No short­age of foot­ball ta­lent at Valor Chris­tian

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Kyle New­man: 303-954-1773 knew­man@den­ver­post.com or @Kyle­new­mandp

Valor Chris­tian’s Rod Sher­man has a de­ci­sion on his hands, and it’s one any prep foot­ball coach would love to grap­ple with: Which Divi­sion I prospect should he start at quar­ter­back?

In a pro­gram that’s been to eight con­sec­u­tive state cham­pi­onship games since 2007, won seven of them and is the twotime de­fend­ing Class 5A cham­pion, suc­cess has be­come a rou­tine. And af­ter the grad­u­a­tion of Univer­sity of Michi­gan­bound gun­slinger Dy­lan Mccaf­frey, the Ea­gles are more than ca­pa­ble of a three­p­eat with se­nior Blake Sten­strom or ju­nior Luke Mccaf­frey, Dy­lan’s brother, run­ning the of­fense.

Both are des­tined to play big-time col­lege foot­ball — Sten­strom is com­mit­ted to the Univer­sity of Colorado, while Mccaf­frey has of­fers from a boat­load of pow­er­house pro­grams such as Ohio State, Michi­gan and Wash­ing­ton. They are sons of for­mer pros — Steve Sten­strom was a quar­ter­back for five sea­sons in the NFL, while Ed Mccaf­frey was a Bron­cos star at wide re­ceiver who needs no in­tro­duc­tion here.

And both are ath­letes who would no doubt eas­ily win the start­ing job in just about ev­ery other pro­gram in the state.

“Blake and Luke are un­be­liev­able kids who have worked hard to mas­ter our sys­tem, and they have a very high foot­ball IQ and are well-re­spected by their team­mates for their work ethic and their char­ac­ter,” Sher­man said. “Th­ese guys come to prac­tice ev­ery day and com­pete with each other, so we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Sten­strom saw ac­tion be­hind Dy­lan Mccaf­frey last sea­son, post­ing a 105.7 quar­ter­back rat­ing while throw­ing for 500 yards and seven touch­downs.

But his abil­ity ex­tends be­yond drop­backs and arm strength, facets of the game that the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Sten­strom ex­celled in dur­ing camps this sum­mer, in­clud­ing the re­cent Blue-grey All-amer­i­can Com­bine.

“For him to be called a pocket passer, I think is a lit­tle deroga­tory be­cause his ath­leti­cism is so un­der­rated,” Sher­man said. “He has an un­be­liev­able fu­ture at CU, and he can re­ally sling it around well. But his ath­leti­cism will show again this year as it did last year, when he was our third-lead­ing rusher.”

As for the youngest Mccaf­frey — who is fol­low­ing in the large foot­steps of older broth­ers Max (Duke/green Bay Pack­ers), Chris­tian (Stan­ford/carolina Pan­thers) and Dy­lan — the 6-2, 180-pounder is ea­ger to prove the skills he dis­played last sea­son at wide­out, cor­ner­back and re­turner can trans­late to the quar­ter­back po­si­tion.

“Luke is so ath­letic that I think most peo­ple think, ‘He’s go­ing to be a spread quar­ter­back that can’t get un­der cen­ter,’ and that’s just not the case,” Sher­man said. “He’s got­ten valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence this sum­mer get­ting us up to the line and get­ting us in the right play call, and know­ing when to trust his ath­leti­cism and when to trust his arm.”

And with other key of­fen­sive play­ers such as ju­nior run­ning back Joshia Davis, se­nior run­ning back Jadin Wat­son, se­nior wide­out Ryan Thibault and se­nior tight end Ben An­der­son — not to men­tion an of­fen­sive line that re­turns eight of its top nine play­ers from last sea­son — Valor Chris­tian will no doubt be in the ti­tle dis­cus­sion once again come Novem­ber.

Whether the Ea­gles’ of­fense will be quar­ter­backed by Sten­strom or Mccaf­frey re­mains to be seen on a team laden with loom­ing show­downs for start­ing po­si­tions on both sides of the ball.

“As a staff, we’ve talked to the guys a lot about what true com­pe­ti­tion is, and if we could ap­proach com­pe­ti­tion as ‘We’re go­ing to make each other bet­ter, and I’m thank­ful we get to com­pete against play­ers ev­ery day that are go­ing to ben­e­fit me in the long term,’ ” Sher­man said. “But there’s no spe­cific time­line on those (start­ing lineup) de­ci­sions.”

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Luke Mccaf­frey, a ju­nior quar­ter­back at Valor Chris­tian, has been of­fered a schol­ar­ship by Ohio State, Michi­gan and Wash­ing­ton.

Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

Valor Chris­tian’s Cu-bound Blake Sten­strom, a se­nior prac­tic­ing hand­offs last week, is the son of a for­mer NFL quar­ter­back.

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