Developing Into Stellar Quarterback, Team Leader, PHS Standout Beamer Excited for Sunshine Game
LAST FLING: Princeton High quarterback David Beamer flings a pass in a game last fall. This week, Beamer will wrap up his high school football career as he plays for the West squad in the 20th annual Sunshine Football Classic at The College of New Jersey on June 30. He will be joined on the team by PHS teammates Matt Toplin and Rory Helstrom along with Hun’s Luke Apuzzi. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
David Beamer started his football career by battling in the trenches as a center for his Pop Warner team.
Acting on the advice of one of his youth coaches, Beamer moved to quarterback once he got to Princeton High.
Taking to the position, the lanky, strong-armed Beamer ended up being a center of attention for the Little Tigers as the program enjoyed some special moments over his career.
As a sophomore in 2013, Beamer learned the ropes of his position, gaining valuable experience as PHS took its lumps in going 0-10.
A year later, he applied those lessons with aplomb, having a big year as the Little Tigers produced a remarkable turnaround, starting 5-0 on the way to an 8-2 campaign and a spot in the state playoffs.
Last fall, the 6’1, 180-pound Beamer steadied the ship as PHS dealt with injuries and adversity on the way to a 4-6 record.
For Beamer, making the move to quarterback could not have worked out better.
“It was always fun, it was a lot different than playing line,” said Beamer. “It was more complicated with some of the stuff. I just liked it more. It was kind of tough at first, getting all the plays down and remembering everything. I got the hang of it; playing in the same offense for a couple of years helped that along.”
This week, Beamer will be looking to have fun as he plays for the West squad in the 20th annual Sunshine Football Classic at The College of New Jersey on June 30,
“I was definitely super excited when I learned I got picked for the Sunshine game,” said Beamer, who will be joined on the team by PHS teammates Matt Toplin and Rory Helstrom.
“Last year, I knew we had a lot of guys in it and I couldn’t go to the game but I watched some of the game on tape and it looked like so much fun. Playing with some of your guys for one last time is a good thing.”
Playing a lot as a sophomore helped hasten Beamer’s development even though he experienced plenty of frustration in the winless fall.
“It was good for me because I was able to get out a bunch of mistakes,” said Beamer. “I was the only option at that point but it helped me learn earlier.”
In 2014, Beamer and his teammates didn’t make many mistakes as they rolled to an 8-1 regular season record and the West Jersey Football League’s Valley Division title.
“When we looked around, we saw a bunch of guys coming back who were just big and strong,” said Beamer.
“We had a bunch of kids coming in, like Joe Hawes and John Cook, who were new guys that were going to be very beneficial to the team. From the beginning, we thought we could be pretty good but we had no idea how good we would be. It was crazy because we beat Hamilton West, then we beat Ewing, and then we beat Hightstown. We kept winning. We look back and we are like we are 5-0 right now and we had no wins last year and two wins the year before that. We didn’t even realize it as it was going on but we kept going through what we were doing.”
With a season under his belt at quarterback, Beamer certainly knew what he was doing during his junior campaign.
“I was more comfortable in the offense and I was more comfortable in myself,” said Beamer.
“In my sophomore year I was still learning how to be a quarterback and then my junior year I knew the footwork and what I was supposed to do. I got more comfortable with the plays and stuff like that. It was more natural, just making plays. I was able to focus on the defense and see that part of the game more.”
In 2015, Beamer had to focus on holding PHS together as it ran into some bad luck.
“It was sort of a tough year coming down the stretch because we were thin, some of our key guys got hurt,” said Beamer, who served as a team captain.
“You just have to keep fighting and go into every week looking to get better and working with what you have and not really getting disappointed about the guys going out. It had made me better because I had to be on point. I had to make the right reads every time, which is good for me.”
Spending his winters fighting on the mat as a star wrestler for PHS was a good complement to football for Beamer.
“Wrestling helped me get to that next level in football because the mental piece helps you fight through those 0-10 seasons, you have to keep grinding,” said Beamer.
“Physically, I think it helped me with my footwork. When I was coming in as a freshman I was pretty slow. I had heavy feet but once I started wrestling and getting that kind of conditioning, it helped me quicken my feet and I was able to have better footwork. I was able to run the ball a little bit this year which was good and I think that was because of wrestling.”
Looking back on his time at PHS, Beamer believes he has reached a higher level on and off the field over the last four years.
“It was a positive experience,” said Beamer, who is headed to Wheaton College in Illinois where he will be playing football for its Division III program.
“Looking back on it, going in as freshman, I could not have pictured how it would have been. It exceeded all of my expectations, academically, socially, and athletically.”
Playing for the West squad in the Sunshine game, Beamer is expecting to form a formidable tandem at quarterback with WW/P-N star Malik Thompson.
“Our skill sets are so different; it is not like a competition,” said Beamer.
“He has got stuff that he is really good at and I have stuff I am really good at. We are able to mesh really well because our games are so different and we have so many different things that we are good at.”
No matter what happens in the game, Beamer believes it will help him hit the ground running when he starts his Wheaton career.
“I am looking at it as nice prep going in,” said Beamer, noting that Wheaton’s preseason practice starts August 9.
“I haven’t really gotten to look at a live defense recently and so it is cuing that up again. Today we did some 7-on-7s and ran team at the end so it was good to get back looking at a defense instead of just throwing in the air.”