DOVER — Esayah Obado made sure to reintroduce himself at Delaware State’s spring game on Saturday afternoon.
Obado threw four touchdowns in the Hornets’ annual Red-White football scrimmage. This came after he sat out all of last season with a lower back injury as Delstate slumped to a 2-10 overall record.
It was also the first time new Hornet coach Kenny Carter could see Obado in something close to a real game situation. Carter came away impressed.
“I thought he was the best he’s been all spring,” Carter said.
Still, the starting quarterback for the season opener, Saturday, Sept 5 at Liberty, won’t be determined until the end of fall camp.
Obado received most of the first-team reps in this spring camp and is competing with Gilbert Rivera, a junior college transfer who received most of the starts in 2014, and incoming freshman Kobie Lain who chose DelState over Tulane, Nichols State and Valparaiso among other schools.
“Right now Esayah’s done a really nice job of showing he has the ability to lead the team from that position,” Carter said. “But the freshman is going to come in and he’s going to push him. Kobie is a really good quarterback and I’m anxious to see what happens then you have to throw Rivera into the mix. It’s a good situation.”
Obado last played in a collegiate game Nov. 16, 2013 at Florida A&M as a redshirt freshman. He was going to be the Hornets starter a year ago, but suffered the season-ending injury in the week before the first game.
“It really feels great to get back out there in the huddle with the guys,” he said. “I’m definitely fully healed. It took about 12 weeks then a couple more weeks of therapy, but at the end of the day, I’m here and ready for the season.”
Obado didn’t waste any time on Saturday, connecting with his first three passes of the scrimmage to lead the offense into the red zone. His first touchdown was to tight end Nate Ortiz for a 27-yard gain.
He showed off a variety of throws too. He found Aris Scott on a deep route for a 34-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone, hooked up with Marquel Knight on a 14-yard out pattern for his third touchdown and hit Scott again, this time on a 13-yard slant for his final touchdown of the day.
“I felt like my normal self,” Obado said. “I saw some good things out there. We were able to move the ball which is something we struggled with last year. The receivers made some big plays, the offensive linemen were holding their blocks and there’s a sense of cohesion.”
Obado was also battling through a minor injury according to Carter.
“Why I really liked him today is because he tweaked his ankle two days ago,” Carter said. “He had to have some mental toughness to play through that injury. He showed us a lot by doing that.”
Rivera also threw for a touchdown. The two quarterbacks combined for zero intercepts.
The biggest difference in Carter’s offense compared to what the Hornets did under former coach Kermit Blount was also apparent — there was no huddling on offense. Like most of the college football world, the Hornets are trying an up-tempo offense this season.
“We had no type of tempo last year,” Scott said. “I think we’re confident in what we’re doing, learning the plays and putting together this new system. Once we get it going, it’s going to be a heck of an offense.”