Zone Read: Spring Into Action

Arizona Sports News online

Let me start this week’s Zone Read by conveying my thoughts and prayers to Todd Heap and his entire family. Todd is a wonderful person, great family man. Godspeed during this incredibly difficult time.

Priorities In Place

Much has been made, and rightfully so, of Hamilton’s Tyler Shough. By now you’ve probably heard of the laundry list of high-end college offers, including this doozy.

But you may not be aware of the quarterback’s 4.4 grade-point-average. It’s no secret, grades plus talent get you recruited. If you don’t have the first, don’t worry about the second.  

Same Name, Different Game

You may not be familiar with the name Ben Finley but my guess is you’ve heard of his older brother Ryan. The former Paradise Valley High star threw for over 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns as a redshirt junior at North Carolina State last season.

Now it’s Ben’s time to lead the Trojans after tossing for nearly 1500 yards and 14 TD’s in nine games in 2016 as a freshman.

PV’s Greg Davis is familiar with both, currently coaching Ben and one time coaching against Ryan when he was at Cactus Shadows High School.

“There are a lot of attributes that Ben possesses that remind me of Ryan,” Davis said to “I think Ben is a lot further along at this point that Ryan was. You can thank Ryan for that. Ben looks up to his brother and you can tell he wants to be just like him.”

Davis is also quick to point out he’s stressing upon Ben to form his own legacy at the school.

“Carve his way as Ben Finley,” Davis explained. “Not Ryan Finley’s brother.”

Told Ya’ So

Two years ago I did a feature on a raw, little known lineman at Central High School named Azur Kamara. Born and raised in Africa, the tall, lanky soccer star first donned shoulder pads his freshman year. 

His coach, former Centennial Coyote standout and Nebraska defensive lineman, Jon Clanton told me before his senior season, “I think he’s a Division I defensive end.”

Takes one to know one I guess.

Kamara played well this past year at Arizona Western after racking up 25.5 sacks and 106 tackles his senior season at Central. He also has offers from Arizona, Tennessee, Kansas and Hawaii among others. 

Just For Kicks

I’ve said for the last few months I believe the Chaparral “rebuild” will be more a of a quick remodel. The Firebirds have a couple new coaches, a stud quarterback, and a host of talented players around him including sophomore-to-be Tommy Christakos.

At 6-feet-3, 190 pounds the wide receiver has ideal size to be a big-time playmaker with his legs in Chap’s offense…in more ways than one.

Family Guy

Casa Grande and the surrounding areas have quietly produced some solid players in the recent past. One of those is dual-threat athlete Alec Meza who transferred 15 miles down the I-10 from Vista Grande to Eloy Santa Cruz.

It’s rare to see a player transfer from a 5A to 2A school but the move makes sense since Meza’s mother is a teacher at Santa Cruz.

“I’ve been counting the days until spring ball starts,” Meza said to “Being new to the program I’m most excited about getting to know my teammates and seeing how we mesh together.”

A well-built, skilled athlete with big-play capability, the Dust Devils plan to use Meza primarily at running back, but he could see action in the slot and at quarterback, as well. 

What A Difference A Year Makes

It’s hard to believe Spencer Rattler is only going to a junior this fall. The Pinnacle quarterback has seen his game and body evolve over the past two years. As a sophomore he played at 6-foot, 170 pounds. He’s now 6’1 1/2 and close to 180 pounds.

“I’m trying to be at 185 before the season,” he said to “I can bench press 225, squat 405.”

There’s far more to Rattler than just being a two-sport athlete as we’ll explain in the next couple weeks…