Zone Read: The Needs Of November

Arizona Sports News online

How’s everyone’s Election Week going?

Yeah…figured as much.

Anyway, here’s this week’s “Zone Read.”

Brophy’s Balloters 

It was wonderful to see what Brophy College Prep did on Election Day.

BCP took voting to the next level turning the central Phoenix campus into a balloting station for people in and around the area.

Several football players were active participants assisting with the event.

“I think that the opportunity given to us by Brophy to participate in the civic process even though we may not be able to vote encourages future participation in our demcoracy,” junior offensive lineman Hayden Horn said to the “Zone Read.” “It was a very unique opportunity to get involved in the community in such a direct way and I am truly grateful for it.”

“Working the ballot stations was honestly kind of fun,” senior defensive tackle and right guard Matt Goins explained. “A lot of what fills the air around politics is immaturity and anger but being around the ballot station Tuesday has made me think differently.”

Brophy didn’t have classes Tuesday and deemed it, “The Day of Democracy.”

Way to help rock the vote, BCP.

Movin’ On Up

Like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, Northwest Christian football just keeps on keeping on.

In their first year at the 4A level the unbeaten Crusaders are making it looking blushingly easy behind long-time head coach David Inness.

Coming off a 10-2 3A conference runner-up season in 2019, NC has outscored their first four 4A 2020 opponents by an average of 55-7.

According to Inness the secret sauce isn’t really so secretive.

“My favorite part of this team is we just have a bunch of guys who bring their lunch pail every day and prepare each week for the game that is in front of us,” he said to the “Zone Read” earlier this week. “We have a great senior group. No one cares who scores a touchdown or who makes the tackles. They all know they have to do their job.”

Senior running back Levi Huisman has been phenomenial averaging nearly 110 yards per game on the ground. He’s already scored six touchdowns through the first four games. Junior quarterback Blake Sparks has spread the ball around to his host of receivers. He’s tossed seven touchdowns without an interception and is completing 78 percent of his passes.

The test to stay unbeaten will be much more difficult this week when they travel to Cactus to take on the Cobras who seem to be rounding into form with a number of big-time transfers now eligible after an up and down start.

Inness said Cactus is the best Northwest opponent he’s seen on film since he took over the Crusader program back in 2010.


Speaking of teams on a roll, it’s time “Zone Read” throws some love towards Jose Lucero and the job he’s done jump-starting his alma mater, St. Mary’s.

Sure, Lucero helped build and then walked away from a loaded roster at Desert Edge to return to his roots and his “dream job” as he told the “Zone Read” in the pre-pandemic days but it would be foolish for anyone to think his Knights would be sitting at 4-1 and riding a four-game win streak entering their showdown with Glendale (4-1) Friday night at Washington High School.

“The two biggest factors of our success this season has been the coaching job by my staff and the attitude of our team,” Lucero said. “My staff has done a great job putting the kids in position to be successful. Our kids’ attitudes have been great this year…every game a different kid has stepped up and performed well for us.”

The run-heavy Knights have leaned on senior Liam Phelan who’s already eclipsed 700 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. SM hasn’t throw a touchdown pass through the first five games but have 22 rushing scores.

Outside of a season-opening lopsided loss to ALA Queen Creek, the Knights’ defense has been stingy not allowing more than 12 points in their four wins.

“The school and greater St. Mary’s community are really excited about the start we have had this season,” Lucero continued. “St. Mary’s has a rich football tradition.”

You’re never too old to go home. 

What Brown Can Do For You

Last Friday in Gilbert was “Zone Read’s” first shot seeing 2021 Queen Creek quarterback Devin Brown live and he didn’t disappoint.

The USC commit not only helped the Bulldogs to a 24-14 road win over previously unbeaten Highland but showed impressive leadership from the sideline consistently encouraging his offensive line to keep battling when the game got tight late in the third quarter. It’s something which has become common place since arriving on campus as a freshman.

Brown’s numbers last week certainly weren’t flashy, 18-27 for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but his decision-making was decisive – as was his ball placement in simply taking what a talented Highland defense was giving.

“Obviously, I have a lot of talent around me so I love to get the ball in those guys’ hands,” Brown said to the “Zone Read.” “Coach [Joe] Germaine really trusts me. I think I’ve grown in this offense. I feel a lot more comfortable than last year.” 

Take away his two-interception game in a tough loss to neighboring Casteel and Brown has been splendid taking care of the ball, throwing just one interception in QC’s other four games. 

His 11 touchdown passes gives QC great balance with Peyton Barlow’s running (376 yards) and Trey Reynolds’ nose for the goal line in the red zone (four rushing touchdowns). 

False Narratives

Dear Select Athletic Directors,

Please stop spreading rumors about “this could be the final week of the high school season” or “I’m hearing it’s all about to be shut down.”

This “Zone Read” rant is directed towards the few who insist on recklessly planting these blanket and, more importantly, highly inaccurate land mines when it comes to navigating the COVID pandemic this fall. 

It’s not productive and serves no purpose, especially when these rumors get back to coaches, players and staff members who are doing EVERYTHING in their power to keep this already abbreviated and fragile season alive with everyone’s health and safety still the top priority.

You were put in a leadership role for a reason.

Please start acting like it.

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