Zone Read: The Heat is On

Arizona Sports News online

By Eric Sorenson

How’s everyone doing?

Also, how crazy was it some Arizona student-athletes graduated BEFORE winning state championships in their spring sports?

Let’s hope for stability as we make our way towards the mid-point of a surprisingly quickly passing 2021.

“Zone Read” was able to pop out to a pair of spring showcases, at Pinnacle and Saguaro, and came away even more impressed with the high volume of young talent our state is producing. The secret’s been out for a minute but wait until you see how high the bar is raised in the next few years.


Last week’s Cody Cameron helped debut our “Four for ’24” list so let’s keep the good times rolling with CC’s look at the upcoming junior class in State 48, again listed alphabetically. 

Three for ’23

Jackson Bowers – Tight End (Mesa Mountain View) Bowers is yet another multi-sport athlete. 2023 tight end who already has multiple Power 5 offers. With a large frame of 6’5 230-pounds, Bowers already checks the box of the Power 5 size for tight ends. Where Bowers is special is his ability to go up and win contested 50/50 passes, using his size to shield off opposing defensive backs from breaking up passes. Bowers does a tremendous job of attacking the pass with both hands, catching the rock at its highest point on jump balls. Jackson Bowers will be a very special player for Mountain View for the next two seasons.”

Alex Doost – Offensive Line (Mountain Ridge) “This young man is a monster! Doost is every bit of 6’6 300 + pounds with an 80-inch wing-span. Doost has really good feet, especially for his size, as well as an excellent base in his pass protection sets. He has a nice understanding of leverage and uses his large frame to overpower opposing defensive linemen. The three-sport athlete gets after it on the wrestling mat during the winter sports season and throws discuss and shot put in the spring. Arizona State was the first school to offer Doost a few months ago. I fully expect this to be a multiple Power 5 offer player.”

Duce Robinson – Tight End/Wide Receiver (Pinnacle) “Duce Robinson is one of the most sought after players in the 2023 class in the entire country. The 6’6 tight end/wide receiver is easily one of the best pure athletes that I’ve covered in the state of Arizona. Robinson possesses great hands, runs crisp routes, and is a matchup disaster for opposing defenses to try and cover. Robinson also excels on the basketball court and on the diamond during baseball season. He has collected double digit Power 5 offers already in the early stages of his recruiting process.”

One Jumpy Jackrabbit

It’s hard to blame Craig Montgomery.

Quite simply, between the white lines under the Friday night lights, the Mesa High now-senior running back likes living in the fast lane.

Last fall as a junior, the 5-foot-8, 155-pound speedster who also plays rugby, tallied 711 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games but became a tough self-critic when watching film during the season and this spring. 

“I ran hard but I didn’t exactly run where I was supposed to,” Montgomery explained to the “Zone Read” with a wry grin. “On certain plays I’d go to the wrong gap.”

Some of it he “blames” on his football instinct and seeing an opening or a crease in the defense, even if the play wasn’t necessarily designed to go that direction. 

“I felt like I wouldn’t let the hole fully develop,” he continued. “I would just go somewhere else.”

While the results were, at times, certainly favorable, the Saturday morning film sessions with MHS head coach and former Washington State and Arizona Rattlers quarterback Chad DeGrenier have been well, humbling.

“They’ve been tough, he’s yelled at me a lot,” Montgomery said with a laugh. “He just keeps telling me to go in the right hole. My position coach just keeps drilling it in my head all day, every day. If I’m even an inch off, he rips into me.”

Montgomery, who ran track this spring (11.7 in the 100 meter) but still added bulk to his frame, believes he’s learned and grown from his past mistakes and is prepared for a big senior season for the Jackrabbits.

Buckle up…and make sure to hit the right hole, regardless of the results.

Knight School

Higley High rarely has a shortage of football talent and while it’s still premature to forecast four, or even three, years into the future – it appears head coach Eddy Zubey and his staff could potentially have something brewing in the class of (gasp) 2025.

Let’s start at quarterback with Jamar Malone – a 6-foot-2, 205-pound dual threat flamethrower who is transferring to the southeast Valley school from Carson, California. 

Simply from a physical standpoint, the framework – and speed (Malone runs a 4.58) – is already in place, considering he has four years of weight training at the high school level ahead of him.

Speaking of physical and framework, wide receiver Bear Tenney could very well be one of Malone’s favorite targets.

Already 6-foot-4, 208 pounds the wide receiver, who also plays basketball, looks every bit the part and has great football bloodlines considering his cousin is former Higley standout, now NAU running back, Draycen Hall.

Add 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker Kamarion Peete – who received and FBU Freshman All-American Camp invite – along with fellow linebacker Isaac Morales, some young pieces could be falling into place.

As we know, competition breeds success.

It will be interesting to watch their development in the coming years.

Never a bad problem to have, right Coach Z.?