When Brett Nottingham started playing youth football for the San Ramon Valley T-Birds when he was 11, his mind was set on playing running back.
"As soon as I went out there, the coaches started shuffling the positions around and I ended up at quarterback," Nottingham said. "I picked it up pretty fast and fell in love with the position."
As Nottingham ran the option offense through youth football, there were limited opportunities to throw the ball. However, when he arrived at Monte Vista High, that all changed.
After playing his freshman year on junior varsity and backing up current USC safety Drew McAllister as a sophomore, Nottingham took the starting reins of coach Craig Bergman's complex passing offense as a junior in 2008 and quickly blossomed into one of the state's best quarterbacks.
This year, at a school that produced former Gatorade National Player of the Year Kyle Wright and McAllister, Nottingham rewrote the record book. For his accomplishments this season, he has been named the Bay Area News Group East Bay Football Offensive Player of the Year. And the marks he set are historic.
His 3,962 yards and 45 touchdown passes both rank second in Northern California single-season history, according to the CalHiSports.com State Record Book and Almanac. His 7,467 career passing yards rank seventh in NorCal history, and his 69.1 percent career completion percentage is fifth in state history.
"Just to be mentioned with some of those other guys is humbling," Nottingham said. "This year, we had a lot of question marks because we didn't have many guys coming back, but we worked hard in the summer. Coach Bergman and the coaching staff did an incredible job."
Nottingham quickly developed a good rapport with receiver Bryce McGovern, who set a state record with 2,063 yards receiving and a NorCal record with 106 receptions in his first varsity season.
The Mustangs started the year 4-0 and climbed to No. 9 in the CalHiSports.com state rankings but had three heartbreaking losses in a row after that. Monte Vista finished 9-4 after a loss to De La Salle in the North Coast Section Division I semifinals.
"I'm going to remember my senior year as a success," Nottingham said. "We might not have won all the games we wanted to, but we battled every game and I had a lot of fun."