Being the quarterback of such a successful team can put a lot of pressure on someone, but Marden is handling it like a true leader.
“I try not to let the pressure get to me,” Marden says. “I only really feel nervous on my way to the game, whether it be on the bus or the walk down to the locker room. But when I put my pads on, the pressure goes away, and I am able to focus on the game.”
The sophomore’s teammates share his optimism.
“Connor is one of the few players that is always focused before each game and practice,” senior receiver River Hain says. “He leads by example, does everything right and takes more criticism than anyone else on the team, but he doesn’t react. He just does it right the next time.”
Most of Marden’s criticism comes from head coach Golden Anderson, but despite the criticism, Anderson has complete faith in his sophomore quarterback.
“He makes good decisions off the field,” Anderson says. “So when it comes to football at the quarterback position he’s able to make the smart decisions necessary for success.”
Success came quickly for the young quarterback. He led the Padres to a 49-29 victory against North Salinas High, a game in which Marden threw for over 300 yards and three passing touchdowns.
This game featured a momentous occasion in Marden’s young career: his first touchdown.
“It felt really good,” says Marden of the moment. “It just got everything off my shoulders and gave me a sense of reassurance that I could do it.”
Marden’s first game also brought with it the sensation of winning on a big stage.
“It feels great to win,” Marden says. “Everyone is just really happy, and you can just go on for the rest of the day and be happy when you think back on the game.”
However, Marden soon tasted defeat as well. The second game of the season for the Padres was against Soquel, a game in which Carmel was defeated 48-20.
The soft-spoken leader played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for 170 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions; however, Marden was not at peace with the loss.
“It feels horrible to lose,” Marden says. “Everyone is super quiet and no one wants to talk about it. All you can really do after a loss is find out what you can do to prepare for the next game so you don’t have this feeling again.”
Marden left the Soquel game early due to an injury to his knee. Although Marden did not return to the game, he did return to practice the following week with a vengeance.
He went into their third game wanting nothing more than to win over Everett Alvarez High School, and he did just that. Marden threw for four touchdowns putting him at the top of the leader board for Monterey County.
He executed his role perfectly in Carmel’s 49-12 victory over Alvarez. Marden did not throw a single incompletion for the entirety of the game.
“My success that game was all due to the receivers catching all their balls, and the offensive line gave me great protection,” Marden says. “They deserve all the credit, I just did my job.”