Zone Read: Painting With A Purpose

Arizona Sports News online

How y’all holding up? I know this continues to be an unsettling time but please be safe and considerate of those around you. Also, stay cool (yikes, it’s hot right now!).

Hopefully the late summer will bring football back on all levels, including Friday nights — not just here in Arizona but everywhere.

For now, here’s my latest “Zone Read.”

Rock(er) Mentality

Quarantine has stretched our patience but also driven some to find, or even perfect, an untapped passion or hobby.

Tucson Canyon del Oro 2021 star running back Stevie Rocker isn’t only sweet with his feet, he’s also pretty darn good transforming images in artistic ways.

Between lifting twice a week and working with his trainer on field drills, Rocker is not only keeping his body active — but the three-star prospect has also been strengthening his creativity through his mind and hands.

“I’ve always liked art, I used to draw a lot,” Rocker said to the “Zone Read.” “But ever since COVID-19 I started putting it on canvases and paintings.”

On the field, he’s ready for a big senior season after battling injuries last fall where he played in only five games for the Dorados. 

Regardless, the word is out on Rocker after the three-sport athlete rushed for over 1100 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore. Fellow Tucsonian Bijan Robinson, arguably the greatest prep running back in State Forty Eight history, feels Rocker is ready to take the torch…and run with it, in southern Arizona.

“Thank you to him for saying [that] and passing the [torch] to me,” Rocker said. “It’s a great feeling hearing it from a GOAT running back like himself.”

The 6-foot, 185-pounder already holds offers from Arizona, BYU, Cal and Nevada.

Gettin’ Work In

One player who’s been doing his due diligence to build off his strong sophomore season is Casa Grande quarterback Angel Flores.

The Cougars were one of the state’s better success stories in 2019, finishing 7-5 and advancing to the 4A state playoff quarterfinals. 

Flores flourished in his first full year as starter throwing for 2314 yards and 15 touchdowns. Maybe equally impressive was his work on the ground, racking up 914 yards and 14 more scores last fall. 

Now he’s doing his best to stay focused on the big picture, while not feeling overwhelmed being away from his teammates and classmates at school as quarantine continues all over Arizona, including in rural Casa Grande.

“I’ve been dealing with this quarantine pretty well,” Flores explained to the “Zone Read.” “It’s stressful but I’ve got used to it. I’ve been staying in shape by doing home workouts and running outside.”

Flores also has the benefit strength equipment – including a squat rack, bench and dumbbells – at his house. He says he can mirror “regular gym workouts” from his home in Casa Grande.

— Angel Flores (@angelf17_) April 20, 2020

He’s also been able to throw with some of his CGUHS teammates and friends at local parks.

Scary to think how good this 6-foot-1, 205-pounder is going to be over the next two years. 

Fields of Dreams

Two Tempe Union High Schools, Tempe High and Desert Vista, will have new turf fields when the Buffaloes and Thunder take the field this season.

According to the Tempe Union School District, Tempe and DV were deemed the most in need of an upgrade so those schools were selected first. Next year Corona del Sol and McClintock’s fields will be addressed – pending approval, followed by Mountain Pointe and Marcos de Niza.

“It’s going to be a game-changer for all our sports,” Thunder head football coach Dan Hinds said to the “Zone Read.” “I cannot wait to get on it in August.” 

Both 2020 projects are expected to be completed by August 21st.

21 And Up

21 Chandler High football players now have future college football opportunities.

Idaho, who frequently recruits the Valley, offered a pair of Wolves on Thursday.

They’ve also won 50 of their last 51 games dating back to early in the 2017 season.