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Prep Spotlight: Zane Phelps goes full speed ahead

Phelps knows no other way than straight through


Zane Phelps somehow manages to play power forward and third base exactly the same way he runs the football.

In basketball, baseball and football, the Bayfield High School senior always attacks.

He will run you over in the open field rather than take a stutter step and lose momentum.

He will grab three rebounds on the same play, even if it means missing twice to get a better shot.

He will swing for the fences even when a sharp single up the middle would do.

The pedal-to-the-floor strategy occasionally backfires in fouls or strikeouts.

More often than not, though, pick your exclamation when Phelps’ engine revs up – buckets, home run or touchdown.

“I guess that’s just kind of how I am,” said Phelps, son of Dion and Koel Phelps.

The approach works for someone who favors his baseball skills and plans to continue playing that sport in college.

Phelps was named to a Colorado High School Activities Association All-State team in both baseball and football last season and figures to be in contention for both this year, as well.

He ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns in Bayfield’s dominant win over Miyamura on Sept. 11 and figures to be a important part of Bayfield’s offense as they try to end two-time Class 1A state champion Paonia’s 26-game winning streak this Friday at Wolverine Country Stadium in Bayfield.

Phelps has carried the load for the Wolverines since the start of his sophomore season.

Bayfield’s default play in almost any situation boiled down to “run Phelps up the middle, gain four to six yards.”

“Our goal is to be balanced, but basically he’s an All-State-caliber player. He’s got to carry the ball,” BHS head coach Gary Heide said. “I think he can handle whatever we feel in that game that we would like him to do. He can carry the ball 30 times or 15 times.”

Phelps has evolved from being a pure battering ram, though.

He was Bayfield’s leading receiver last season, and BHS senior quarterback Kelton McCoy often tries to find him in the passing game.

Against Miyamura, McCoy was flushed from the pocket and under duress, so he transferred the ball into his left hand and flipped it to a waiting Phelps for a first down.

“I just happened to turn around, I saw purple and went ‘I hope that’s not a lineman,’” said McCoy, son of Derek and Loresa McCoy. “He somehow finds me in the right spot at the right time. He’s a guy you want on your team. He’ll go out there and bust his butt for you.”

McCoy and Phelps have cultivated a bond with each other and the rest of Bayfield’s 13 seniors.

There’s another senior number that troubles Phelps – six.

That’s the number of football games the group is guaranteed if they don’t make the postseason (which appears likely given BHS has started the season with three wins and is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A).

“It definitely drives me. It’s a number that’s been creeping on us seniors,” Phelps said. “It’s setting in that we don’t have much time left together.”

Regardless of how the rest of the season goes, Phelps can end his time with the BHS football team knowing his impact will be remembered.

Phelps developed both physically and mentally as a runner in his three years as a starter and learned how to be a better leader.

“I’ve seen him take more of a leadership role and more of a positive leadership role,” Heide said. “He realizes he has to show and display encouragement as well because people look up to him.”


Behind the scenes

Who is your favorite athlete?: Troy Tulowitzki

What is your favorite summer activity?: Fishing

What song can’t you get out of your head?: “Hotline Bling” by Drake

What is your favorite childhood story?: Dr. Seuss books

What teacher has had the greatest impact on you?: Gary Heide

What’s the worst place you’ve had to travel for a game?: Shiprock, New Mexico

Celebrity Crush: Jennifer Anniston

GO to Pizza topping?: Meat

Where is a place you haven’t visited but most want to?: Hawaii

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