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Blizzard QB Max Meylor has made the most of his moment to shine

Meylor takes a snap during his first IFL start versus the Iowa Barnstormers on May 20.

By Mallory Allen

Contributing Writer

ASHWAUBENON–It was Saturday, May 13, just after 3:30 p.m.

The Green Bay Blizzard were hosting the San Diego Strike Force at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon for their annual “Faith & Family Day.”

Five minutes and 59 seconds remained in the first quarter.

Then came the words no Blizzard fan wanted to hear about their team’s starting quarterback.

“Oh no…” said play-by-play announcer Joey Bonadonna, worry laden in his voice. “Ja’rome Johnson is down. He’s in serious pain, holding his knee.”

Johnson an electric, explosive dual-threat rookie QB who had made a quick name for himself through the first six weeks of the 2023 Indoor Football League (IFL) season limped off the field in obvious distress, clutching his right knee.

Although the circumstances certainly weren’t ideal, back-up Quarterback Max Meylor knew he’d been given his opportunity to prove what he could do – and he was determined to make the most of it.

Wisconsin made

25-year-old Meylor was raised by his parents, Joen and Dave, in Mount Horeb, a small town about 20 miles southwest of Madison as the younger brother of two sisters, Maddie and Olivia.

“I started flag football in third grade and moved to tackle in fourth grade. That’s when I started playing quarterback. It just came easy to me,” Meylor said. “My dad never pressured me to play, but I grew up watching football and just loved it.”

He attended Lindenwood University in Missouri from 2016-2018 as a dual-sport athlete, competing for both the football and basketball teams.

Meylor then transferred to the UW-Whitewater, where he graduated in 2022 with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health.

While at UW-Whitewater, he led the Warhawks to several conference titles, as well as an appearance in the 2019 Division III Football Championship game and the 2021 playoff semi-finals.

Meylor said the connection that he shares with Blizzard Offensive Coordinator Matt Behrendt – who won three national championships as a quarterback at UW-Whitewater – is “really special.”

“Coach Behrendt is a well-known guy there, so I knew all about him, of course – he’s on the walls everywhere in our [Whitewater] locker room,” Meylor said. “I’ve always really respected him. He’s a winner and he does things right. I’m happy to be a part of this team with him.”

Behrendt sang similar praise for Meylor, saying, “It’s definitely great to see a fellow Warhawk succeed at the next level. It’s easy to tell why Max was so successful in college and why it’s translating to the pros. He’s just super coachable and loves to get better.”

Getting his shot

Meylor and Johnson battled through training camp for the QB1 spot, and both saw time during Green Bay’s season opener against the Frisco Fighters on March 19.

But ultimately it was Johnson who earned the starting job, and for the next five games, Meylor saw no action.

“It was pretty tough mentally, just to stay locked in,” he said of being forced to sit on the sideline rather than competing on the field.

“But I knew that if I got my shot to play, I’d have to be prepared, and if I didn’t have the right mindset at practice every day, I wouldn’t be. I just had to believe in myself and trust that I’d be ready to perform and show everyone what I could do if the time came.”

Low and behold, Meylor’s time came on May 13, when Johnson was hit hard by two Strike Force linemen and suffered an MCL tear midway through the first quarter.

Meylor said he recalls the moment vividly. “I was in the back of our bench area messing with the iPad, watching film from the game, when I heard a couple guys yell to me, ‘Max! Grab your helmet!’ I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, here we go.’”

Despite the immense pressure suddenly thrown on him, Meylor was calm and collected as he jogged over to Behrendt and the offensive huddle.

“I just had to get a couple throws in. I knew I had practiced every day for months, waiting for my moment to come, and I was ready to go out there and win that game for my team.”

Meylor tossed two TDs and rushed for another en route to a 61-50 victory over San Diego.

With Johnson placed on short-term injured reserve (IR) and sidelined for the foreseeable future, the now 3-4 Blizzard were entering a new era with Max Meylor at the helm.

As he prepared to make his first start the next weekend versus the Iowa Barnstormers, Meylor acknowledged the weight he felt knowing that the trajectory of Green Bay’s season was resting largely on his shoulders.

“It was nerve-wracking for sure,” he said. “But at the same time, I was just so excited to play. I’d waited a long time to make my first start and really showcase what I can do. It was a lot of fun to be out on the field with my teammates and get a win in front of an awesome Green Bay Blizzard crowd.”

Proving himself

Since Meylor took over as quarterback in mid-May, the Blizzard have won four of their last six games – including three key conference victories – and are in contention for an Eastern Conference playoff bid.

In his time under center, Meylor has scorched the opposing defenses both in the air and on the ground, notching 1,196 all-purpose yards and 30 total touchdowns (19 passing and 11 rushing) with only two turnovers.

“Our offense has not missed a beat with Max at the reins. It’s not easy at all to replace a guy like Ja’rome [Johnson], with everything he can do and how explosive he is. But Max has been preparing for this all year long,” Behrendt said. “The way he goes about practice and how he’s continuously growing and adjusting to this game as a quarterback is great to see. We know how lucky we are to have two really good QBs that can command the offense.”

Meylor has been just as valuable for the Blizzard out in the Green Bay community as he is on the field, already attending more than a dozen appearances at schools, youth football camps and other local events so far this season.

“Doing appearances means a lot to me. I truly enjoy them. Just watching the kids get so excited to see us is incredible. It’s cool to have the chance to brighten their days and change their lives,” Meylor said. “The schools and organizations we work with give our team so much support, so I love being able to do the same thing in return.”

Regardless of how the Blizzard season ends, and which quarterback starts once Johnson is healthy again, Meylor has more than proved his talent and skill at the professional level, and he’s looking forward to whatever the future has in store for him.

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