2026 QB Zander McCracken building momentum with sophomore year underway

After an 8-4 season that ended in a 7-0 loss to River Hill, 2026 Franklin (MD) quarterback Zander McCracken kept himself busy on the field through the offseason to prepare for his sophomore year. That field time also included time with Quarterback Factory as the 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore made the commute to Gambrills a routine every Sunday.

“Between all the hard work that I put in between working with Quarterback Factory, weight training, so far I think everything has been going great and my teammates are doing well,” McCracken said. “Last year, I played at about 180 and grew about an inch since then.”

McCracken’s four years at Quarterback Factory has aided his development while private sessions following his freshman year helped the rising quarterback notice evident strides heading into 2023. “I go to a lot of private sessions with coach [Chris] Baucia and coach [Luke] Casey there and I think they really did a great job preparing me for the season. They definitely focus on preparing me for game situations. They give you a lot of drills that you’ll face in a game whether it’s a normal play call and pressure comes, give a move to someone, get out of the pocket to make a play.”

McCracken was also able to apply his teachings during offseason work with his teammates, something that Franklin’s skill players also made a habit as the next wave of talent rises through the program.

“I think I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable just having more time with my teammates, especially since last year my teammates were really young. We didn’t have a lot of guys graduate, so just getting more time with my receivers, offensive line, getting more time with them, getting better chemistry, just overall better relationships has made things easier.”

McCracken threw for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener in a 48-42 loss to Westminster. He rebounded in a big way the next week, leading Franklin’s offense in a 40-0 win over Overlea. McCracken tossed his fourth touchdown of the season in a win, with all four touchdowns at least 40-yard throws.

McCracken knows what he wants the rest of his sophomore film to look like.

“I want them to say my skillset is really versatile. I think I can do a lot of things well, both running and throwing. I’ve gotten a lot faster since last year so I’m hoping to make more plays with my legs, but also freshman to sophomore, I’ve gotten a lot stronger so a lot of throws where you can see my improved arm strength and definitely accuracy is important.”

Off the field, McCracken also carries a 3.9 GPA with his sophomore year now underway.

“Schools got to be a little more important because football doesn’t last forever. But in order to get recruited, you need to have good grades,” McCracken added.