Heber Springs senior running back/safety Chandler Marquardt, known simply as 'Q' by teammates and coaches, burst onto the scene last year in the opening week when he rushed for 232 yards and a touchdown while making 11 receptions for 128 yards and two more scores at Pottsville.
Heber Springs senior running back/safety Chandler Marquardt, known simply as ‘Q’ by teammates and coaches, burst onto the scene last year in the opening week when he rushed for 232 yards and a touchdown while making 11 receptions for 128 yards and two more scores at Pottsville.
Marquardt (5-11, 180), a three-year starter with 4.5 speed, quickly became the focus of opposing defenses for the remainder of the season. Using his powerful, old-school downhill running style, ‘Q’ continued to find success over the next five weeks, running for over 100 yards in each game, including Harding Academy (151), Gentry (139), Lonoke (165), Stuttgart (156) and Marianna-Lee (121).
Newport finally slowed Marquardt in Week 7, holding him to nine yards on eight attempts. Hampered by a leg injury, Q would rush for 59 yards the following week in a win over Southside Batesville and 58 yards in a 35-33 loss to bitter rival Clinton.
For the season, Q ran for 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns on 166 carries, while making 31 receptions for 393 yards and three scores for a grand total of 1,483 yards and 13 touchdowns on 197 touches.
That kind of production makes No. 20 a marked man coming into his senior season.
“The thing about Marquardt is he is a great athlete. He is physically strong and has great speed,” said Heber Coach David Farr. “Q is not a prima donna at all. He shows up every day hungry, works hard. He is one of, if not the hardest working kids I have ever coached. I do expect people to key on him as they should. He is a good running back but he is not the kind of guy that lets pressure get to him. I think this year we will see a whole different speed out of him.
“Last year he did a lot of great things for us. But this year he has grown so much physically and mentally I just want to see him play. I am excited about seeing what he can do. He is a committed kid. He is what you want out of a leader. His work ethic is incredible. We are very blessed to have him and I know he will do great things for us this year,” added Farr.
Marquardt, who benches 280 pounds, squats 460 and power cleans 260 ¬ leads by example, letting his play speak for itself in games and practice.
“I just want my teammates to know I am in it with them through the grind and push them,” said Q. “I just try to keep my head down and grind. Every time I get the ball I try to do the best I can with it and make the fans proud of our team.”
Marquardt has an uncanny knack for lowering his shoulder to push the pile or using his patented stiff-arm to reach the edge, where he is hard to corral. He rarely goes down after initial contact.
Q broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown run versus Harding Academy. At Stuttgart, he had 67-yard touchdown catch in which he stiff-armed a defender while working his way to the sideline, where he outran two defenders with pursuit angles.
“It’s exhilarating,” said Marquardt of his numerous big plays. “It’s a lot of fun. All of the hard work pays off right there and I’ve got to thank the offensive line on those [big plays]. I like to run behind Zack ‘Red’ McCormick and Dylan Platt. They can open up a hole you can drive a truck through.”
The humble Marquardt, who led the Panthers in receiving last year, said his ability to make plays in the passing game helps to keep opponents honest. “As a running back you’ve got to be able to catch so that helps my game. They can’t just worry about the run the whole time. They’ve got worry about the pass too. So, it’s good to be versatile.”
While playing outside linebacker last season, Marquardt was second on the team in tackles, racking up 30 solo stops and five assisted while recovering one fumble. He shifts to safety for his senior season.
Playing both ways is a tough task, but one Marquardt embraces.
“Obviously you’ve got to know what you are doing both ways and when we come out here and condition you’ve got to work. Just putting in all that blood and sweat pays off.”
The move to safety is not completely new for Q. “They played me as a hybrid linebacker/safety last year and rolled me down a lot. This year I will be more back in the secondary covering receivers.”
Farr said pushing Q back to safety should help several aspects of the defense. “He is a guy that can play two on one out of Cover 2 and make some plays on the football. He has good breaking speed to the ball, good ball skills and the main thing with a safety is to be willing to stick your nose in there. He definitely has that.
“We played him at linebacker some in the past because he wants to get involved, get his hat in there and make plays. Getting a guy like that at safety is good. We know he will come up on run fits and he is also good enough to play in space. Q and Dillion [Moore] our other safety, can make the tackle if something breaks down. I feel real good about Q back there making the tackle.”
In his spare time Marquardt enjoys relaxing, whether fishing or just hanging out with family and friends. “I like to fish, hang out and chill at the house. I just like to be outside a lot,” added Marquardt.