QB sets new GHS records for career passing yards, TDs
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Cam put in perhaps more work than any other player in his three years on varsity. He would lift every chance he could get. He would text me to ask if we could open the weight room on weekends and holiday breaks. In the summer, he would lift in the morning, and then go work brutal 90-plus degree days at Penrod’s. He would wake up early and throw before school three days a week in the offseason. None of his accolades are given; they are all earned.” – Tim Sanchez, Grayling High School Varsity Football Coach
Cam Summers, quarterback for Grayling High School’s varsity football team for the last three seasons, established several new career records for the program, including most passing yards and most passing touchdowns.
Summers recently received two all-state honors for the 2016 fall season, and he was named the Offensive Player of the Year for Grayling’s division of the Northern Michigan Football Conference. He finished the 2016 campaign with 2,662 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 525 rushing yards, and eight rushing TDs.
For his career, according to the Grayling High School football program, Summers had 5,597 passing yards, 52 passing touchdowns, and 74 total touchdowns, all of which are new records for GHS.
Jake Swander had the previous record for passing TDs in a career with 51. Swander also had the career passing yardage record and career total TD record.
Summers said he didn’t know he was close to the records until late in the 2016 season.
“I had no idea how many yards and stuff I had,” he said.
Summers started at QB on varsity as a sophomore and as a junior. He said he thought he could’ve done a lot better during his 10th grade year. As a junior?
“I knew last year I had an all right season,” he said.
His 11th grade season in 2015 included a record-tying performance for most passing TDs in a game (six vs. Benzie Central) and a record-breaking performance for most total TDs in a game (seven vs. Charlevoix).
He also had strong overall numbers during his 12th grade year.
Upon seeing his season statistics toward the end of the 2016 campaign, he “started to ask around,” he said, with regard to the current record holders at the time. He found out he was close when he happened to look at Swander’s all-state plaque on the wall at Grayling High School. At that point, he still had a few games to go in his career.
“I thought maybe I could get there,” Summers said.
Summers started playing football in fourth grade. He played in the Grayling Redskins program (what is now known as Junior Vikings) for five years. He didn’t play quarterback during those years; he was a running back until his eighth grade season, when coaches put him at wide receiver, Summers said.
He went into his freshman season playing wide receiver on the junior varsity squad, and he was one of the back-up quarterbacks. He got to play QB in his second JV game, and that’s where he stayed. Summers said the inexperience at playing the position showed early on, but he felt fortunate to play in the spread offense, a system that was a good match with his skill set.
“I was raw,” he said of his initial experiences as a QB.
Summers said the coaching staff worked hard to help him learn the spread offense from the quarterback spot, how to read defenses. He said the offseasons working with teammates, throwing and catching passes, was also a big help in learning the position.
He credited his high school success to his coaches and teammates.
“They coached me up,” Summers said. “My players around me were the biggest reason for me getting those records.”
Summers said a lot of the success of the team and players was due to their work in the weight room. Getting bigger and stronger and faster was essential in order to compete with some of the schools Grayling has to play against every year, he said, and the players embraced it.
“I enjoyed it,” Summers said. “We wanted to have the best team we could.”
Summers said he enjoyed working on football year-round, practicing and working out. He wanted to get “bigger and stronger and more athletic,” Summers said.
The work paid off, he said.
“I think that’s what allowed me to excel personally,” Summers said.
“Cam put in perhaps more work than any other player in his three years on varsity,” said Tim Sanchez, head coach of the Grayling High School football program. “He would lift every chance he could get. He would text me to ask if we could open the weight room on weekends and holiday breaks. In the summer, he would lift in the morning, and then go work brutal 90-plus degree days at Penrod’s. He would wake up early and throw before school three days a week in the offseason. None of his accolades are given; they are all earned.”
Summers said finding out that he now owns a few of the school’s football records “meant a lot.”
“It meant a lot to me because I put a lot of work into it,” he said. “It’s a big accomplishment to me. People can look at it and say ‘I remember when he played.’”
Summers said a highlight for him in his football career came in his senior season. The Vikings needed a win vs. Kalkaska in the season finale in order to qualify for the playoffs, and they got it, beating the Blazers 34-27. The following week, in the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs, the team won 27-17 vs. the Kingsford Flivvers at Kingsford – Grayling’s first postseason football victory in the Upper Peninsula.
“Kalkaska, then Kingsford. Those were two really tight games. We were playing two great teams. Winning up in the U.P. vs. Kingsford, first time to do that, was pretty cool,” Summers said.
Summers had good numbers in those games: 351 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, and four total TDs vs. Kalkaska; 387 passing yards, 93 rushing yards, and four total TDs at Kingsford.
For him, the highlight of those nights were the postgame atmosphere, all the support from family and friends.
“Cam is not just one of the best football players that we’ve coached, but he is also one of the best all-around people we have had in our program,” Coach Sanchez said. “He always does the right thing, helps others, works hard, and brings joy to those around him.”
Summers would like to continue playing football when he goes to college next year. He said he’s going to be visiting a couple of Division III colleges downstate in an effort to explore the possibility of playing at the next level.
“If I’m going to play (college) football, it’ll be at a school like that. I think it’ll be a great opportunity. If not, maybe baseball. I’d like to continue playing sports in college if I could,” Summers said.