Peery staying focused during unexpected break

Peery staying focused during unexpected break

By Tony Ciniglio

 Zoom team meetings. Virtual recruiting. Isolated workouts.

This is the new normal for Sierra Canyon senior-to-be quarterback Chayden Peery during these unprecedented COVID-19 times.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Peery said he has found a routine to help him push forward both in his recruiting process and toward Sierra Canyon’s Aug. 21 kickoff at JSerra, even with the world in a COVID-19 standstill.

“At some point, this is going to end,” Peery said. “We’re going to be able to play football on the field again.”

“We have to stay positive. We have to keep preparing. We need to stay in shape and do what we can so we are ready to go when it is normal again.”

Sierra Canyon is coming off a banner season in which it captured the CIF Southern Section Division 2 crown with a commanding victory over Chaminade. It also beat Helix in the Regional Bowl before falling to Central High of Fresno in the state final.

With the usual 7 on 7 passing tournaments and showcases off limits due to COVID-19, Coach Jon Ellinghouse has kept the Sierra Canyon players focused with individualized workouts.

And of course the daily 3:30 team video conference meetings on Zoom.

“Our meetings help us talk football and stay fresh mentally,” Peery said. “It’s pretty interactive, like a normal film session. Coach even shares his screen with the whole team so we can be even more prepared.”

Peery has made sure to get his daily workouts in as well.

Peery, a Lake Castaic resident, works out with his receiver Daniel Prado in nearby Valencia, with proper social distancing and safety protocols of course.

Prado has a gym setup in his family garage.

“Our coach has us working out, and we’ll send him a video so he knows we are putting in the work,” Peery said. “It’s not just playing video games.”

Peery is fresh off a stellar individual campaign where he threw for 3,401 yards, 18 touchdowns and just one interception on 236 of 393 passing. He also rushed for five more touchdowns.

Peery said he has 20 Division 1 offers on the table. His first offer came from the University of Nevada. Peery also said that Kansas, Michigan State, Syracuse and Duke are among his suitors.

“I want to try to narrow down my list in the next month,” Peery said.

Recruiting has taken a different turn to due COVID-19 precautions.

Since college coaches and recruiters are unable to see Peery in person and Peery is unable to visit campuses during the nationwide lockdown, Peery has gotten creative during his recruiting process.

Peery has taken to FaceTime calls and texting to strike a personal connection and has made videos of him throwing that he uploads to Twitter.

“Most coaches are pretty understanding. We’re all in the same boat,” Peery said. “There are some coaches that remain concrete, who won’t offer without seeing someone live or without a college visit. But we’re all adjusting.”

Peery will be the ringleader.

Peery, who will be a rare four-year starter, is 34-9 in three seasons at Sierra Canyon, throwing for 7,972 yards, 50 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while adding 16 rushing touchdowns. He guided Sierra Canyon to back-to-back CIF titles and Regional bowl victories in 2018 and 2019 and would love to cap his career with a state title.

Just as he is in the pocket, Peery is exuding cool under this COVID-19 pressure.

“It’s not been too bad to be honest,” Peery said. “I’m still getting in my football work, but I have been spending more time with family and I have had a lot more free time to do other things as well.”