Ian Aungst threw two passes for the Ocean City High School football team as a sophomore.
He threw six as a junior.
Still, the senior never thought about quitting the team or transferring schools.
“I still loved the team,” Aungst said. “It was really hard watching all my friends on the field, but I figured my time will come.”
Aungst has finally gotten a chance to play, and so far, he’s made the most of it.
He has sparked Ocean City to a 2-0 start, the first time the Red Raiders have started the season with consecutive wins since 2001. Aungst, who has yet to be sacked this season, has completed 22 of 42 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns. He has also run for two scores.
Ocean City plays at Absegami (0-2) 7 p.m. Friday.
“His decision making is excellent,” Ocean City coach Kevin Smith said of Aungst. “He knows his read progressions. He really knows where to go with the football based on the coverage that he’s seeing.”
Aungst lives in Absecon and attends Ocean City as a school choice student. His older brother, Noah, 20, also attended Ocean City as a choice student.
“My older brother really liked it, and he recommended it for me,” Aungst said. “I knew it was a really good school, and I would get a really good education.”
Aungst started playing quarterback in the second grade for the Absecon Blue Devils in the Atlantic County Junior Football League.
“Honestly, I can’t even remember how I started playing quarterback,” he said. “They just plugged me in.”
But in his first three seasons at Ocean City, Aungst barely got on the field. He sat behind two standout quarterbacks – Andrew Donoghue in 2016 and Harry Pfeifle last season. Aungst played junior varsity and signaled in plays from the sideline during varsity games.
“I learned a lot behind both of them,” Aungst said. “With Harry’s leadership and Andrew’s passing ability, I try to blend the two.”
Aungst just wasn’t physically ready to play as a sophomore, weighing just 145 pounds. Now, he’s 6-foot and 175 pounds.
“We ask the quarterback to run the ball in our offense,” Smith said. “We weren’t sure he was ready to do those things. Andrew and Harry were just ahead of him physically.”
Aungst did what he could to get physically ready.
“I would get in the weight room four days a week,” he said, “and eat a lot of protein.”
Aungst thought about moving to receiver last season. But he stayed at quarterback and continued to work with Ocean City assistant Paul Callahan to fully understand the offense.
“I think (Aungst) always felt like he was going to get his chance,” Smith said. “Last year it was straight up competition between him and Harry. Ian knew he was right there. But I give (Aungst) a heck of a lot of credit for being patient because that’s in short supply these days.”
That patience is what makes Aungst’s story notable. Stories like his were commonplace 15 to 20 years ago. But in today’s high school sports world, it is rare to see athletes wait their turn to play. Many athletes who don’t get a chance to play often transfer schools or quit the team.
Sometimes, waiting is worth it.
“This is awesome,” Aungst said. “I’m playing with all my friends. We hang out after practice and after games. That makes it that much more fun when we succeed on the football field.”