By CHRIS CHRISTOPHER
He’s known as Biggie.
The moniker belongs to Davon Thompson, the Asbury Park High School football team’s star quarterback.
“He’s a big play kind of a guy,” said Tim Fosque, the Blue Bishops’ first-year coach. “He makes things happen. He is clearly one of our most valuable players. The offense does not run at its high capacity without him.”
“Coming from where I am from, you have to make big plays,” Thompson said. “I like to run with the ball. I can scramble and I can throw the ball. I like to throw it. I love it all. That is why I like to play quarterback. Rolling out is a good vibe. I have good options when I roll out. I know if it is not there to tuck it under and go from there.”
The nickname is not exactly new.
“Davon came up with it,” Fosque said, “and it has always been his nickname. His family gave him the nickname when he began playing sports. He’s a dynamic athlete.”
That he is.
Thompson helped the Blue Bishops qualify for the NJSIAA playoffs. They won six of their first eight games and finished second in Shore Conference Class B Central behind Shore Regional.
The swift senior threw for 1,004 yards and 16 touchdowns, completing 50 of 109 passes. He rushed for 394 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries.
“He’s living up to his nickname for us this year,” Fosque said. “All of our offense starts with him and goes through him. He makes the decision to get the ball down the field to our best players in key situations. He uses his feet to get us out of a jam to get us first downs in key situations. Those first downs have been game changers for us.”
Thompson does not play favorites among his receivers.
Asbury Park’s deep threat is senior wideout Jaedon Stephens, who caught 27 passes for 610 yards and 11 touchdowns through eight games. He averaged 22.6 yards per catch. Sophomore Donte Abrams hauled in 10 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 13.1 yards per grab. Senior Trevor Saunders caught five passes for 141 yards and one touchdowns for a norm of 28.2 yards per catch.
“Jaedon is my favorite receiver,” Thompson said. “I consider him my brother as we started playing football so young together. We are brothers on and off the field. He works so hard and adjusts to situations.”
Thompson is athletic.
“He is at his best when he is on the move,” Fosque said. “He does maybe a half rollout. He can also pass well from the pocket, but he is a better passer when he is out of the pocket. He has very deceptive speed and is shifty.”
Thompson, who also plays basketball for the Blue Bishops, became the team’s starting quarterback in the fourth game of last season.
“He came into this year as our clear cut starter,” Fosque said, “not only because of how he finished the season but due to his dedication during the offseason. He is a natural born leader. He was instrumental in galvanizing some of our younger and older players. He got them to buy into our offseason workouts in the weight room and got our players going during spring ball.”
Thompson’s offseason workouts resulted in a 6-foot, 170-pound frame.
“He is much improved,” Fosque said. “He picked up a good, solid 12 pounds since last season. He is a much stronger quarterback. He worked on his footwork and his passing form. There is clearly a big difference in his delivery from last year to this year. He throws a much tighter, more accurate ball.”
Thompson, a team captain, is not afraid to take the proverbial bull by the horns.
“He is a very confident player who is highly competitive,” Fosque said. “He shows confidence just by the way he carries himself. He wants to be in the position where the ball is in his hands to make the big plays and he is not shy about expressing himself vocally when he is in the position to. He motivates the rest of the team by encouraging them and he gets the best out of them. He gets the team fired up and challenges the players.
“He has definitely matured mentally since last season. Last year, he was not that much of a leader. His work ethic is much improved. He is mentally mature not only for himself but also in terms of motivating the players who are around him.”
Fosque said he enjoys coaching Thompson.
“He has a big personality,” Fosque said. “He is very jovial and full of life. He has a great sense of humor. He is a jokester who loves to have a good time. He is non-stop, non-stop, full of energy. He is the life of the party from the start to the end. When you talk about how he is on the field, he is much of a general and very serious. There tends to be a serious nature about him when he is running the offense. He is focused and deliberate.”
“Football can teach you a lot,” Thompson said. “It teaches you about yourself and I learned I am a strong man. There are ups and downs. In football, not everything is going to go your way just like in real life.”
Thompson’s name is on the lips of several colleges, including Monmouth, Stony Brook and Fordham.
“At the beginning of the year,” Fosque said, “not many colleges were looking at him. Now, he has jumped on the radar because of his numbers and his progression as a player. He will be recruited as a total athlete. I am pretty sure once the recruiting season starts up some other schools will come in and take an interest in him as he is clearly one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the Shore Conference.”
Thompson hopes to play quarterback at Rutgers University.
“I am an athlete,” he said. “I can also play wide receiver and slot, but I want to play quarterback. Rutgers is a big school and I like big schools. It has everything I need, a good football program and a good education program. I want to major in business. Rutgers is close to home.”
The Blue Bishops often walked off the field on the short end of the score last season as their 2-8 record indicates.
“Let’s start with the coaching staff being a little different from last year,” Thompson said. “All the coaches can do is coach. We gotta play. Last year, we played the first quarter and gave up. Now, we go hard through every game’s ups and downs. We think positive and have come together as a team. We try to keep each other up mentally. Coach Fosque always keeps us as a family with team meetings and study halls. We have stayed strong.”
Fosque saw Thompson play for the first time as a member of the Asbury Park Junior Pee Wees at the Pop Warner level.
“He was one of those kids–an Asbury Park kid who did Pop Warner and went through the high school program,” Fosque said. “He was very athletic. I knew he would be a good football and basketball player as he played both of those sports when he was younger. I noticed his speed and that he was very elusive. He was clearly much faster than any other player on the field.”