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Sam Houston, Bison quarterbacks had similar upbringing

NDSU's Cam Miller, SHSU's Eric Schmid are both the sons of high school head coaches.

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North Dakota State's Cam Miller hands off to Hunter Luepke during their first-round FCS football playoff game against Eastern Washington on Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — When North Dakota State and Sam Houston clash on Sunday afternoon in the Division I FCS quarterfinals, the two quarterbacks could compare notes on how they grew up in football. They have a similar pedigree.

NDSU’s Cam Miller and Sam Houston’s Eric Schmid are the sons of high school head coaches. In the case of Miller, his father Kevin Miller stepped down last summer after a successful run at Solon, Iowa.

Mark Schmid was the head coach at The Woodlands High School near Houston for 14 years and spent 30 in all at the school. He is currently the head coach at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, Texas.

Eric was the quarterback in 2016 when The Woodlands reached the Texas 6A championship game. Like the Millers, Eric tagged along with his father at an early age.

“I literally lived at the high school with my dad,” he said. “I went to school, came back and was there for all the practices. Then when I finally got the opportunity to play, I went through all the meetings and all the stuff you have to go through so I know what goes into a winning program.”

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He found a winning program in college at Sam Houston, which will take a 7-0 record into the Bison game. The Bearkats are making their 12th appearance in the FCS playoffs, but the first since 2017.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Schmid redshirted in 2017 and was a backup in 2018. He made strides in 2019, starting six games, but missed four because of injury. This spring, he’s completed 136 of 224 passes (61 percent) for 2,154 yards. He has 15 touchdown passes against seven interceptions and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 291 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

“Coming here and getting to this level, I feel like that’s prepared me,” Schmid said of growing up in a football family. “I know the preparation that goes into things.”

Cam Miller said earlier this season that he probably wouldn’t be at NDSU if it wasn’t for the tutelage of his dad. Where the two quarterbacks are also similar is when they got home, especially after a practice or game.

It never hurt to shut off the football talk.

“At the same time, he’s still your dad,” Eric Schmid said. “Whenever you get home, you put that switch off and focus on the family aspect of it. But whenever you’re at school, you’re focused and you get to have an edge because you know exactly what your father is thinking and knowing exactly what he wants. That’s helped me grow as an athlete, as a teammate and as a player.”

Getting NDSU at home in the playoffs promises to be one of the biggest games at Bowers Stadium in years. Sam Houston is 14-0 in playoff games at home.

“There’s pressure for every game and we’re excited for every game regardless against who,” Schmid said. “But it’s always nice to go out and play one of the best.”

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Schmid needs just 61 passing yards to reach 4,000 for his career. His offense has some explosiveness to it; the Bearkats have had 31 plays of at least 30 yards. The NCAA increased attendance maximums for the playoffs to 50 percent of capacity, meaning around 7,000 fans could be on hand.

“I thought it was a good atmosphere last week,” Schmid said of the win over Monmouth. “I know they’re working on getting more people out there and students are buying up tickets pretty quick.”

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Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid has been a dual-threat offensive player for the Bearkats this season. Sam Houston Athletics photo

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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