If there are takeaways for the high school athletes and coaches who have gruelingly dealt with the pandemic — and the effects from it — near the top would be the importance of adapting.
Most didn’t have a choice over the last 18 months. While some, like Broomfield senior Josh Dunn, proved a master at it as he added onto his athletic resumè, going from a three-sport star to a letterman in four sports last school year.
His mindset was simply, “I didn’t want to miss an opportunity.”
The senior, deemed a Swiss Army knife by Eagles junior quarterback Cole LaCrue, is a proven catch waiting to happen. At 6-foot-4 with pillowy hands, he will rotate between receiver and cornerback for Blair Hubbard’s program this fall.
His multiple responsibilities are making no one nervous.
“When he’s a cornerback, it helps me get better because I know what I’m going to go up against, and he gives me a really good look on defense,” LaCrue said. “And on offense, he is my No. 1 guy.”
King of the adjustment, Dunn’s athletic schedule, a bit of roulette, goes from football to basketball, where he is expected to again play under his dad and coach Terrence Dunn, before it finishes with track and field. Last school year, he added soccer to the bunch.
He said he saw opportunity as the state broke the sports schedule into four smaller seasons instead of the normal fall, winter and spring in 2020-21. Playing soccer for the first time since third grade, he said, he savored the moment as the backup keeper for 10-time Colorado state championship coach Jim Davidson.
“I had nothing to lose,” said Dunn, who was credited with a win in the only game he played in net. “Just trying something new. And learning from a great coach like coach Davidson who has an insane amount of rings, it was just (learning more) about the mentality of a champion and the leadership it takes. And I already know coach Hubb has instilled a winner’s mentality and has made this program bigger and better.”
Dunn’s brand of adaptability is a sought-out quality on the football field. And at 6-4, it’s even more so.
Prior to the team’s Week 1 game against Golden, LaCrue raved about it after practice.
“He lettered in soccer as a goalie, which is hilarious, but it’s awesome,” LaCrue grinned. “We can put him wherever we need him and he adapts really well. We’ll tell him stuff on the fly and he’ll do it perfectly. He is one of those guys who are really smart and is a team player and will do whatever he needs to do.”
Last fall, Dunn was the favorite target in LaCrue’s first year starting at QB. Leading the Eagles into a condensed 4A playoff field, the two connected for 452 yards and seven of the team’s 10 passing TDs in six games.
This year, the Eagles say the two’s chemistry has grown.
“With last year’s season being crazy and shortened and everything, I think it was hard for a lot of quarterbacks and receivers in the state to get good timing down,” Hubbard said. “This summer, with a full stretch of camp and full 7-on-7s competitions and practices, I see them clicking a lot better than last year.”
With it, the Eagles are looking to reach the postseason for a sixth straight season. They begin at Golden (Friday) before opening at home against Longmont (Sept. 3). Their other nonconference games include at Denver South (Sept. 10), Monarch (Sept. 17) and Loveland (Sept. 24).
Cream of the crop: 2020 BoCoPreps.com all-region team
First team offense (name, 2020-21 class, school )
QB Liam O’Brien, Sr., Fairview; QB Chase Silva, Sr., Skyline; RB Grayden Bridwell, Sr., Skyline; RB Trevin Johnson, Sr., Holy Family; RB Braelon Tate, Jr., Legacy; RB Mason Veve, Sr., Erie; WR Caleb Johnson, Jr., Longmont; WR Grant Page, Jr., Fairview; WR Craig Wright, Jr., Niwot; TE Corby Tecu, Jr., Mead; OL Oscar Aranday, Sr., Skyline; OL Jake Berry, Sr., Fairview; OL Justice Brashear, Sr., Broomfield; OL Cord Kringlen, Sr., Holy Family; OL
First team defense (name, 2020-21 class, school )
DL Kevin Allen, Sr., Broomfield; DL Aiden Gaddis, Sr., Longmont; DL Brody Welch, Sr., Holy Family; DL Brayden Wood, Sr., Fairview; LB Hall Edmonds, Sr., Broomfield; LB Eli Mackey, Sr., Mead; LB Andrew Piper, Sr., Erie; LB Justin Trostel, Sr., Holy Family; DB Nathan Bailey, Sr., Mead; Jay Barry, Sr., Fairview; DB Mason Dickerson, Jr., Legacy; DB Jackson Petitte, Sr., Monarch.
First team athletes/specialists (name, 2020-21 class, school )
K/P Matthew Eich, Sr., Broomfield; K/P Liam Gray, Sr., Holy Family; KR-PR Eli Hubert, Jr., Silver Creek; ATH Cole Carlucci, Jr., Monarch; ATH Brayden Keys, Sr., Mead; ATH Keegan Patterson, Jr., Longmont.
Aidan Achtziger, Jr., TE, Erie; Ayden Bartko, Sr., QB, Niwot; Blake Berdan, Sr., RB/LB, Fairview; Brady Borger, Sr., LB, Mead; Nathan Churchich, Sr., P/LB, Silver Creek; Chris Cinocco, Sr., OL/DL, Frederick; Benton Daniels, Sr., TE, Holy Family; Kale Derksen, Jr., LB, Longmont; Josh Dunn, Jr., WR, Broomfield; Jake Farling, Sr., ATH, Erie; Zach Ferrera, Jr., DL, Monarch; Gavin Garrettson, Jr., QB, Mead; Jimmy Grace, So., OL/DL, Monarch; Alejandro Gutierrez, Sr., OL, Skyline; Joel Hesse, Sr., OL/DL, Skyline; Noah Hubbard, Sr., P, Monarch; Liam Huber, Sr., LB/WR, Fairview; Jose Ibarra, Jr., OL/DL, Skyline; Braden Keith, Jr., DB, Legacy; Bryson Kenyon, Sr., WR, Prospect Ridge; Cole LaCrue, So., QB, Broomfield; Reese Lehman, Sr., OL/DL, Frederick; Zach Lewis, So., LB, Fairview; Michael McCarty, Jr., LB, Legacy; Ryan McConnell, Jr., OL/DL, Erie; Dylan Meredith, Sr., ATH, Prospect Ridge; Logan Miller, So., WR, Skyline; Blake Neece, Jr., DB, Holy Family; Bryce Nemec, Jr., DL/LB, Niwot; Jaiden Peterson, Sr., QB, Legacy; Nick Peterson, Sr., WR, Skyline; Monte Pickering, Sr., LB, Lyons; Taylor Rees, Sr., OL/DL, Silver Creek; Josh Rouland, Sr., WR, Fairview; Sam Ruffing, Sr., LB, Longmont; Brady Samaras, Jr., LB, Holy Family; Oscar Sena, Sr., WR/DB, Holy Family; Hayden Sock, Sr., ATH/P, Mead; Sean Stevelinck, Sr., ATH, Lyons; Alex Sturn, Jr., TE, Frederick; Evan Walls, Sr., OL/DL, Prospect Ridge; AJ Wheeler, Sr., OL/DL, Broomfield; Michael White, Sr., QB, Holy Family; Noah Williams, So., OL, Legacy; Deklan Wilk, Sr., LB, Prospect Ridge.
NOTE: The following were recognized during the spring for their exceptional work in Season C — Drake Arthur, Sr., Boulder; Titis Gebhardt, Sr., Justice; Elijah Graham, Sr., Boulder; Spencer Mickleberry, Jr., Centaurus; Anthony Valdez, So., Justice; Luke Werner, Sr., Boulder; Eddie Zygowicz, Sr., Centaurus.