By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
When the 2019 football season kicks off August 23 Forrest Brock will be two inches taller, 12-13 pounds heavier and a whole lot stronger than he was beginning last fall as a sophomore new to varsity.
Palisades High’s rifle-armed junior quarterback won the starting job in the middle of the season and piloted three league victories before suffering a fractured collar bone that forced him to watch the team’s Open Division playoff game at Eagle Rock from the sideline with his arm in a sling.
“It’s very unfortunate because we were on such a role and the injury occurred when we were up big,” Brock said. “I couldn’t start throwing for two or three months.”
This summer Brock honed his skills at camps at Fresno St. and UCLA and showed accuracy at the Culver City 7-on-7 passing tournament two weeks ago.
“I’m bigger and I’ve been lifting, working out, I’ve got better footwork, I have more velocity on the ball and improved mental strength,” said Brock, who lives in Topanga and went to Paul Revere Middle School for 6th and 8th grades and West Hills Chaminade for 7th. “The biggest thing I learned last year was to stay calm, to be a cool customer. I felt like I was ready for varsity going into the season and being No. 2 on the depth chart motivated me to work as hard as I could.”
Brock played wide receiver in his first season in Pop Warner with the Santa Monica Vikings and never got the ball.
“I caught maybe one pass, so I decided then and there to switch to quarterback where I can touch the ball every play,” he said.
While his presence and leadership are his biggest assets Brock is not afraid to leave the pocket.
“He had a really good spring running a club 7-on-7 team and took control of our offense during spring and summer practices,” Pali High Coach Tim Hyde said. “He has a lot to work on but I expect him to have a special season.”
Brock was named Rookie of the Year for the junior varsity team as a freshman after sharing quarterback duties with Nick Ghysels and helping the Dolphins to a 10-0 record and the league title while outscoring the opposition 330-20.
When his number was called in the second quarter of last year’s Western League opener against Fairfax, Brock was ready. Having seen only limited action as the backup to senior Daniel Hayes over the first five games, Brock provided a much-needed spark to the offense and piloted three scoring drives, completing 11 of 16 passes for 149 yards. The Dolphins’ comeback fell one touchdown short, but their young quarterback earned his teammates’ trust and respect in the huddle. His one-yard sneak ended an 11-play, 68-yard march that cut the Lions’ lead to 30-23 with 2:32 left.
The next week Brock made his first varsity start and completed 12 of 14 attempts for 179 yards and a touchdown in a 20-6 win at previously unbeaten Westchester.
Displaying poise far beyond his years, Brock had a shaky first quarter in the rain against Venice.The game was suspended until the next afternoon due to lightning and when it resumed he threw two touchdown passes to help the Dolphins upset their archrivals 24-17.
In the Dolphins’ homecoming contest against University, Brock tossed a pair of touchdown passes and scrambled 27 yards on a keeper before being knocked out of bounds in the third quarter and suffering the injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
“Last year I played against the three best opponents we played so I didn’t get to pad the stats much,” Brock said. “This year is going to be crazy.”