Before the sun rises over the Valley of the Sun, the Brophy Broncos are already warmed up and halfway through practice.
It’s a Tuesday, one of three days of the week that the Broncos are up and at it starting at 5:30 a.m. before a rigorous school day.
“We get a good two-hour practice in before school starts,” first year Brophy head coach Jason Jewell said. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday that’s what we do and then Thursday, Friday, sleep in and they’re normal students.
“We have a football hour at two o’clock, it goes until three and we watch film or lift weights on those days. That’s a normal seventh hour and then when school is done, they get to go home.”
— Christopher Ramsey (@Senhor_Coach) October 8, 2019
Brophy is coming off a big win against Hamilton on the road. It was the program’s first road win against the Huskies in school history. Now, they’re preparing for one of their biggest tests of the year against nationally ranked Chandler on Friday.
The Broncos senior class is on their third head coach in as many years with Jewell.
They have played under Scooter Molander, who is now working on starting the football program at Eastmark High in the East Valley, and Jon Kitna who left to take a position as the Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach.
When Jewell first met with the team as the new head coach he emphasized one thing: trust.
“In my very first meeting that I had here after I took the job, I said I want to gain your guys’ trust because I’m their third head coach in three years and that’s tough for these young men,” Jewell said. “It was really showing up every single day and being here was the first step for me to prove to them that I was here and in it for the long haul.”
The team feels that Jewell’s ability to gain their trust early and quickly has led to a lot of the success they have seen so far this season.
“When a guy like Coach Jewell comes in and genuinely cares for everyone on the team, it’s really easy to trust him and lay everything out there for him when you know he’s got your back and he really cares for you,” senior quarterback Matt Winter said.
The senior class has also bonded closely during the regime changes the Broncos have had which has been a key part of what makes up the team’s character this season, senior linebacker Jack Taylor said.
“This year, the team just loves each other and buys in to each other,” Taylor said. “I think we have a great senior class that brings everyone up with them, that has just stuck together through all these coaches.”
Jewell has built a staff that has a lot of experience in coaching and that he has the utmost trust in as well.
“I don’t micromanage them,” Jewell said. “We talk and everything goes through me, but I’m good about delegating and letting them do their own thing.”
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
The Broncos are 7-0 to start 2019, just two seasons after going 1-9.
When Jewell took the Brophy head coaching job, he didn’t have any high expectations on what his team could accomplish in his first season, but so far he hasn’t been disappointed.
“I thought we had a chance that we could win some games and had a chance to be 6-0,” Jewell said. “Beating Liberty and beating Mountain View I knew would be real tough, now in this Premier Region schedule it’s brutal. So, did I expect it? No. Did I think we had a chance? Yes.”
The big win against Hamilton on Friday was one that the Broncos won’t soon forget, but for now they’re grinding it out in an early morning practice and focused on the next challenge.
“The emotions were just unreal, and it lasted all the way until Sunday,” Jewell said of the win against Hamilton. “Then the reality check comes in that we have to play Chandler this Friday.”
Brophy and Chandler are the last two unbeaten teams in 6A. The Broncos defense has only given up 36 points in seven games, but the Chandler offense is far and away one of the best, if not the best, in the state.
“We got one game out of the way, we felt how the Premier Region was going to be,” Winter said. “If we just keep the intensity that we played with last game, I feel like we’ll be pretty good. Everyone has been doubting us since the beginning. We’ve proved them wrong so far, so we’re going to just keep proving them wrong.”