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Prep football: Cade Apsay — Varsity QB

Junior not only had to follow up the act of a great quarterback, but also had a broth

Posted: November 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Canyon High quarterback Cade Apsay has shot out of the gates in his first season under center, leading the league with 2,939 yards and a school-record 35 TDs.

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In high school athletics, it’s pretty easy to find stories of high school athletes stepping out of the shadows of high-profile predecessors, siblings or parents.

All-star athletes etch their names in record books all the time — eventually, someone surpasses them.

Canyon High quarterback Cade Apsay’s story is similar — but just as he’s busy rewriting the Canyon record books, he’s also rewriting that storied cliche.

Apsay found himself in a unique position this year, earning the starting quarterback job the year after Canyon great Jonathan Jerozal, Canyon’s career leader in passing yards and touchdowns, departed.

But that wasn’t the only shadow hanging over the 16-year-old as he entered his junior year.

While trying to separate himself from Jerozal, he’s also doing his best to live up to a brother’s standard.

Coley Apsay, who starred for the school’s basketball team (eventually being named The Signal’s 2012 All-SCV and Foothill League’s Player of the Year), was one of the Foothill League’s top receivers in 2011.

“(My) freshman and sophomore year, (Coley) was the big shot on campus,” Cade says. “Walking around seeing him with all his friends, there was a shadow. But then I just realized that I should make my own shadow in my sport. And I talked with him about that. He told me that I shouldn’t let his reputation disguise me and my path in high school.”

A league-leading 2,939 passing yards and a single-season school-record 35 touchdown passes later, Cade has more than made his own path.

“Cade’s doing an absolutely great job and it’s tough for anybody,” says Jerozal, now a freshman at Stetson University in Florida. “It takes a lot of work and respect from coaches and a lot of self confidence and Cade’s showing that, especially for the community. It’s showing by his stats. And any record set at Canyon is an unbelievable feeling — and to break that so quickly is tremendous.”

This Friday night, Apsay will be back out on the field at Canyon High School, leading the Cowboys, who finished second in the Foothill League, in a first-round CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game against San Luis Obispo High School at 7 p.m.

For a team that was predicted by many to finish no better than third, that alone is quite the accomplishment.

“You have that competitiveness in most of the guys on our team,” he says. “We had to prove everyone wrong that our team isn’t a third-place team.”

That fact was solidified last week, when he drove the Cowboys down to the 1-yard line in a game tied at 14 with rival Hart, before place kicker Bonifacio Rojas hit a 17-yard field goal to win the game as time expired.

“Walking into the stadium with the team and all the people in the stands, everyone was yelling and screaming. And on the kickoff you feel that mood — the tense, excited, nervous, craziness,” Cade says of his first experience with the Hart-Canyon rivalry at the varsity level.

“When that ball went through the uprights, my first thought was ‘Take that — we just beat them’” he says. “It was a really good feeling.”

But it was an accomplishment that came as no surprise to his head coach.

“We did (expect this) actually,” Gutierrez says. “Only because Cade’s composure is something he always had ... We had a number of quarterbacks compete for the position, but when he had his opportunity to shine, he not only led the team, but modeled that leadership ability.”

And the scary thing is, as a junior, he has another full season to grow.

“The sky’s the limit for Cade ... I don’t think I ever want to put a limitation on his own growth,” Gutierrez says.

“It depends on him,” Coley adds. “He’s doing the work. I think he’s going to be bigger than me. He’s going to do big things in another year.”

And as the accomplishments continue to roll in, and the team continues to roll on, Cade Apsay becomes more and more a name of his own — far removed from the shadows of his predecessors.

“Our biggest thing for him was him trying to make his own path and him coming out and playing football on the varsity squad and having as much success as he is right now, I think he’s doing great,” Coley says. “I don’t think he’s Coley’s brother anymore. I think he’s Cade Apsay — varsity quarterback.”

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