Junior quarterback Tommy Rumer took that message to heart. Three hundred seventeen yards and three touchdowns later, a 41-year school record for passing yards was shattered.
My [offensive] line coach told me it was an honor to break that record, Rumer said. The record had stood since 1969.
For Rumer, it was a humbling to have his name in the record books. But as the same time, it was difficult to lose the game. Their opponent, Roman Catholic, was able to capitalize off Malverns first half blunders, and comeback fell short.
We were within reach at the half but could not get enough going to win the game, Rumer said. The record was bittersweet; I would trade it for a win.
The loss was just a stumbling block in Rumers mission to finish the season unbeaten and win the league. However, it did provide the young signal caller an opportunity to surface as a leader in the locker room and to help his team grow.
I want to be a good leader for the team, both on and off the field. I set personal goals for each game, we also set team goals to address areas that we want to grow and improve, Rumer said.
But to get to the next level, Rumer knows his personal goals must exceed standard, saying, I set my personal goals higher than the team goals because I know it takes more than just fitting in to play at the next level.
Rumer has trained with a private quarterback coach, Mike Samuel, to sharpen mechanics. Samuel took Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 1999, and has coached the likes of former NFL Rookie of the Year, Matt Ryan.
In addition, Rumer has made his way to a handful of quarterback camps this year, including Villanova, North Carolina and Duke. But its his living room where he mentally prepares for the pressure of being a proficient passer. He and his father study college football games using their DVR, which he carries over to his Malvern team.
My dad, who played college football and has been coaching Rumer since he was seven years old, takes me through the plays and we rewind to review pre-snap reads, coverage, etc., he said. Each week our team reviews film to correct our mistakes. This can be very productive for a quarterback.
Six hundred twenty-three passing yards and four touchdowns into the season, Rumer drew comparisons to a host of well-known quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots are all role models for Rumer, mainly because of his calm, cool demeanor as a team leader.
I am the leader on offense, I lead by example and I motivate as well. I am not too mouthy, but not shy either. I respect my teammates and understand the commitment it takes to be special, Rumer explained.
With his heart set on playing on the college level in two years, Boston College, Penn State, Virginia, Rutgers and Maryland have all shown interest in the young gunslinger. Likewise, Rumer is very interested in all of those schools. But despite any visits, he continues to enjoy watching them on Saturdays.
Rumer reached out to the Terps two weeks ago. Hes been assembling game film to show off his skill set, but will likely use his experience this season for a lot of his highlight tape.
My recruiting experience is just getting underway. To this point, I have been focused on improving my game and winning, he said.
Academically, Malvern Prep provides its student-athletes a challenge, keeping them focused on balancing their schoolwork and athletics. Rumer said he receives about three hours of homework daily. Hes also interested in majoring in business.
While Rumer is giving all hes got on the field Friday nights, Sundays give him the opportunity to relax and watch his Minnesota Vikings, led by another gunslinger, the ageless Brett Favre. And as a California-born kid, he remains active in the outdoors skiing, snowboarding, fishing and snorkeling.
Next up for number 11 and Malvern Prep will be one of Marylands elite programs, Gilman. For Rumer, now a cemented piece of history at his high school, its another opportunity to show why hes ready for the next level.