BY PETE MOHR | JUNE 30, 2010
Meet the Football Falcon Seniors …
Middle linebacker Joey Hughes
“Falcon jumpin’ jacks on three! One! Two! Three! F-A-L-C-O-N-S!” Clap-clap! That was (Joseph) Joey Hughes stepping up to lead the cadence for the pre-game calisthenics before the “7-on-7s” took the field against Desert Ridge at Brophy’s “Passing League Tournament,” Friday evening, June 25. At a 5’10”, muscle-trimmed 220 lbs., senior middle linebacker Joey Hughes has come a long way from the self-described “fat, chubby little kid” who first played Cave Creek-Carefree Youth Football as a DAMS 7th grader.
“Up to that point, I’d pretty much been a Little League baseball player; but in 8th grade, the (2006) State Championship team really got me into football. That’s a modest understatement. At the end of his season for (then) Coach Kyle Sager’s Falcon Freshmen, Joey was called up (with teammates Alex Yazdi, John Leonard and Nick Erickson) to Varsity. Sophomore year, the majority of his playing time was on JV, but he logged enough Varsity minutes to earn his first “CSHS.” In 2009, the Falcons’ exciting 11-1 season, slotted at defensive end and offensive guard, you couldn’t miss his big plays in almost every game. For some inexplicable reason, this writer didn’t highlight No. 56 until mid-season. Two months hence, that won’t happen again!
“You know,” he recalls, “I really wasn’t expecting to play that much; but when I found myself starting both ways … well, I was just happy to be out there playin’ next to my brothers.” That’s the same Joey Hughes who told me that being a Football Falcon means to him “having pride in myself … pride in my team … pride in my school … and proud to be a part of a great football program.”
He understands the importance of “senior leadership” and eagerly accepts the challenge of being a senior leader. “I really believe that we’ll be as good as, if not better than, the great group of seniors who led us last season; but I don’t feel that we’ve quite grasped that concept. After our Team Bonding Weekend in early August, we’ll find that extra little something that will mold us into one big family.”
Born November 11, 1992 in Phoenix, Joey is the youngest of Jim Hughes’ (Desert Hills) and Creeker Beth Gaston’s three children.
He volunteers that his 3.1 GPA can be improved upon, before he enrolls in Glendale Community College’s Fire Science program, looking to become a career firefighter.
“I love football,” he acknowledges, “but this season will be my last.” Possibly playing only one way (at strong side middle linebacker), “I’ll be fresh and ready to go out there and play defense like an animal!
"I’ve told Bryce (sophomore quarterback Kinsler), ‘You be the leader of the offense; I’ll be the leader of the defense; and no one can beat us!’” These two have coined a code word: Sicknasty!
In his 2010 football finale, No. 56, praised by Head Coach Chad DeGrenier as “a hard worker and great leader,” can be counted on to play Sicknasty – and then some!