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La Cueva's Cam Dyer is the Journal's Male Metro Athlete of the Year

Jun. 9—In hindsight, it might have been the night, and the location, that most shaped the 2023 football season of La Cueva High School junior quarterback Cam Dyer.

It was halftime of the Bears' regular season game late last August at Cleveland. Dyer had struggled in the first half, throwing a pair of interceptions, and the Storm had a big lead after the first half.

La Cueva coach Brandon Back took his QB aside during the break.

"I told Cam, I don't care if you throw 10 interceptions, but I don't want you to play scared," Back said, relaying the conversation. "The first play from scrimmage (in the second half), he throws a pick-6. But then he came back and made a play and then made another play. That is the true hallmark of a good football player, you have to be able to let it go and move on."

Dyer threw four interceptions that night and La Cueva lost the game.

Three months later on that same field, Dyer, showcasing his magnificent dual-threat skill set, led La Cueva to a 35-14 victory over the Storm in the Class 6A final.

"That game," Dyer said, talking about the August matchup, "shaped the outcome that you saw (in November)."

And, he said, it influenced him, too. He was encouraged by the coaching staff's faith in him.

"I got you," Dyer said he told the coaches.

From there, most everything Dyer touched across three sports turned golden, and today, the Albuquerque Journal names the versatile Dyer as its 2023-24 Metro Male Athlete of the Year.

"It means the world. It's a very prestigious award," Dyer said. "This was always something I wanted to win. It was always on my bucket list."

The Journal's recognition comes at the end of a week that began with Dyer announcing his intention to play college football for Arizona State, where he is going to shift from quarterback to wide receiver for the new Big 12 program.

Dyer also was one of La Cueva's key pieces as a guard on the basketball team, and he earned points in multiple events at May's state track and field meet.

"He competes at a very high level. He has a winning mentality," said Dyer's sister Jordyn, a standout on La Cueva's girls basketball team. "He hates to lose and he loves to win."

Football is Dyer's next-level ticket.

The 2023 Gatorade Player of the Year combined for 55 touchdowns — 29 passing, 26 running — last fall.

And that first Cleveland game last season certainly helped the Bears to refocus on locating Dyer's sweet spot. Which they did.

"The big thing is, we changed some of the things we called for him, allowed him to use his feet a little bit more," Back said. "We wanted to limit the number of hits he took early on in the season. After that game, we knew that he was better when he was moving, so we made adjustments."

Dyer rushed for 1,492 yards in 13 games, including 220 in the 6A final.

It was, Dyer said, a full-circle moment, for him and for his team, which began 0-3 but won its last 10 games.

When the Bears began to construct their offense around Dyer, with his size (6-foot-4), speed and football savvy, La Cueva surged in the second half of the regular season and then into the playoffs as Dyer's elusiveness devastated opposing defenses.

"It was time to take the reins off and let him run," Back said.

Said Dyer: "They let me loose, they let me be who I am, which is a true dual-threat quarterback, beat you with his legs, beat you with his arm."

Dyer is doing some more racing — he is planning to graduate early, in December, in order to enroll at Arizona State early in 2025.

He was recruited collegiately at three positions: safety, QB and wide receiver. His last hurrah at quarterback will come next fall as La Cueva attempts to repeat as 6A state champion.

Last winter in basketball, Dyer averaged 11 points, 6.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists for La Cueva. He placed third in the 5A long jump in the spring, and also was a key member of several La Cueva relays on the track.

"The benefits are endless," Dyer said, speaking of the correlation between participating in track and field and how it translates into football success.

If he'd decided to go in that direction, La Cueva basketball coach Eric Orell said, Dyer could have made himself a college prospect in basketball. It was Dyer's stellar facilitating in the first half of the state semifinals that put the Bears on the threshold of upsetting powerhouse Volcano Vista last March.

"He was the glue," Orell said. "He was a matchup nightmare, and no team could match his size, or his athletic ability and intelligence."

While basketball was Dyer's first love, football is where he carved out his biggest niche. Once he visited Tempe last weekend, Dyer said, there was no need to visit any other campus this summer.

It's certainly in keeping with Dyer's reputation as being a stickler for detail, and his dedication and confidence are attributes others say are virtues.

"There is never a break for him," Jordyn Dyer said. "He really wants to separate himself. He knows that's what will separate him from everybody else."

Back talks about a Dyer who is putting in time with the football team even when he's not required to during certain stretches of the track and field season.

"Cam was there every morning," Back said. "I appreciate his presence. There's not a single place or single community activity that we have that he's not a part of."

And Dyer is a famous film junkie, Back said. The day after a game, Back can monitor on Hudl, where game films can be found, how much time Dyer is spending breaking things down.

"Whatever that next day is, I can log into Hudl and I can see the hours he's putting in on film. He loves to watch film," Back said.

Dyer smiles when this is relayed to him. He admits that he sometimes gets caught in a classroom watching film and has to be told to stop.

Dyer's perserverance is notable, Back said.

"I love Winston Churchill, he's one of my favorite historical people," Back said. "And he had a quote, success isn't final and failure isn't fatal. We say that a lot.

"We tell parents, we're gonna put your kid in a hard situation and we're gonna see what he does when he fails. We look for those opportunities early, to see how they respond."

Dyer? Well, look at him now, flourishing. And with just one more prep football season ahead before he shuffles off to the Arizona desert.

"I'm very excited. I've been preparing for this moment my whole life," he said. "I'm definitely ready to take that next step."

About Cam Dyer

School: La Cueva

Age: 17

Born: Albuquerque

GPA: 3.63

Sports: Football/basketball/track and field

Parents: La'Tasia and Patrick

Siblings: Deven, 20; Jordyn, 16

Trivia: Dyer played basketball for both the Brown brothers, Danny (currently the head coach at Sandia) and Greg (the head coach at Volcano Vista) when he was younger.

Multitasking has its price: Dyer laughed a little as he recounted the occasional day when his body, beat up being a three-sport athlete, was in distress. He even admitted crawling up the stairs a couple of times, when he could barely walk because he was so sore.

Watch for little sis: Jordyn is a standout on the La Cueva girls basketball team, and she and Cam have always been extremely competitive with one another, being only 11 months apart. His prediction for Jordyn? "I'll let her game speak for herself, but she's gonna shock a lot of people. That's all I'll say."

On film: Yes, Dyer is known for logging in major time to watch La Cueva football game film. But he also is a movie junkie. "Remember the Titans" is a favorite. So is "Forrest Gump," he said.

Idolizing: The late Kobe Bryant is Dyer's role model. "I'm a football player, but the way he approached his life, his mentality and everything ... I carry a lot of what he did into what I do. Whatever you do, you should give it your all, because you only get to do it once. You don't get a do-over."

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