There was one series during Dickinson’s 49-6 Week 4 rout of Katy Taylor on Sept. 20 in which Gators senior quarterback Mike Welch tucked the ball, ran, and appeared to fall in the vicinity of a Mustangs player.
That should have been a stop for Taylor, but the 6-foot, 185-pound Welch kept his balance and darted for the end zone, putting a damper on the homecoming festivities at Legacy Stadium in Katy. He tallied five scores on the night.
Welch, a three-year letterman, has come a long way since he suffered an injury in his sophomore year, around the same time his hometown was recovering from Hurricane Harvey. But like the community itself after the storm, the signal-caller showed tremendous resiliency.
As a junior, Welch led Dickinson to a 10-2 record and a 49-21 bi-district victory over Pearland. Now in his final season as the Gators’ field general, Welch helms one of the top teams in Class 6A.
“He’s definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the State of Texas,” head coach John Snelson told Texas Scorecard. “Just an outstanding leader and football player.”
Snelson said that Welch, who is also an honor student who has received interest from the U.S. service academies and a few Ivy League institutions, is a dual-threat who “can beat you with his legs, beat you with his arm, and also beat you with his mind.”
Simply put, the calm, cool and collected Welch possesses the physical and mental tools his position demands.
“He’s just a total package when it comes to being a student-athlete,” Snelson said.
In 2018, Welch threw for 2,422 yards and 25 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 747 yards and 17 touchdowns. His offensive proficiency earned him a spot on the Associated Press Sports Editors Class 6A All-State team.
According to the coach, Welch tends to lead by his actions rather than his words. While the quarterback will not shy away from the forefront, he puts his team first.
“He such a team player that he knows that he’s our best quarterback and is willing to do and play whatever is asked of him to help his team win,” Snelson said. “Mike just wants to win.”
The coach added that Welch – if given the choice – would play safety. Point of fact, he can be found in the secondary during team practices.
“We don’t play him much on defense, but he practices every week on defense,” Snelson said. “He has a very high football IQ and knows what safeties are thinking and how they’re fitting into the run … that part really helps him into being a very intelligent and crafty quarterback.”
Welch’s relationship with Snelson goes back to when the former was a preteen. The quarterback’s father, Marvin, was a running backs coach under Snelson.
“Mike grew up in this fieldhouse,” Snelson said. “When he was in junior high, he was one of our ball boys and charted plays for us. When we went to back-to-back quarterfinal games in 2014 and 2015, he was the benefactor of being able to be there on the sideline.”
Absorbing the crowds and the action even before enrolling at the high school helped Welch get the feel for facing powerhouse opponents such as Galena Park North Shore and Allen, the coach said.
The Gators lost to reigning Class 6A Division I champion North Shore in last year’s area round and suffered their lone loss of the current season to date against Allen.
Dickinson is primed to place its flag atop the District 24-6A mountain, but Snelson is taking a “one game at a time” approach.
“Our expectation is just to get better every single day,” the coach said. “We want to use every week as a learning tool and build on our successes and learn from our mistakes because we actually have three goals in our program. First one is to win the district. Second is to practice on Thanksgiving Day. And the third is to win the state championship. We have accomplished those first two, but the third one, we have not. We know that we’re going to have to stay healthy … and continue to work on our physical and mental toughness and be a disciplined and focused football team.”