Well past midnight, after the University of Puget Sound football team finally arrived back on campus after its season-opening game in California, and quarterback Hans Fortune couldn’t get his mind off the mistakes made in the game.
As soon as he stepped through the front door at his fraternity, he headed directly to his room, turned on his laptop and began reviewing game footage from the overtime win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Twenty minutes elapsed, and Fortune remain deep in study. Four interceptions will sometimes do that to a player, even in a game the Loggers wound up winning.
And by the time a group of his teammates — who happen to also to be fraternity brothers — arrived to rescue him, they noticed he was in an almost trance-like state of focus.
“Classic move by Hans,” said Max McGuinn, the Loggers’ starting tailback. “It is definitely sometimes hard to get him out.”
Finally, almost reluctantly, Fortune agreed to join his buddies on the town.
“I had to go back for myself to watch and know what I did, because I replayed (the game) in my head the whole flight home,” Fortune said. “But my friends came in and said, ‘You are not watching this anymore.’
“It was my 21st birthday four days before that.”
One thing is for sure — Fortune, the big-armed junior from Kenmore, can throw a football. When he gets in a groove, he puts up big numbers in a hurry in the Loggers’ offense.
Throwing for an average of 382.5 yards per game, Fortune – the Northwest Conference passing leader — ranks No. 2 in the country in NCAA Division III behind Joe Callahan (384.0 ypg) of Delaware’s Wesley College.
Fortune’s first career start last season came after incumbent Braden Foley was injured in the season opener. Fortune threw for 533 yards and five touchdowns in a 34-32 loss at Occidental in the second game of the season.
This season, he opened with 334 yards at Claremont and 431 yards against Occidental on Sept. 12 in Tacoma.
Fortunate may have a hard time surpassing Foley’s school-record career yardage total of 6,656 the next two seasons, but he will have a great chance of having a better per-start career average (Foley was at 221.9 ypg; Fortune is at 209.3).
“Really, the only thing they have in common is they are both great passers,” UPS coach Jeff Thomas said. “Braden would walk into a room and know everybody’s name. Hans is universally respected for putting in all the work to be prepared for game day.”
In other words, whereas Foley could take command of a huddle with his personality, Fortune is more of a lead-by-example signal caller.
“I am a little bit less big-picture outgoing as Braden was,” Fortune said. “In individual groups, I will talk. I don’t lead chants before the game. I have more of a schizo work attitude. If guys are having trouble, I will work with them after practice.
“I don’t care about being the face of stuff.”
Fortune very much lives how he studies.
An International Baccalaureate student from Inglemoor High School, he holds a 3.8 grade-point average taking advanced honors classes while pursuing a double major in economics and business and a minor in mathematics.
After their loss to Occidental, the Loggers have been on a 2 1/2-week break heading into their conference opener Saturday at Willamette.
The down time allowed Fortune to keep up with his massive academic workload.
“I am pretty busy between football and school,” Fortune said.
He also knows he greatly benefited from sitting behind Foley for two seasons.
“He made his mistakes in front of everybody on game days, but they were in front of me, too,” Fortune said. “I saw them, and learned some of the smaller points it takes to run this offense.”
Fortune is also part of something Foley never had to be — a quarterback rotation. He is the undisputed starter, but Thomas is committed to playing Tanner Diebold and Nick Nestingen as change-up playmakers, mostly as runners.
“Half my job is to get him to smile, and be more of an assertive leader,” Thomas said. “The guy puts in a tremendous amount of work on film.
“He is getting much better with his progressions. If he continues to make that kind of progress, the possibilities with him are endless.”
HANDICAPPING THE NORTHWEST CONFERENCE
As NWC play opens this weekend, here is The News Tribune’s predicted order of finish for conference football this season, starting with defending champion Linfield:
1. LINFIELD (2-0): Legitimate national title contender with Sam Riddle at QB, and quality big bodies on both lines.
2. PACIFIC (2-1): With QB Warner Shaw and most of defensive front seven returning, clear No. 2 behind Linfield.
3. WHITWORTH (3-0): High-powered offense led by QB Ian Kolste — and defense is much better than a year ago.
4. PACIFIC LUTHERAN (0-2): Lots of new faces, but lots of reason for optimism with talented freshman class.
5. PUGET SOUND (1-1): If Loggers end up with first winning mark since 2006, Jeff Thomas a NWC coach of year candidate.
6. WILLAMETTE (0-2): Last non-Linfield school to win NWC title (2008), Bearcats won’t be anywhere near that in 2015.
7. GEORGE FOX (2-1): With 80 returners, led by QB Grant Schroeder and RB John Shaffer, program is on the rise.
8. LEWIS & CLARK (0-2): Jay Locey once was on top of the conference as coach at Linfield. Now he will see opposite view.