TRAVERSE CITY — Parker Guss has been waiting a year for this opportunity.
Guss will join his St. Francis teammates on the football field Monday as practice officially gets underway for high school teams around the state. It's been a long wait for the 17-year-old quarterback, who had shoulder surgery last August and missed the entire 2012 season.
"It was horrible," Guss said. "I wanted to be out there every second. It was rough to sit there and watch. I have a chance to make up for it this season."
Guss, an All-State golfer, dislocated his left shoulder playing basketball his sophomore season. He had repeated problems with it and tried physical therapy for a few months. But he he re-injured it last summer.
"I went up to catch a ball and it came out real easily," he said.
An MRI revealed a torn labrum. Surgery followed.
To prepare for the rigors of fall, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Guss spent countless hours in the weight room — and at team conditioning sessions — this summer. Guss said he is "100 percent ready to go."
"I'm working hard and doing everything I can to make sure this is a great season," he said.
St. Francis, which is coming an uncharacteristic 4-5 season, will not be the only Traverse City team breaking in a new quarterback.
Traverse City Central must replace two-year starter T.J. Schepperly, who led the Trojans to a Big North Conference title and a home playoff win. Schepperly rushed for 1,331 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 957 yards and eight more scores.
"Having a kid (like Schepperly) for two years was an extreme luxury," Central coach Tom Passinault said.
Sean Williams and Anthony Kratovil will vie for the job.
West will be without Donny Cizek, perhaps the most prolific passer in the area. Cizek completed 124 of 189 passes for 1,848 yards and 20 touchdowns. So who will fill that spot?