Palmyra places their trust in Arch

Panthers quarterback Collin Arch throws a pass during a training camp drill at Palmyra High School on Tuesday. Arch has been working on improving his game during the offseason in preparation of taking over the starting quarterback job.

PALMYRA, Mo. — For the past several seasons, a Lehenbauer has been behind center for Palmyra.

With Brody Lehenbauer graduating and his older brother Corder Lehenbauer graduating the year before, that will not be the case this season.

Enter junior Collin Arch, who is set to take over as Palmyra’s starting quarterback after serving as the primary backup in 2020.

“All summer long, (Arch) has led the seven-on-sevens and did everything we needed him to do to be that guy,” said Palmyra football head coach Kevin Miles. “He works hard in the weight room and just has been a winner on and off the field. I think he’s assumed the role when Brody graduated. Collin came into this summer knowing it was his job to lose and he’s done a great job of being a leader for us.”

Miles added it will be different not having one of the Lehenbauer brothers as Palmyra’s starting quarterback.

“It’s been a long time since we haven’t had (either) Brody or Corder back there,” Miles said. “I know Collin is excited and has done a good job. He is ready to get out there with the team and be the guy we need him to be.”

Arch said he learned a lot during his time as the second-string quarterback.

“(Brody) taught me a lot of stuff during practice and in games,” Arch said. “(This offseason), I have just done a lot of lifting and running sprints. I’m working on throwing, learning routes and the playbook.”

Prior to this summer, Arch had spent more time playing in the defensive backfield and was a starting safety on last year’s team.

When Arch did get a chance to play offensively, he was known for his rushing ability.

“Collin is a lot different of a quarterback than Brody is,” Miles said. “He throws the ball well and has done some good things to improve his passing game, but he’s going to be a tough runner. A tough kid who we are going to utilize in a lot of different ways.”

Senior running back Landyn Smith said he expects Arch will do an excellent job as Palmyra’s starting quarterback.

“Brody was more of a gunslinger, so we passed a lot last season,” Smith said. “I don’t see that changing with Collin, besides he is more of a scrambling type of quarterback. But he can still sling it.”

Arch has been handed the keys to a Porsche, inheriting the signal caller’s role on a team that finished 12-1 last season and advanced to the Class 2 state semifinal game.

Although Palmyra graduated running backs Wade Begley and Ross Arch, along with wide receiver Zane Meyers and tight end Abe Haerr; the Panthers returns several key weapons offensively.

Among those weapons returning include Smith, junior wide receiver Hayes Miller, junior running back/wide receiver Ryan McKeown and senior wideout Christian Johnson.

Arch feels like those players, along will others will step up to fill the shoes of the seniors who graduated from last year’s team.

“We’ve been throwing a lot more,” Arch said. “Everybody’s talking about how we are not going to be much of a passing team, but I think we will surprise some people.”

Arch will also have the benefit of playing behind a strong offensive line.

“I think the line is really going to help with (running the football),” Arch said. “The pass will compliment the run.”

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