There’s a lot happening in Arizona sports, including news in and around the high school football scene.
Thus, no spring break for “Zone Read.”
Here are some some storylines which caught my attention this week.
Playing a Different Cord
There wasn’t much Chase Cord couldn’t do during his time at Sunrise Mountain High School.
A three-sport athlete for the Mustangs and, most importantly, an exceptional student – the then 6-foot-3, 195-pound Cord led Sunrise to the 4A State Semifinals his senior season and ended his prep career with nearly 10,000 passing yards. He graduated with the state record for career touchdown passes (137).
The three-star quarterback would commit to Boise State in 2016 and sign less than a year later.
Earlier this week, Cord medically retired from the game he loved after a laundry list of injuries impeded his abbreviated three-year career with the Broncos.
First college touchdown! Will never forget this moment. Thankful 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/9zgslcQBBJ
— Chase Cord (@chasecord) September 3, 2018
However, through the struggles and setbacks, came perspective – both on and off the field.
“Being around a bunch of different coaches, it really opened up my mind to a lot of different things,” Cord said to the “Zone Read.” Not just about playing it but coaching it and helping others along the way…I have no regrets. I’ve grown a lot as a player and as a person.”
Cord believes he was “unlucky” dealing with the injuries but maybe snake bitten is a more fitting description.
2017: redshirted as a true freshman.
2018: torn right ACL (same one he tore playing basketball his junior year at Sunrise Mountain).
2019: torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, fractured ankle, fractured throwing hand.
“I was playing [in 2019] with all four of those injuries,” Cord explained. “The competitor in me had to keep going. A lot of other guys were playing [quarterback] at that time and I didn’t know if I was going to get another shot to go in there and play…after that 2019 season I just never got back to where I was before.”
The grind just became too much this past year.
“Not being able to make that one throw or that one cut, things like that just started adding up,” he said. “It came to a point where it was hard to show up every day and be physically sharp, as well as mentally sharp. At the end of the day, I needed to look out for my body, my health, and my future.”
Cord consulted a number of people in his circle – his parents, close friends, the Boise State coaches and trainers before eventually coming to the decision to step away for good.
— Chase Cord (@chasecord) December 13, 2020
Despite the struggles, he believes he’s become a better person throughout the peaks and valleys in Boise.
“It’s definitely helped me with my resilience and battling through adversity,” he noted. “Maybe that’s just a part of my story. Just helping guys through the physical struggles and helping them through the mental part of it, too.”
Cord is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in communications. He’s considering a career in sports broadcasting or possibly trying his hand at coaching.
Whatever his future has in store, success is sure to follow.
“Zone Read” appreciates you, Chase Cord.
Twice as Nice
Saguaro football is undoubtedly a “blue blood” program in Arizona but the Sabercats’ basketball program made unbelievable strides this season behind a talented group of 10 seniors and a junior big by the name of Tristan Monday.
Ya’ know, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound outside junior linebacker who already holds offers from Arizona, Baylor, Colorado State, Florida State and others.
“I’ve actually been playing it since before I played football,” Monday said to the “Zone Read.” “I think I was five years-old playing in the YMCA league. That’s when I started.”
Saguaro hoops advanced to the 4A playoffs under first-year coach Lucas Ramirez after winning just four games last year. Their season ended Wednesday night with a playoff loss to third-seeded Paradise Honors in Surprise.
— Lucas Ramirez (@CoachLRamirez) March 7, 2021
“I feel like the football players bring that energy and that winning culture from football to the basketball court,” Monday continued. “That just helped us from last year. Last year there wasn’t a lot of energy.”
TRISTAN MONDAY! He goes up, gets the bucket and draws the foul to extend the lead. Free throw is good, Saguaro extends the lead to 46-38 with under 2 minutes. A remarkable effort by Monday tonight all across the court 🏀 pic.twitter.com/TJTlZe08se
— Brittany Bowyer (@bbowyer07) February 27, 2021
Energy has never been a problem for Monday. He averaged a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game in the regular season after tallying 4.5 sacks and a jaw-dropping 18 tackles for loss in just six games for Jason Mohns’ defense last fall.
He’s had to not only adapt from the physicality of football to the speed of basketball, but Monday lost seven pounds during basketball season simply from all the running. He’s also had to adjust his diet to fit which sports he’s playing.
“I’m definitely eating a lot less during basketball season because if you eat a lot, you’re going to be slow on the court and you’re not be as agile.” he explained. “While on the football [field], you need that strength. You need those carbs to keep you going through every single play.”
Monday was able to sneak in some football spring workouts, mostly morning lifting, as long as it didn’t fall on a basketball game day.
He also took over the football-leadership-on-the-hardwood-role from Xander Werner who early enrolled at NAU this spring.
“It’s hard when you’re younger than everyone else,” Monday said of his older basketball teammates. “But when they trust you, that’s when you can start leading by example. This is what we do to win in football. If I bring this over here to basketball, that’s how we’re going to be successful.”
It seems every spring the next “big thing” comes to the forefront in Arizona high school football recruiting circles.
While it may be a bit too premature to throw Deric English into said category, the 2023 Mountain Ridge wide receiver landed a Power 5 offer from a school who has plucked a handful of excellent AZ ballers from State Forty Eight.
Blessed Beyond Belief to have received an Offer to @MSU_Football From @CoachCKap and @Coach_mtucker Thank you to My Guys @CoachPerrone and @artichokenation🏈 @MtRidgeFootball @azdolphinsfb @gridironarizona @CodyTCameron pic.twitter.com/uiuw0HTddR
— Deric English (@DericEnglish22) March 9, 2021
English’s splashy high school debut included four catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns in the Mountain Lions’ lopsided season-opening win over Skyline.
“Deric is a dynamic athlete with ridiculous body control and hand-eye coordination,” head coach Doug Madoski said to the “Zone Read.” “He has the abolity to beat you over the top of coverage, yet at nearly 6’5, 200 pounds is a big target underneath where you can create more favorable matchups.”
What else would u like to see 🤷🏿♂️ https://t.co/95bV1sGmwy
— Deric English (@DericEnglish22) March 7, 2021
Maybe just as important as English’s talent, is his leadership – especially considering he’s still an underclassman in the MP program.
“There is another side to Deric that most people don’t get to see,” Madoski explained. “The type of teammate and person that he is. He’s a team-first guy that develops relationships with his teammates. He constantly looks to help and encourage them as they work at their craft. Nothing is beneath him as an individual.”
With 31 receptions for 451 yards and seven touchdowns in just six games, it’s easy to see why Sparty jumped into English’s offer list which also includes Arizona, NAU and Morgan State.
“Deric English was a player I was hoping to see in the back-half of the shortened 2020 season,” Sports360AZ Recruiting Expert Jordan Hamm noted. “Unfortunately, he was banged up and missed Mountain Ridge’s last game and the Chilly Bowl, but he has been so impressive in passing league from what I’ve seen. He has big size and isn’t afraid to catch contested passes…I feel like he’s just getting started in a talented wide receiver group in the 2023 class.”
The Pinnacle Plan
Sounds like Dana Zupke is getting some future help up front for his offense.
“Zone Read” spies tell us the Pioneers will be adding to their talented, young nucleus with a west Valley 2024 lineman with big upside who has impressed on the camp circuit already this spring.
Expect the ‘Neers to bounce this fall with a number of underclassmen getting their feet wet at the varsity level in 2020.