Football: Willmar's Streed makes plays, no matter the position
Now at WR and CB, Cards senior captain has shown versatility over the years
WILLMAR — Jacob Streed has worn many hats during his time as a Willmar football player.
Joining the varsity as a sophomore, he was in a quarterback rotation with Alex Schramm. As a junior, he would come in as a tight end. Now a senior captain, he’ll be in another new position at wide receiver.
On the defensive end, he’ll also be changing positions, moving from safety to cornerback.
And on special teams, Streed is Willmar’s punter.
“It’s been interesting,” Streed said of all his positional shifts. “It is nice knowing that the coaches can trust me at every position and say, ‘hey, we’re going to put you here this week’ or ‘hey, you’re going to be here this week,’ knowing they have that trust in me that I can learn.
“It is a little difficult getting used to a position and being told next week that you’ll be at a different one. It’s really nice knowing they have that trust in me.”
Regardless of the position, the coaches want Streed on the field as much as possible when the Cardinals open the 2022 season at 7 p.m. Friday against St. Cloud Apollo at Hodapp Field.
“He’s a gamer; when he’s out there, he steps it up a level,” said Willmar head coach Jon Konold. “Seeing him going from the scrimmages we had this summer to the scrimmages we had this past Saturday, everything gets a little more intense and a little faster. I just think he’s ready to go for the season and enjoy his senior year.”
Going into summer camp, Streed admits he was surprised when the coaches told him he’d be going to wideout. Streed thought he’d be QB1.
“Right away it was a little weird,” Streed said. “Show up on the first day and getting told I was going to be a receiver, it was tough to take in. I’ve adapted and I like the position as of now.”
Willmar was in need of some playmakers on the outside following the graduation of Brandt Sunder and Cade Roelofs. Playing at receiver, Streed can offer some senior stability alongside fellow captain Sam Raitz as new quarterback Cullen Gregory gets acclimated running the offense.
Having that QB background has been beneficial in knowing the concepts and routes.
“He has a very good idea of what our route concepts are and what we’re trying to do in the passing game,” said wide receivers coach Brad Foss. “Him knowing what he’s doing and what our other wide receivers are doing, it really makes us a well-oiled machine out there.”
After using his arm to move the ball downfield in the past, Streed’s work began with improving his hands.
“Just based on how I’ve played, I got the breaks down and the route-running down,” Streed said, “but it was definitely the hand-eye coordination needed for catching (that needed work).”
Through summer camps and 7-on-7 passing league, Streed got reps. What has come naturally to Streed, according to Foss, is his physicality, which has helped in run blocking on the outside.
On defense, Streed is looking to reform that physicality at cornerback, which relies more on man-to-man coverage.
“Jacob’s a physical kid playing corner, so he’s learned to engage with the offensive player,” Konold said. “Being able to jam and run with and be more physical. We like to play him on the boundary because he’s a more physical corner and a little better tackler. He can cover the fade route a little better than our younger guys.”
Konold added, “We challenged him and he’s stood up to the challenge. And he’s not afraid to compete.”
If there was a lack of confidence in how Streed was performing in these new roles, he got a big morale boost during the Cardinals’ scrimmages Saturday against Buffalo and Princeton.
“It was a lot more smooth than I thought it would be,” Streed said about facing live action. “Going into some of the team camps (this summer) with Marshall and (St. Cloud) Tech, I was kind of iffy, not really knowing what was going on. But going into the Buffalo and Princeton scrimmages was smoother than I expected.”
Now heading into Week 1, Streed’s confidence is high.
“It helped me kind of understand that I do know what’s going on and that I can make the plays I know I’ve been able to do,” he said. “It has helped the mental game a lot.”
No matter the position he’s listed as on the roster, Streed’s a football player that’ll make things happen.
“Jacob’s the ultimate team guy,” Konold said. “He’ll do whatever it takes for our team to be successful on the field. His leadership has been tremendous.”
While Willmar opens the season Friday, St. Cloud Apollo will be playing its second game.
In a Zero Week matchup on Thursday, the Eagles lost 46-0 to defending Class AAAA champs Hutchinson.
The Tigers put up 347 yards of total offense to Apollo’s 72, according to the Hutchinson Leader newspaper.
Quarterback Da’vion Jackson was 4 of 13 passing for 29 yards. His top receiver was Karamo Kaba with 22 yards on three receptions. The Eagles’ leading rusher was Will Allenspach with 59 yards on 14 carries.
In 2021, Willmar beat Apollo in the Cardinals’ season opener, 19-18.
Willmar has won the last four meetings against the Eagles by a combined score of 122-43. Apollo’s last win in the series was a 26-24 overtime victory on Oct. 6, 2017.