Steady Shepherd Keeps Black Hawks Flying

In the southeast Valley Zack Shepherd’s name may not be the first one mentioned surrounded by neighboring 2019 Division I quarterbacks Spencer Brasch (Higley), Gunner Cruz (Casteel) and Devin Larsen (Queen Creek). But make no mistake, the Williams Field three-year starters prep resume’ simply stands alone among the quartet.

All Shepherd has done since becoming the Black Hawks’ starter before his sophomore season is guide WF to their first state championship in program history, win 24 of his 28 starts under center and throw 40 touchdowns in his first two seasons competing against some of the state’s best defenses.

However, it’s what he’s done off the field from a leadership standpoint which pleases his head coach the most. 

“He’s been a transformation,” Steve Campbell said to Sports360AZ.com on Friday. “[He and I] talked every year about that. When he was going to be a sophomore and going to be the quarterback…some of the older guys took him under their wing. This year he’s really took it upon himself to say, ‘these guys are looking to me as a three-year starter.'”

A student of the game, Shepherd has mastered the Black Hawks’ pro-style offense 

“That comes with offensive work and, of course, these three seasons [as a starter],” he explained to Sports360AZ.com before WF’s 49-3 blowout win at Cactus Shadows where Shepherd threw three touchdowns in just one half of action. “The game’s definitely slowed down a little bit…but the biggest thing was taking time with my teammates and developing that team bond that we need this year.”

So far, it’s worked. Despite a Week Zero loss in southern California to perennial power Norco High the Black Hawks (2-1) figure to be right back in the 5A playoff mix in early November thanks to the sometimes overlooked, but rarely outplayed, 6-foot-1, 185-pound surgeon between the white lines on Friday nights.

— Zack Shepherd (@zshep12) May 9, 2018

“He can make every throw that you measure a quarterback [by],” Campbell said. “His knowledge of the game and what he brings on the field is something probably most high school quarterbacks don’t do.”

Just keep being you Zack Shepherd.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.