While former BYU quarterbacks with names like Young, McMahon, Wilson, Nielsen and Detmer have distinguished themselves in the NFL, other talented Cougar quarterbacks have started and starred for lesser leagues in relative obscurity.

One current standout is quarterback Charlie Peterson, now in his second year of playing in the Arena 2 (AF2) Football League. AF2 has 27 teams and is a developmental league for Arena 1 (AFL), which is broadcast weekly on the NBC network during its season.

Peterson started his Arena 2 career last summer when he received an offer to play for the Orlando Barracudas. Peterson joined the team mid-way through the season and became the starting quarterback after just one week with the team. He is now the starting quarterback for the Peoria Pirates.

Unlike his NFL counterparts, Peterson makes $200 per game – or $250 if his team wins. He supplements his football income by working as a substitute teacher at a local Peoria, Illinois, high school. spoke with Peterson after a recent game between his Pirates and the Tulsa Talons. In that game, Peterson led his team on a furious second-half comeback attempt only to fall short in the final minute of the game.

As an indication of life in the lesser leagues, Peterson's head coach and offensive coordinator were ejected in the first half of the game and he was forced to call his own plays for the first time in his career. Peterson had only thrown one touchdown pass at the time the coaches were thrown out of the game. He responded to the challenge by completing 8 of 11 passes for 105 yards and four touchdowns in the second half alone.

Peterson and his coach watched the game film together on the eight-hour bus ride back to Peoria. The coach was surprised when he didn't recognize a couple of plays that Peterson called.

"What the heck is that, Peterson?" the coach asked. "That's a quarterback sneak, coach," he responded. "We don't have a quarterback sneak," the coach said. To which an amused Peterson replied, "Well, it worked, didn't it?"

In an interview, Peterson said "it seemed like everything I called in the second half was successful. Even stuff we made up worked," he said with a chuckle.

Peterson's team is only 3-7 on the year, but his statistics are impressive, nonetheless. The former Cougar QB has completed 173 or 290 passes (59%) and has thrown 51 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. He is fifth in the league in passing yards and is sixth in the league in passing efficiency with a 113.5 rating.

Peterson is currently on pace to break the AF2 record for TD passes in a season.

"I need to average about three TDs a game to set the record for a season," said Peterson. He is right on pace after throwing three more touchdown passes in a 44-43 loss on June 14 against the Hawaiian Islanders in Honolulu.

If Peterson breaks the AF2 record, he will actually do so and still miss one game. Peterson is participating this week in a "chance of a lifetime" football-related trip to Japan with a former coach from BYU, Chris Pella. Pella and former Cougar defensive coordinate Ken Schmidt invited a handful of former BYU players to Japan for 10 days to coach before Peterson signed with the AF2. He confirmed the arrangement with his Pirates coach before he signed with them.

There is a possibility he and others they may even play a game with the Japanese players during the trip. Details are unclear at this point, but Charlie said that both he and former BYU teammate Isaac Kelly are confirmed participants.

While life is not all roses for the former Cougar quarterback, Peterson is nonetheless enjoying interesting and diverse experiences in one of the more obscure professional football leagues.

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