(Photo Courtesy: Tyler Shough)
Two of the best quarterbacks in the state face off tonight in Hamilton’s Tyler Shough and Perry’s Brock Purdy.
The two have stat-filling resumes and have faced off a couple of times, but they know each other better than most opponents.
Because at one point they were teammates.
Purdy and Shough played together on the Chandler Reds, a travel baseball team coached by former big leaguers Clay Bellinger and Jamie Brewington. The roster featured plenty of players who are some of the top baseball players in the state, including Cole Bellinger who was a 15th-round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Jamie’s son, Chance Brewington, was also on the roster and was a Hamilton wide receiver over the past few years. He is currently making plays at Northern Arizona University in his freshman season.
Jamie said Shough played with the Reds from about ages 11-14, and he stood out on that roster from the beginning.
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“He was a quiet kid – very ambitious, very smart, so much to his own detriment sometimes,” Brewington joked. “I remember him being willing to put in the work no matter what it was.”
Brewington remembers a time when Shough was frustrated with the way he was playing and snapped back at his coach. His parents had Shough write a letter to Brewington apologizing for the outburst.
“He wrote it and it was almost like an adult writing me a letter apologizing for something,” Brewington said. “The kid never did anything like that again, and that shows who he is and what he stands for. He’s a good kid, he’s a well-rounded kid.”
Purdy joined the team around age 13 or 14 as well and him and Shough instantly clicked.
“It was me and him in the middle infield, “Shough said, “I grew up developing a relationship with him through baseball. Him and I were always pretty close.”
Photos Courtesy: Jamie Brewington
By then, Brewington was no longer coaching the team, but he had played minor league baseball with Brock’s father. One day early in Purdy’s high school football career, Brewington was at a game and kept hearing Brock’s name on the public address system. He connected the dots and has enjoyed watching Purdy develop into a leader.
“When he says something, ‘Hey, hey quit messing around, let’s go.’ and they fall in line, there aren’t too many 17-year-olds first of all that would say that and then have his teammates take that to heart,” Brewington said. “Just to see that and to see how he carries himself how he performs (is impressive).”
Purdy and Shough are two of the most competitive guys you will ever meet, and that showed even at a young age.
“(Tyler’s) competitiveness jumped out the most, he always wanted to win,” Purdy said. “He was really athletic in everything he did. He made hard plays look easy and he was an all-around stud.”
While both players have given up baseball to focus on playing quarterback – something Shough consulted Brewington on when making that decision earlier in his high school career – they still remain close and take a lot of pride in representing the city of Chandler throughout their athletic careers.
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“We’re pretty good friends. We would go to quarterback lessons in the off-season,” Purdy said. “We…always congratulation one another with offers or accolades that happen. It’s competition on the field but off the field we’re pretty good friends.”
And tonight, there will be plenty of competition as the two quarterbacks try to earn a victory against their friend and rival.
“(Brock is) fierce, mobile and hostile,” Shough said with a smile. “Watching him on the field, I always wanted to be on defense because I feel like I had to stop him. It’s hard to stop that man, he’s always running around making plays. He’s a great competitor.”
Both Perry and Hamilton sit at 7-1, and the game can be streamed right here at Sports360AZ.com.