Brian Plummer has spent the last three years playing “best supporting actor” in the full-length feature film that is Quince Orchard football. In the 2020 season though, the senior quarterback anticipates being cast in the leading role.
QO has developed into a primetime program. With their rabid fan base, deep playoff runs, and roster chalked full of star-studded recruits, the Cougars draw so many amateur videographers at home games, one could mistake the Cougar Dome for a movie set.
In two years as the Cougars starting quarterback, Brian Plummer has a record of 25-2 while throwing for nearly 3,000 yards to go with his 30+ touchdowns. He’s led QO to a state championship, earned an offer from the University of Maryland, amongst others and at 6-3, 220 lbs seems typecast for the part of “QB1”. Yet despite his accomplishments, Plummer, to this point, has flown under the radar.
To this point, Plummer has played beside major stars, and though he says he never minded, the spotlight was not always big enough to shine on all contributors. In 2019, his primary responsibility was handing the ball off to Kent State-commit Marquez Cooper. Cooper re-wrote the Cougars record book for a running back, and in doing so, garnered so much attention that the media often categorized QO performances as more of a one-man show than team ensemble.
After playing JV his freshmen year, In 2018, Plummer was saddled with the unenviable task of replacing Quince Orchard Legend, Doc Bonner—a player who wrote the script on what it means to be the Cougars’ quarterback. There was doubt as to whether the sophomore could live up to the billing.
“Doc accomplished a lot in his time at Quince Orchard,” QO head coach John Kelley said. "He was a 3-year starter and an All-Met performer who helped us win a lot of games. When you lose a guy like that who accounts for a lot of your offense, you’re going to have concerns about what’s going to come next.”
Bonner led QO to two Maryland 4A state championship games, falling to Wise in both. Though he didn’t win a title, he helped lay the foundation that would catapult the Cougars into the category of perennial contenders. According to Plummer, Bonner helped build the program both on and off the field. More than a teammate, he served as an example.
“I learned a lot from Doc. When I was a freshman, he was my role model. He’d always tell me the right things to do and how to approach the game,” Plummer said. “It was crazy trying to replace Doc. He was a superstar and my sophomore year, I’d hear everyone saying, 'QO is gonna suck this year'. My own teammates were posting on Snapchat, 'we need a quarterback.' It was crazy."
Despite the initial lack of confidence, the Cougars didn’t miss a beat with Plummer at the helm, finishing the regular season with a record of 9-1.
“We knew he had a very good offensive line, along with a good run game that could take some pressure off of him," Kelley said. "You could see in each practice—in each game, he was getting better week-by-week.”
Riding their potent rushing attack, QO steam-rolled through the playoffs, including a convincing 31-6 victory over arch-nemesis Wise in the semi’s en route to capturing the 2018 Maryland 4A crown. In victory, Plummer could only think of the student-athlete he replaced. The young man whose shadow he was beginning to step from behind.
“I felt real good winning states, but I was pretty mad Doc wasn’t able to win a ring himself,” Plummer said. “I wish Doc could’ve been on the team because I saw him give it all he had for 3 years and fall short. I just wish we could’ve gotten one for him.”
In 2019, the Cougars fell short in their bid to repeat, losing to rival Northwest in the state semifinals. According to Plummer, egos and in-fighting led to the seemingly dominant team's downfall. In 2020, Plummer and company will attempt to drive QO back to the championship game and in order to do so, he will need to take the lead.
“Talking with my coaches, we’re going to need a lot from me in order for us to be successful this year,” Plummer said. “I'm [definitley] working as hard as I ever have. I’m doing everything the right way. Doing everything better, because I know the team is going to need me to be at my best.”
Plummer has worked a lot on his physique during the offseason; his added mass makes him a legitimate threat as a runner as well as passer. The Cougars offense could look very different from years past.
“We are supremely confident in his ability to be the bell cow for our offense in 2020,” Kelley said. “With his ability to throw and run the ball, I think it will make us tough to defend."
The stage is set. For the first time, this is unquestionably Brian Plummer’s offense and the senior QB is finally ready to step into the light.
“I feel like I have a lot to prove,” Plummer said, “I haven’t shown everything I am— I haven’t done all I can do, so I’m working as hard as I can so I can show my real skill this season and lead us to another championship.”
MORE HIGH SCHOOL NEWS: