Zone Read: COVID-19 Continues On

I hope this finds you, your family and everyone you’re close with safe as we continue to navigate through COVID-19. These are undoubtedly strange and uncertain times but please be cautious and mindful of how your decisions could potentially impact others around you.

Now, let’s get to this week’s “Zone Read.”

Smart Shopper

Perry High two-sport athlete and junior wide receiver Gavin Keppel, along with his dad Scott, are hoping to take a proactive approach for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[My dad] had the idea of helping deliver groceries to those who may not feel comfortable going to the store to buy them,” Gavin said to the “Zone Read.” “I would go to the store with their list, get everything and head to their house and they would send me the total for all the groceries.”

The Keppel’s are in the infancy stages of this mission but if you know anyone who would like the help of their services, ****please contact Gavin directly at 480-688-4835 or by email: [email protected]****

Ty High Praise

Was interesting to hear who Mesquite star quarterback and recent Oregon commit Ty Thompson feels could be a breakout quarterback nationally to watch as a guest on Ralph Amsden and George Wrighster’s Pac-12 Apostles podcast earlier this week.

“In Arizona, I’d say PJ London,” Thompson said. “He’s a really good quarterback…I can’t wait for his recruitment to take off. He’s an athlete.”

Thompson knows firsthand about the Blue Ridge High signal-caller since both train together here in the Valley.

“It feels great and I’m very humbled by what he said,” London said to the “Zone Read.” “For someone like him to recognize what I’m doing builds my confidence…and it really helps me grow working with someone with such phenomenal talent.”

Last season the 6-foot-3, 200-pound three-sport athlete, who also plays free safety for the Yellow Jackets, threw for over 2300 yards and 10 touchdowns as Blue Ridge finished 9-3.

A Cat Turned Dog

2021 interior lineman TJ McCrae has a new home. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder surprisingly transferred from Saguaro to Peoria Centennial in late January.

The two-year varsity starter for the Sabercats seems to be liking his new surroundings in the west Valley.

“Centennial has welcomed me with open arms, I’ve enjoyed a smooth transition – especially in the classroom,” McRae explained to the “Zone Read.” “I came from a winning tradition where hard work and high expectations go hand in hand. It feels great finding a place where the same rules apply.”

McRae, a three-star prospect who has an offer from Memphis, said he plans on playing both sides of the ball for the Coyotes. Centennial lost to Hamilton in the first round of the Open Division playoffs last year.

All in the Family 

Brophy head coach Jason Jewell tipped off the “Zone Read” on the fact he, along with fellow Washington High grads Sam Jacobs (Sunnyslope head coach) and Jon Becktold (Corona del Sol) all played for former Rams’ head coach Steve Chisman. 

What may be even more ironic is Jewell’s Broncos are scheduled (although nothing officially official from the AIA) to play neighboring Slope, as well as Corona later this fall.

“None of us played together but all of us played for Steve Chisman,” Jewell said. “These are guys that I have known since I was 14-15 years-old. Coach Becktold was my JV coach and Coach Jacobs’ family is very dear to me. I actually lived with them during some hard times in high school. Sam actually got a marriage license and married my wife and I. [They] both mean a great deal to me.”

Jewell said he plans on inviting Coach Chisman, who was the head coach at Washington from 1984-2004 and led the Rams to the playoffs 10 times, to both games. 

Warrior Mentality

We here at the “Zone Read” are fans of Sean Freeman so it was nice to see the former Copper Canyon head coach is returning to his alma mater Mesa Westwood to coach defensive backs.

“Just feels good to go home,” Freeman said to the “Zone Read.” “I grew up across the street from Westwood…I felt like I wanted to go somewhere I knew and is on the verge of making some serious noise. I’m very excited and ready to get to work.”

Freeman graduated from Westwood in 2001 and was a part of the state runner-up team who lost to Red Mountain 20-10 in the 2000 5A state championship.

No Irish Goodbye…Yet

According to Notre Dame head coach George Prelock the Saints game against Fenwick High School (IL) is still on for August 28th in Dublin, Ireland. The high school football showcase is part of Global Football.

However, Prelock warned the event is still subject to change, potentially canceled, until we know more about the COVID-19 pandemic moving forward.