The Press Democrat texted Jack Newman, ready to inform the Analy quarterback that he is our Large School Offensive Player of the Year. When Newman texted back, he had a question: Could he wait until the Patriots-Broncos AFC championship game was over? He’s a huge Patriots fan.
When we finally connected, we asked Newman if he knew that Cardinal Newman had beaten Tom Brady when the future NFL great was at Serra High School in San Mateo. Not only was he aware of the fact, Newman has watched video of the game on YouTube more than once.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is a kid who soaks up football and pays attention to detail. It all came together in 2015 when Newman stepped into the starting quarterback role as a junior and led the Tigers on a parade of shattered records.
When all was said and done, Newman had completed 298 passes (second in the state of California, among all divisions) for 4,051 yards (fourth) and 53 touchdowns (first), with just seven interceptions. He set Analy single-season records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns, and single-game marks for completions (40), attempts (61), yards (505) and touchdowns (six, twice).
Perhaps most remarkable, he did it in truncated playing time. Analy got ahead of teams so fast that Newman played just six full games. Six other times he went to the bench at halftime. Twice he was done after a single quarter.
With Newman directing the action, the Tigers overcame the loss of several key players (like Ja’Narrick James, last year’s Offensive Player of the Year) to go 13-1 and play in the North Coast Section title game for the first time. They lost to Campolindo 38-28 in Division 3.
Typically, Newman deflected the praise.
“I just want to say that the biggest reason why I was able to put up those numbers is the style of offense we run and the receivers around me,” he said. “We run a lot of quick-tempo plays, and the receivers are able to get the ball in their hands quickly and in open space. So a lot of the yardage was yardage after the catch, which is a quarterback’s dream.”
Newman went on to praise the crucial leadership of a pair of Analy seniors, linebacker Isaac Kangas and wide receiver Schuyler Van Weele.
There is something to what Newman says. Offensive coordinator Keith Simons, the former head coach at Santa Rosa JC, has installed a dynamic system at Analy that relies on spread formations, three-step drops and precise short-to-medium routes by the receivers. But in Newman, Simons and Tigers coach Daniel Bourdon have found the perfect conductor.
“In our offensive system, we really leave a lot of the decision-making in the hands of the quarterback,” Bourdon said. “Jack is a real smart football player. He studies games, and he knows his reads. And he’s an accurate passer.”
Especially important, the coach said, is Newman’s compact throwing motion.
“He’s got a quick delivery,” Bourdon said. “From the time he catches it to the time it’s out of his hands, he’s a lot faster than other high school quarterbacks you’ll see. That’s a big deal in that short-timing-passing-game stuff.”