Lee, Snyder lead area's top passing attacks into conference bout

Lee, Snyder lead area's top passing attacks into conference bout

CHAMPAIGN — The statistics are staggering — a 54.8 completion percentage, 760 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.

Those are the combined passing figures of the area's two leading prep quarterbacks through just a pair of games apiece.

And they'll go head to head tonight.

Monticello senior Braden Snyder and St. Thomas More senior Bryson Lee are clicking on all cylinders entering tonight's Illini Prairie Conference contest in Champaign.

Snyder has yet to complete a full four quarters as the Sages are rolling at a perfect 2-0. Yet the second-year starter has completed 18 of 23 passes for 400 yards, seven touchdowns and no picks.

"I had a couple of seniors from last season tell me how much more comfortable he looks out there," Monticello coach Cully Welter said. "I thought that was an interesting perspective. As I look back at film (from) last year, I agree with that assessment."

Lee, meanwhile, is up to his usual dual-threat activities since committing to Idaho in the offseason.

The brother of current Vandals athlete DJ Lee, Bryson has hit 16 of 39 tosses for 360 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in STM's 1-1 start. That's a great complement to his 140 rushing yards and three rushing scores on just 13 carries.

"My freshman and sophomore year, I was a wide receiver. So my vision is still a wide receiver vision," Lee said. "When I'm in the pocket, I just see the field and I can take off and run."

Both Snyder and Lee have displayed a penchant for racking up lengthy scoring efforts, something the STM and Monticello defenses will need to be wary of tonight.

None of Snyder's touchdown passes have gone for less than 15 yards, with three of them exceeding 40 yards.

"I do believe he has a greater ability to get everybody where they need to be on a play and still handle his responsibilities," Welter said. "I think that part was overwhelming for him, at times, last year."

In the Sabers' 38-32 triumph over Olympia last week — STM's first victory since Sept. 1, 2017 — Lee chucked the pigskin for two touchdowns of more than 50 yards and sprinted for a 78-yard score.

"Being the kid that wasn't as big my freshman, sophomore year and actually developing and growing more my junior and senior year," the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Lee said, "it just feels great."

What would feel especially grand for coach Nathan Watson's STM program is if it could snag a defining win against Monticello, ranked sixth in the latest Associated Press Class 3A top 10 poll.

The Sages are well aware Lee would be a crucial part of any such upset.

"It is a huge challenge to defend somebody who has the potential to hit a home run on any play," Welter said. "A dual-threat quarterback is the hardest thing to defend at the high school level, in my estimation."