For all those young, want-to-be quarterbacks with less-than-prototypical QB height, there is hope.
And his name is Sam Plencner.
Listed as 5-foot-9 on the Plymouth Wildcats football roster, Plencner is a slippery, tough-as-nails, strong-armed pest for opposing defenders, whose frustration grows every time they seemingly have the senior hemmed in … only to be left pounding their fist on the turf when he evades the pressure and connects with one of his sure-handed receivers.
Just when it looked like Plencner was headed to Sack City, he threw a dart across his body to Jimmy Cleveland, who sprinted 30 yards into the end zone.
“Sometimes it actually helps not being tall because I can kind of hide behind my linemen and the defense can’t see me,” Plencner said. “There have been times my receivers can’t even see me, but they know they better be ready because the ball could be coming to them.”
Plymouth Head Coach Greg Souldourian has nothing but praise for Plencner.
““Sam has a great handle on our offense,” Souldourian emphasized. “He has a lot of moxie. His teammates look up to him because he works so hard, extends plays and he’s a dual run-throw threat.”
From Wing T to spread
Plencner’s football journey started in sixth grade for Our Lady of Good Counsel. After one season with the Crusaders, he switched to the Plymouth-Canton Steelers, where he was immediately pegged as a quarterback in the program’s Wing-T offense.
“My favorite Steelers memory was our first playoff game my eighth-grade year when we beat Farmington,” Plencner said. “The weather was miserable — it was raining, muddy, it hailed and was cold — but it was a blast.”
Once Plencner joined Plymouth High School’s program, he was in for a major transition.
“I went from playing in a Wing-T offense where we threw maybe three times a game, to a spread offense, which was a lot more pass-heavy,” Plencner said. “It was definitely an adjustment.”
But one the athletic Plencner made seamlessly.
Sports and family have been a big part of Plencner’s life for as long as he remembers.
“I’ve always been a pretty competitive person,” said Plencner, also a solid member of Plymouth’s wrestling program. “My parents raised me to always work hard and a lot of my motivation came from my older brother (Joseph), who was a really good football player. I’ve always looked up to him. He played at (Ann Arbor) Gabriel Richard for former Plymouth Coach Brian Lewis.”
Plencner said he enjoys watching a variety of quarterbacks, including Detroit Lion Jared Goff, Kansas City Chief Patrick Mahomes and Arizona Cardinal Kyler Murray, who is built from the same mold as Plencner.
“I love watching how Mahomes free-lances,” he said. “It’s very inspiring to watch. And I learn a lot from smaller quarterbacks like Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, who are on the shorter side like me, but they figure it out … they find their windows to throw through the big linemen.”
Away from the field, Plencner enjoys fishing, golfing and going out to eat with friends.
His post-high school plans include pursuing a degree in nursing, ideally at a college in the Midwest.
The day he steps off a football field for the last time will undoubtedly be a sad day for Plencner — but not necessarily for the dozens of defensive linemen who have unsuccessfully chased him across the field, only to see their effort wasted in a long Plencner run or pass play.
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.