As if to prove a point, Jackson Erdmann and Dimitri Williams gave the exact same response.
The reigning co-offensive players of the year in the South Suburban Conference, the Rosemount football stars are a main reason that many have the Irish pegged as a favorite to return to the Class 6A Prep Bowl — a game they lost a year ago to Eden Prairie.
And for Erdmann, the quarterback, and Williams, the all-purpose athlete, this will be their fourth year playing together — third on varsity — and the familiarity is almost scary at times, Erdmann said.
As if on cue: “We know exactly what the other is thinking,” the seniors both said, despite being asked separately about what makes them click on the field.
“Say it’s a certain route, I’ll know exactly when to throw it for him and he’ll know exactly when to get his head around and make the play,” Erdmann explained. “We’re just really on the same page.”
Williams and Erdmann, No. 1 and No. 2 on the roster, respectively, will be options one and two for the Irish’s high-powered offense this season. Both are being recruited by Division I schools — North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Wyoming, and, for Williams, the Gophers, among a steadily growing list. And both have spent the long offseason working at improving their games.
They spent the winter running routes and throwing with their teammates in the Rosemount dome, and this summer, they’ve helped lead the Irish’s three-day-a-week workout program.
The 5-11, 170-pound Williams has worked with a personal trainer to improve his speed and agility. He ran a sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash this summer.
Erdmann has worked to improve his accuracy and added some weight to his frame to “hopefully make it harder for people to bring me down.”
In between, they’ve found time with their Rosemount teammates to dominate a long stretch of seven-on-seven games. The Irish were host to a four-team league each Wednesday night and participated in two tournaments, one that the Gophers held. Rosemount went unbeaten for the summer.
“We have some really good receivers and some younger guys that are coming up for us this year,” Williams said. “Our offense is looking pretty good; I’d say a lot better than last year.”
Rosemount traditionally has been a running team, often using double-wing formations and misdirection to take advantage of its athletic abilities. That plays right into Williams’ game, because he moves around positions on offense. He combined for 1,321 yards rushing and receiving a year ago.
For his part, Erdmann completed 55.1 percent of his passes for 1,801 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013.
Just as quick as they might be to find each other for a completion during a game, both Erdmann and Williams immediately deflect individual attention when heaped on them.
All the Irish players are “like brothers,” they both said, and everyone feels like they have unfinished business from a year ago.
“We have something to prove, for sure,” Erdmann said.
And Williams completed the thought: “We want to end that last [game] with a win. That’s what we’re both thinking about.”