WORCESTER — The best quarterback to play high school football in Massachusetts was so deep into an afternoon nap Saturday that even his alarm didn’t wake him.
Phillips Exeter coach Bill Glennon, who is coaching Jonathan DiBiaso for one post-graduate season before the Everett native ascends to Dartmouth College, wasn’t the least bit surprised.
Glennon hasn’t spent much time with DiBiaso, but he’s already learned one thing that makes him so good, no matter who he’s playing, at any level, with even the most nit-picky scouts watching.
DiBiaso is always relaxed.
And in his second start since high school, playing against a strong squad from Worcester Academy, he didn’t flinch, going 9 for 13 with 127 yards and three touchdowns as Exeter rolled in a 34-13 victory.
“He just doesn’t panic,” Glennon marveled afterward. “He’s so laid back.
“And I’ll tell you the best thing: You get a kid that is that good and has been that good for so long at a great program, and you can get a prima donna. But you watch him, and even if someone makes a mistake, it’s OK.”
On the opposite side, D.J. Crook of Barnstable was under center for Worcester, and hurled a touch-pass on his first play of the game that connected with Robert Hansen for a 56-yard gain.
But the rest of the evening was forgettable for the former Old Colony League All-Star.
Crook’s line of 17 for 29 passing with 271 yards didn’t look too bad, but his four interceptions were too much to overcome.
DiBiaso’s night was almost the opposite.
Exeter used mostly a spread attack, featuring a pair of electric running backs in Andreas Robinson and Devin Carrillo.
DiBiaso wasn’t throwing bombs, but he probably didn’t make a bad pass all night. He protected the ball, made accurate throws, scrambled when he needed to, and even put together a few nice rushes. One even ended in a crunching hit that seemed necessary to reach the first-down marker.
Glennon was impressed, but DiBiaso’s father, John, cringed.
“I’d rather have him get out of bounds,” the elder DiBiaso said. “He’s got to learn. When you get to college, the guys are bigger. You have to get out of bounds. I’ll tell him that.”
Jonathon has been learning a lot since arriving at Exeter.
He’s been showing up to practices and film studies early to work with Glennon and leaving late, using the extra time to create new routes for receivers and enhance the playbook.
When DiBiaso approached the line in a third-quarter play, with his team just 15 yards from the end zone, he called an audible, sending his outside receiver to a fade, sensing Worcester would rush outside linebackers and leave his slot receiver, Carrillo, open.
Seconds later, Carrillo scored easily on a 15-yard post.
“From the start, [Glennon] has given me more freedom,” DiBiaso said. “I can throw my ideas and do what I’m comfortable with. That’s the most important thing from the start.
“It’s going to be a different offense than what I’ve ran my entire life, and I have to be comfortable doing what we’re doing and I have to adjust to it.”
Glennon figures that as the running game gets better, he’ll be able to let his star quarterback start slinging downfield. But for now, DiBiaso is being smart.
“He just gets it,” Glennon said. “He’ll play at Dartmouth sooner rather than later. He’ll be able to make that adjustment, and if he’s not starting by the time he’s the sophomore . . . I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t.”