CHEYENNE – Even though it ended with a road win, a four-interception performance was not the way quarterback Andy Cummins wanted to introduce himself to the Cheyenne Central faithful.

Nevertheless, the senior was confident his interception total would drop drastically the better he learned the Indians’ offense, and the more comfortable he got with his new teammates.

Most importantly, his coaches also were confident.

“He looked sharp and did some good things the first few weeks, but you could still tell he was spinning a little bit,” third-year Central coach Mike Apodaca said. “That’s to be expected, though. Not only were those his first games with us, but those were his first varsity games.

“He had seen live bullets as a quarterback, but those were all at the JV level. Those varsity bullets are coming at you a lot faster. He has figured things out and continued to get better.”

Cummins is currently ranked third in Class 4A in passing yards per game (228.2), and is tied with Cheyenne East’s Graedyn Buell for second in completion percentage (66.4%). Cummins and Buell are tops among signal-callers with at least 85 pass attempts.

“Obviously, you can’t keep turning the ball over as many times as I did against Natrona (County), but I knew it was a comfort thing,” Cummins said. “It was only my third week throwing to these receivers, and my timing with them wasn’t what it needed to be. I still hadn’t figured out how fast everyone was, or how they ran their routes and that sort of thing.

“I knew that was going to happen once we had more time to establish chemistry.”

The 5-foot-11, 184-pound Cummins has helped a talented Indians team ascend to the No. 1 ranking in the WyoPreps.com poll. Central (5-0) faces Campbell County (1-4) at 7 tonight.

The Indians have wins over the teams currently ranked No. 2 and 4, and Cummins played a significant role in both.

At then-No. 1 Sheridan, Cummins connected with receivers Andrew Johnson and Nathanial Talich for big gains before finding tight end Brock Storebo in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown with 9.7 seconds remaining in a 20-17 victory. Cummins followed that by throwing for a season-best 349 yards and two touchdowns during a 38-26 win over second-ranked Thunder Basin.

Central returned all but two offensive starters from a club that went 7-4 and advanced to the Class 4A semifinals for the first time since finishing as state runners-up in 2009. Among the returning talent was Storebo and senior receiver Andrew Johnson, both of whom earned all-state honors in 2019.

“Having so many good players and so many starters from last year all around me really helped me settle in,” Cummins said. “I knew these guys had played through an entire varsity season, and they knew what to expect. That helped me trust them, but I had to get them to trust me.”

Cummins won that trust both on and off the field. His statistics might not even be the best indicator of how well Cummins is fitting in with his new team.

“We invited him into our fantasy football league,” said senior tight end Brady Storebo. “That’s a big step for a new kid. It’s kind of a sacred league.

“... At first, he was trying to prove himself. Now, he is letting us go make plays while being a great play-maker himself. He is fitting in well, and he is getting better every week.”

Cummins’ family moved to Cheyenne from Eaglecrest, Colorado, when it became clear Colorado schools were going to do a hybrid learning model, where instruction was split between in-person and digital. Based on how much he struggled with virtual learning when the COVID-19 pandemic emptied classrooms this spring, Cummins knew a hybrid model wasn’t for him.

Cummins’ decision to attend school in Cheyenne was already made by the time the Colorado High School Activities Association moved its football season to the spring. Changes in public health orders will allow CHSAA to start its season Oct. 8.

“I’m not a good online learner. I have to be in a classroom to pick up everything,” Cummins said. “I didn’t think I was getting much out of school when we did it online this spring. School was the main reason my family moved up here, but it didn’t hurt Wyoming was playing football and Colorado wasn’t.”

Cummins has thrown for 872 yards, six touchdowns and only three interceptions over the past four games. As good as he has been, he knows there is still room for improvement. That’s what he is focused on.

“I need to get better at decision making,” he said. “It’s not just making the right decision, but being quicker at making the right decision. I want to make sure I’m putting us in good positions on first and second down and that I’m not missing anything.”

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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