Athan Kaliakmanis tossed Antioch an early Christmas present.
The starting quarterback for Carmel Catholic’s varsity football team as a freshman this fall, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Kaliakmanis has transferred to Antioch. He’s an Antioch resident and graduate of Emmons Grade School.
"He grew up with a lot of guys here, so it’s not a strange place," Antioch football coach Brian Glashagel said. "Some of his closest friends are still kids here at Antioch. For him, it’s going home, really."
Kaliakmanis arrives with his brother, Dino, who also was an impact freshman for Carmel’s varsity this year.
"We’re excited to have both of them," Glashagel said.
Athan Kaliakmanis started every game at quarterback for Carmel, which changed its offense with his arrival. The Corsairs went away from their traditional option attack and instead ran a spread. Kaliakmanis completed 86 of 170 passes for 1,032 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Dino Kaliakmanis had 20 catches for 181 yards and a TD.
But Carmel finished 1-8, its worst under longtime head coach Andy Bitto, who resigned after the season.
Alex and Colleen Kaliakmanis issued a statement to explain their decision to enroll their sons at Antioch for second semester.
"We want to thank (Carmel Catholic president) Brad Bonham and the responsible administration at Carmel for everything they have done for our sons. The decision to leave Carmel after one semester was not an easy one. The education components of a child’s future successes come in many forms throughout their education — like, classroom time, study time, teamwork and athletics. Carmel has a long history of athletic excellence and is presently going through a transition period. We know, under Brad Bonham’s leadership, Carmel will return to its glory days in the years ahead. Those of you with children know three years come and go fast. After looking at the big picture and potential uncertainty, we decided it was best to move our sons back to our home district in Antioch.
"Our sons are very excited about their future in Antioch and are looking forward to finishing high school in their hometown with childhood friends. Our hope is this puts all rumors to rest regarding our family. We also wish to remind people these are freshmen in high school, not fully grown adults, and to treat the situation accordingly."
Glashagel has watched film of his new quarterback and knows his program is getting a talent.
"Very athletic for a freshman. Does not play like a freshman," said Glashagel, adding that Dino Kaliakmanis is also a very good athlete.
Glashagel acknowledges Athan Kaliakmanis possesses a strong arm. That doesn’t always equate to great quarterback play, however.
"There are so many elements to the quarterback position," Glashagel said. "You can have the strongest arm in the world, but it’s another thing to read defenses, make the right call, be a playcaller on the field, be athletic and run. It looks like he can do a lot of those things."
Like Carmel, Antioch has been a running team for years. The Sequoits have won 19 games in the last two years and have made the state playoffs in seven of Glashagel’s 11 years as head coach. Senior Branden Gallimore directed the Sequoits’ triple option the last two years.
Glashagel says for him to reveal any potential changes to his team’s offensive style, nine months in advance of the 2018 season, would be ludicrous.
"I think every coach would tell you that you always adjust the offense to your skill talent," Glashagel said. "I think the really good coaches at the really good programs do a good job of adjusting to the kids that they have."