Saugus graduates Nathan Eldridge and Quinn Sheaffer could hardly believe their high school playing days were over after the Cents’ 2017 CIF-Southern Section Division 6 second round loss to eventual champions Bishop Diego.
But an opportunity for both about 20 miles from home meant their days playing together weren’t over, yet.
Eldridge, who played quarterback last for Saugus, finished his three-year varsity career throwing for 3,217 yards and 38 touchdowns to go along with 20 interceptions in 31 games played, according to MaxPreps.com. Sheaffer was the team’s running back, finishing a two-year varsity career with 2,075 yards on 368 carries and 11 total touchdowns.
Neither were highly sought-after recruits after graduation, but Glendale Community College gave the two a chance to play
“I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to continue playing football and I was thinking to go (an NCAA Division III) school,” Eldridge said.
A couple weeks into the summer, Eldridge’s parents received a call from his seventh-grade football coach, Don Scott, who had ties to the Glendale Community College football team.
“He told my parents that he thought that I had better talent than a D-3 school — and that if we worked a little and developed my mechanics, I could get the scholarships that I wanted,” Eldridge said. “We got in contact with (Glendale CC football coach) John Rome right away and let him know that I would be joining the team. I could tell that he had my best interests in mind, and that with time, I could develop.”
Sheaffer’s commitment process was a little trickier.
Initially enrolling at College of the Canyons and trying out for the football team, Sheaffer was one of about 15 running backs on the summer roster and had the option of sitting the 2018 season out and “grey shirt.”
With the log jam at running back, Sheaffer opted to focus on academics and work for the near future.
The following week, Sheaffer attended a Saugus game and saw Eldridge in the stands.
“He told me that coach Rome still wanted me to come out and that they needed help at the position,” Sheaffer said.
Initially, Sheaffer didn’t think it could work because of his work schedule and the commute from his Stevenson Ranch home to Glendale.
After talking to his boss and reworking his schedule, Sheaffer told Rome he was in.
“I text coach Rome the week of their first game,” Sheaffer said. “It was like the very last opportunity to join and get into classes on time, and that’s how it all started.”
Now six weeks into the season, the GCC football team is coming off their first victory, after a 40-14 Road win against Metro League opponent Compton College on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Back together and just like in high school, the duo made headlines as Eldridge was named the Offensive Player of the Week, finishing with four total touchdown, two passing and two rushing, and Sheaffer also found paydirt scoring once, with a total of seven carries for 29 yards.
“I think they look very bright,” Rome said of their football futures. “I know they will be prepared academically for whatever institution likes them as players. It’s a combination of who needs what and what their major is.”
From no offers, to making college headlines, the Eldridge and Sheaffer duo will look to turn some more heads in the future.