Justin Nicholas capped of his historic season by being named Honorable Mention All-State in Division 5 by the Detroit Free Press, Associated Press and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA). He was also named the Offensive Player of the Year by the Northern Michigan Football Conference and All-Region by the Traverse City Record Eagle.
Justin’s journey to becoming an all-state quarterback is very different from most. He wasn’t a two year or three year starter on varsity; in fact he hasn’t been a starting quarterback since his freshman year on the junior varsity team. Justin has been on the varsity team since he was a sophomore but he had to play other positions such as linebacker and running back as the Vikings already had a standout quarterback in fellow all-stater Cam Summers. However when Justin took the reins of the high powered Viking offense this season he kicked his season off with a bang throwing for 280 yards and four touchdowns to help the Vikings set a school record for most points in a game in a 66-20 rout of rival Roscommon.
Over the course of the season, Justin continued to put up big numbers but it was the Benzie Central game on October 13 that really put him over the mark. In the game Justin completed 39 passes on 72 attempts for 623 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a wild 58-46 comeback victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. Justin’s 623 yards put him second all-time on the MHSAA single game record (Omar Salih from Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy threw for 674 yards in 2013) and also broke the previous school record of 507 yards held by Jimmy Osga. His 39 completions put him tied for 3rd place all-time for completions in game (Jimmy Osga is in 1st place with 41 completions set back in 2008) and his 72 passing attempts ranks him second all time for completions in a game behind Jimmy Osga (74 in 2008). Justin’s eight touchdown passes also put him tied for 2nd place in MHSAA History (Omar Salih’s had 9 touchdowns in 2013) and put him in 1st place in the school record book (Cam Summers had 7 in 2015).
By the end of the season, Justin would put his stamp in not only the Grayling record books but the MHSAA record books as well. Overall, Justin completed 216 passes on 379 attempts for 3,188 yards and 28 passing touchdowns. He also added 434 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. His 218 completions rank second all-time in school history behind Jimmy Osga’s 234 in 2008 and 13th all-time in MHSAA History. His 379 passing attempts ranks him third all-time in school history behind Jimmy Osga (438 in 2008) and Jake Swander (381 in 2012) and puts him 12th all-time in MHSAA History. Justin’s 3,188 passing yards tops Jimmy Osga’s all-time mark of 3,146 set in 2008 and puts him 16th all-time in MHSAA History. His 28 passing touchdowns puts him tied for third place in school history with Zane Tobin and his 40 total touchdowns this year (28 passing and 12 rushing) breaks Osga’s record of 35 TDs set in 2008.