The football gods had to be smiling on Monarch.
The Coyotes won their first title in 10 years in December, and before the euphoria had even begun to subside, a holiday gift fell into the Coyotes’ lap. It came in the form of Jay MacIntyre, whose father, Mike, had been anointed the new University of Colorado football coach.
Jay was a standout quarterback at Valley Christian in San Jose, Calif. when his life suddenly took a haphazard turn, and he landed in Louisville. Also a basketball standout, MacIntyre quickly joined the Coyotes on the hardwood last season as a junior and helped Monarch to one of its finest seasons in recent memory.
But now it’s time for football. Like any newcomer, MacIntyre will have to earn the quarterback position. Sam Lehman was next in line after incumbent Cole Watson graduated, but MacIntyre has no misgivings about having to battle his way into a starting role.
“I’m totally fine with that,” MacIntyre said. “I’ve moved so many times, and everywhere I move I have competition. I have to re-prove myself and I have to show everyone what I can do. I have to try as hard as I can to earn a start.”
To be clear, MacIntyre cannot even begin to forecast where he will be a year from now. He hasn’t decided whether he’ll pursue football or basketball, and if it is football, he might project as a defensive back.
It will be an overwhelming senior year in some regards for MacIntyre. He will debut for the Coyotes in football, play his second season in basketball, balance his recruiting options (which most likely will include overtures from his father at CU) as well as watch how well CU performs in his dad’s first season.
“This year, right from when I moved in January, has been a crazy year,” MacIntyre said. “It’s just going to keep getting crazier.”
While he hasn’t been named the starting quarterback after a handful of off-season activities, head football coach Phil Bravo knows he has an amazing athlete on his hands. He’ll be on the field somewhere.
“It adds to our depth and it adds to our inner-competition,” Bravo said. “He’s got to battle through some good competition on our team, which only makes us better.”
Bravo got his first in-person look at MacIntyre at Monarch’s 10-day spring football session, as well as 7-on-7 competitions, including the Denver Broncos-sponsored event and the CU Passing Jamboree.
The coach lauded MacIntyre’s ability to release the ball quickly and said that he throws “a very catchable ball.” Bravo said that “without a doubt” MacIntyre will be lining up on both sides of the ball.
MacIntyre arrived at Monarch in early January and didn’t know a soul. His mom actually had chosen the school for him, so the first time he saw Monarch in person was his first basketball practice.
“It was obviously a hard transition for him, as it would be for anyone who has to move in the middle of their junior year,” said Kyle Billingsley, MacIntyre’s teammate in both sports. “But I think our school as a whole welcomed him with open arms, and both the basketball and football team were very excited to have an athlete like him play on the team.”
Billingsley said MacIntyre took a brief period to settle in, but did an excellent job of making friends and making a name for himself. In his first home basketball game, MacIntyre was appreciative of a Coyotes student section that began chanting “J-Mac” although he hadn’t met most of them.
He created an immediate buzz at the school, something difficult to do after the Coyotes had captured the 4A football crown weeks earlier at Sports Authority Field with a 17-14 win against Denver South.
“We knew that we still had a lot of talent and that we could make another run,” Billingsley said. “And now, with the addition of J-Mac, we gain a ridiculously athletic player who can help us greatly on both sides of the ball.”
Now, the question begs: Will it be MacIntyre’s last football season or his final basketball season? At Valley Christian last year, he thew for 979 yards and tossed 11 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also rushed for 436 yards and five more TDs.
As a point guard, he helped the Coyotes to a 19-6 record (14-4 after his arrival) and averaged 15.4 points a game. At a tick below 5-foot-11, his size might factor into the recruiting process. But he undoubtedly will be on the field or court somewhere, contributing at the next level.
“July will be a big time for basketball,” MacIntyre said. “When it comes to basketball, I’ll be all in for basketball. When football is here, I’m going to be all in for football. I don’t really have a favorite. I’ve played them all my whole life and I love them both.”
Many have wondered aloud why a quarterback would choose Monarch, considering the Coyotes operate the state’s most infamous run-based scheme. But Bravo always has maintained that he’d have no qualms slightly tinkering with the system if personnel dictated it.
Could it happen this fall? (Under the hypothetical scenario that MacIntyre wins the job, of course.)
“I have great respect for Jay,” Bravo said. “He realizes he’s coming into a very competitive program, and he understands those dynamics. He’s allowed things to form, and hasn’t tried to be over-persuasive in his person. He’s just allowing things to evolve and has done a good job adjusting, which is hard to do.”
As far as adjusting, MacIntyre seems to have become an expert.
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