It's no secret. Modern football demands the the quarterback be the game's most important player, even in high school.
At the beginning of the 2012 football season, when the best signal-caller on the Waynesville roster was an all-Missouri state wide receiver just a season before, most thought it was trouble.
To senior Dylan Newcomb, however, the transition to offensive leader was no problem.
But his story goes much deeper than just football.
Born in Germany, the product of a military family, Dylan has since moved throughout the world, calling many of the contiguous states his home.
"Some people have trouble making friends, but [moving] has actually helped me," Dylan said, speaking of the many friends he has made in the face of adversity.
Eventually, when Dylan reached fifth grade, his father Dorsey decided to retire near Fort Leonard Wood.
"It's always tough leaving the friends that you've made, but it's always fun making new friends, too," Dylan said.
And Newcomb has made plenty of friends since starting a new life with those within the Waynesville school district.
Fast forward to high school.
Maturing in a military family has taught Dylan many values, including the dedication to succeed. As a youth, the student-athlete was enrolled in a private school, which he said gave him an edge in public classrooms.
"I've always worked hard on my grades and am very conscious of where I am academically," Dylan said. "I want to have the reputation of being a good student and a good person."
Dylan currently ranks first in his class with a 4.0 GPA and is enrolled in several advanced courses. His inner intelligence translates to the game field as well.
"I'm thinking ahead of time, not just the exact play, but smart plays I could make," Dylan said.
In a Sept. 21, 2012 home contest against Ozark Conference rival Rolla, the Waynesville team entered wounded, with a record of 1-3, and in desperate need of a victory. Led by Newcomb, both teams battled, trading scores. Although Waynesville traditionally operates out of head coach Rick Vernon's power run offense, the game's highlights belonged to Newcomb.
Just before halftime, Newcomb connected on a beautifully thrown downfield fade pass of 35 yards to take his team to the Rolla 25-yard line. With no timeouts, time eventually expired, ending the half in a 14-14 tie.
Then, in the second half of the same game, Newcomb connected with tight end Anthony Johnson, on a similar but equally beautiful throw, this time for a 58-yard touchdown pass to give his team a 21-14 advantage.
Later in the match-up, in overtime, the power run took effect and Newcomb effectively led his Tigers to score the game-winning field goal on the team's opening possession.
Page 2 of 3 - Dylan's anticipation of both good and bad situations help him decipher which decisions will lead to positive outcomes, both on offense and defense. That is one of the intangibles which lead the team's standout to earn the ranks of all-Ozark Conference defensive back. And all-state defensive back. And into Wendy's High School Heisman race.
As humble as Dylan is, he's the first to acknowledge the support of his teammates and coaches who have helped him develop into the young man he is today.
"I'm just thankful for that guys around me that have actually helped me get this far," Newcomb said. "I've had some good coaching and just keep on working hard."
Newcomb praised his former defensive backs coach Sean McCullough for teaching him proper safety fundamentals, and also praised current defensive coaches for furthering his football development.
But as for transitioning from receiver to quarterback, it came naturally to Dylan.
Before high school Newcomb always functioned as his team's quarterback. But in 2010, his sophomore season, Dylan worked his way into the back up receiver role due of the ability of the upperclassmen. Then in his junior year, the self-proclaimed "athlete" started as varsity receiver before making the move to the offensive play-caller again in 2012.
"That's a big role to fill," he said, and left it at that.
In the middle of a disappointing season, Dylan suffered a minor shoulder injury that left him out of practice and games for two weeks. The team leader still made it to each practice and helped coach his teammates, although he so badly wanted to be a part of the physical contact.
"I was trying my absolute hardest to get back out there," he said. "Coaches actually had to force me to stay off the field."
The Waynesville Tigers finished a measly 3-7 overall and were eventually eliminated from the Mo. State football playoffs by the same Rolla team the team defeated earlier in the season. The important thing for Newcomb, however, was that his team stuck together and improved throughout the season.
"We had a down year," he explained. "We had a lot of injuries, a few people quit. We just found our core group and had to fight through it and, even though the season didn't end too well, I believe we were closer at the end of the year than we were in the beginning."
His on and off-field efforts have earned attention from a plethora of NCAA Division I and II colleges including military academies such as West Point, and Ivy League schools like Yale. As a naturally gifted athlete with the ability to adapt to any position, his chances of making any college team are very likely.
Page 3 of 3 - "It means a lot to me that these schools are taking an interest in me," Dylan said. "The first letter I got from college pushed me to try even harder."
Currently Dylan is a defensive specialist for the Tigers' basketball team, but he also plays baseball in the spring. The young student-athlete, who also heads the Waynesville student body government, plans to major in engineering and said he will "put all my effort into both academics and football" in college.
His past and current teachers and coaches don't have enough good things to say about the bright young man and most even consider Newcomb "very well-liked."
Dylan will certainly be well-liked in any situation presented to him in college, sports and his adulthood.