Zone Read: COVID-19 No April Fool’s

I hope this finds each and every one of you safe and I can’t encourage all who read this on a consistent basis to please stay home unless absolutely necessary and if you’re out, be mindful of your surroundings and the people who you could impact by your decisions.

First “Zone Read” of April drops right now…

Adapting With The Times

In our current new normal of self-quarantine and social distancing, many coaches are keeping their players actively engaged in film work and game-planning through a number of different methods and programs.

At Pinnacle, the staff members are doing Zoom meetings to stay in-sync with one another and every PHS player has a Google classroom where they can find Hudl video presentations. Pinnacle coaches have loaded all of the offensive formations and defensive alignments.

The Pioneer players will  be “quizzed” on various blocking assignments and formations during their time away from one another this spring. 

“We are implementing a multi tier approach,” Pinnacle head coach Dana Zupke said to the “Zone Read.” “[We are] using Google docs, classroom, Hudl, remind and ReadyList sports to not only deliver content but also be able to obtain feedback and hold kids accountable for learning.” 

All the Paradise Valley Unified School District teams have access to ReadyList Pro, a program co-founded by Arizona State legend Jake Plummer.

Several other schools around the Valley, like Saguaro and Desert Edge, are using Zoom to work with position groups on a consistent basis.

Edge co-head coaches Marcus and Mark Carter implemented the program during their time at South Mountain High School, as well.

What If I Told You…

…there would be no high school football season in 2020? That’s not the reality we are facing today but there are already whispers COVID-19 could stretch much later into the spring and, possibly, summer calendar than many are anticipating. It seems almost unthinkable to picture life without #FridayNight360AZ this fall but it’s already on the AIA’s radar after Governor Doug Ducey announced all institutions would remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

— Eric Sorenson (@EricSports360AZ) March 30, 2020

Don’t think for a second it hasn’t crossed the minds of some high school players, including the top-rated quarterback in the state.

“I couldn’t imagine not playing a senior season of high school football,” Mesquite star and Oregon commit Ty Thompson told the “Zone Read” this week. “I don’t even want to think about it but it’s definitely a reality that we might have to face.”

Enough is Enough

Arizona high school players transferring from one school to another, for whatever reason, is quickly becoming the new norm. Some circles believe kids would be best served, depending on the reason for transfer, to simply stay put and work through whatever issues and hardships they are/were experiencing.

I believe certain situations are unique and if a legitimate college-level player wants to transfer for more exposure, that’s certainly their right to do so. However, history has proven not every rainbow has a pot of gold waiting on the other side. 

Which brings me to…

…it’s funny how rumors get started.

Desert Edge 2021 three-star prospect Adryan Lara took to social media to announce, of all things, he’s NOT transferring. The most disturbing aspect of this situation is the speculation wasn’t driven by players or coaches but by “fans” from another school. 

Like or not, the transfer game isn’t going to go away here in Arizona when it comes to high school football, especially when you consider how many Power 5 programs are invading the state in hopes of plucking out-of-state talent.

ASU Via #SagU

All Brandon Bostick was looking for was an opportunity to coach so, of course, the former NFL tight end took to Twitter to help do the research for him.

With his playing career in the rearview mirror, the new 30-year-old Saguaro assistant coach, who will be working with tight ends and H-backs, wants to eventually become a graduate assistant at Arizona State under Special Teams Coach Shawn Slocum, who worked in the same capacity when Bostick played for the Green Bay Packers.

“Currently I’m finishing my degree [at ASU],” Bostick said to the “Zone Read.” “So I thought I can still finish school and be a coach at a local high school. I just did my research…and found Coach [Jason] Mohns on Twitter. I told him my story and he accepted me in with open arms.”

One player Bostick will be coaching is talented athlete Xander Werner, a rising three-star 2021 prospect with five offers already.

One to Watch

Yuma isn’t a must-stop for many college coaches who make the trip to State 48 but every so often the southern Arizona city produces a talent like Cibola High tight end/wide receiver Mark Walton, an Arizona State signee in 2017 who was redshirted and eventually left the program late last summer. The 6-foot-6, 251-pounder (he gained 20 of those pounds at ASU) picked up offers from Florida Atlantic, San Diego State and Vanderbilt before signing late with the Sun Devils.

Cibola has another intriguing tight end prospect in Liam Hoffmeyer, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound class of 2021 athlete who was an all-region player last year and recently received his first offer from South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are frequently visitors to Arizona and have landed a handful of players, most recently Paradise Valley’s Jordan Brown.

— Liam Hoffmeyer (@HoffmeyerLiam) September 6, 2019

Dallas Goedert, another SDSU alum, teamed with Zach Ertz to form a dangerous pass-catching tight end tandem with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft.

“Very humbling,” Hoffmeyer said to the “Zone Read.” “I was super excited when I got the offer and I also got the feeling that all my hard work is starting to pay off.” 

Hofffmeyer, who patterns his game after Rob Gronkowski and George Kittle, is a big-play threat over the top for the Raiders. In just seven games as a junior he tallied 426 receiving yards and four touchdowns, averaging over 21 yards per reception.

“I use Mark [Walton] as an example to everyone,” he explained. “People from Yuma can make it to Division-I, even against all the odds. You just have to work extra hard.”

Bottom line: if you’re talented, colleges will most likely find you…especially here in Arizona.