Foltz's fourth career start as he looks to build on a strong beginning last fall.
"I think it's huge having that experience,'' said Talley. "When he goes into Bloomsburg, always a really good defensive team, it won't be his first game playing. He's used to being in that spotlight.
"I'm glad we got him those last few games. He had some success and there's things he can learn from in those three games.''
Said Foltz: "I think it's pretty big having played. You can't replicate live game situations in practice. You can practice all you want, but it's just not the same. It's a different speed when you get in live action.''
Foltz was named the Northeast-10 Conference and USA College Football Division 2 rookie of the week after his first two games against Saint Anselm College and Assumption College.
Being 6-foot-7 gives Foltz an advantage as he stands in the pocket and looks downfield as defensive linemen are usually unable to swat passes away.
"Being able to see over the line and throwing the ball, you don't really have to worry too many times about getting your ball batted down by a defensive lineman,'' said Foltz. "You can throw over a lot of people, which is a huge help.''
Even with his size, Foltz showed the ability to get out and run, carrying the ball 36 times for 121 yards and a team-leading six rushing touchdowns last season.
"He has a live arm, he's 6-7 and he can run,'' said Talley. "So when you have a good athlete back there at quarterback who is smart, you definitely feel very good about it.''
Said Foltz: "I'm probably looked at as a pocket passer, but I can definitely run. I'm definitely athletic enough to make some plays with my legs and get out of the pocket.''
After waiting eight games to get a chance to play last season, Foltz will be taking snaps right away this season.
"The great thing about him is he's just a smart kid,'' said Talley of the economics major. "It starts with that. He's able to handle stuff. He's a guy who learns after the first mistake. He doesn't keep on making the same mistake. And the team believes in him, which I think is a big part of it.''