Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Cox Ready to Lead the Warriors as Quarterback and Captain

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Rising senior Jack Cox played quarterback and served as a captain for Valley Regional-Old Lyme football last season. Jack will be reprising those roles this year as the Warriors aim to make playoffs with plenty of talent all around the field. Photo courtesy of Jack Cox

Rising senior Jack Cox played quarterback and served as a captain for Valley Regional-Old Lyme football last season. Jack will be reprising those roles this year as the Warriors aim to make playoffs with plenty of talent all around the field. (Photo courtesy of Jack Cox )

Jack Cox is carving out a nice career as the quarterback for the Valley Regional-Old Lyme football team. A rising senior, Jack will return as the starting quarterback and a captain for the squad after holding both of those roles last season. The Warriors endured a challenging campaign in 2019 due to a slew of injuries, but with a solid offensive line and plenty of weapons in the receiving corps, Jack and his teammates are striving to make a run at a title this fall.

Jack feels that any team needs to be on the same page in order to see success. As a captain, Jack knows that his fellow Warriors believe in him just as much as he believes in them. After all, the votes that came from Jack’s teammates played a part in becoming one of the team’s captains.

“I’d say my biggest achievement as a player is being a captain,” says Jack. “This is my second year as a captain. I know that being elected to the position means that the team is behind me. That means a lot to me.”

Jack’s success at the quarterback position was never a foregone conclusion. Jack had humble beginnings to his football career, but through perseverance, he found his place as a valuable contributor under center.

“I started playing football in 4th grade, but it didn’t go well. My parents tried to protect me from embarrassing myself in 5th grade, but I convinced them to let me play again in 6th grade,” Jack says. “I wasn’t very good in anything until I started playing quarterback. That’s when I started to get better. My dad Berry played quarterback in high school. He also wore No. 10 like I do. I got pretty good at throwing as a kid, and playing quarterback was always a dream of mine.”

Jack took his lumps through middle school, but improved enough to where he was playing meaningful games once he got to the Warriors. That experience helped Jack adapt to the immense expectations that come with playing quarterback.

“In 6th grade and 7th grade, I got B-team reps. When I started in 8th grade, we went 0-10. When I got to high school, Ryan Santos was the starter my freshman year, and we split reps my sophomore year. I hadn’t developed as a leader at that point. I learned behind Ryan, and that was a good developmental year,” says Jack. “It feels good playing quarterback. It’s a lot of pressure. Everyone’s always watching you. You have a chance of doing something great every play, but you also have a chance to do something wrong every play. It’s the highest highs and the lowest lows.”

In order to combat that pressure, Jack focuses on staying even-keeled when he’s leading the Warriors as their QB.

“I don’t have a proven ritual yet, but I have to take a few deep breaths before a game. A lot of guys at other positions can really get hyped up, but I have to stay flatlined,” Jack says. “You can come out too hot and get antsy, throw the ball too soon, or jump the reads. I figured out that you have to go out calm.”

Recently, the Warriors held their first major workout, which took place much later than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players from Valley Regional and Old Lyme got together to run drills and prepare for the upcoming season. Jack says that it felt good to get out there and see everyone working toward the same goal.

“Our coaches aren’t allowed to be there yet. It was a little difficult. Me and the guys have to run the practice,” says Jack, an Old Lyme resident. “Everyone was hustling. Everyone is buying in, because we know we can do something special if we do. It felt great to be with the guys.”

While Jack is no stranger to the captain’s role, he feels that more is required of him as a senior. This includes doing things like organizing the team’s practices.

“As a senior captain, guys are looking to me even more than they did last year. Last year, I was kind of the fourth guy. This year, there’s no one that I can look up to as an older guy to rely on,” Jack says. “So far, I think I’ve done what I can. I know if we have a bad offseason and no one is working out, it’s on me.”

Warriors’ Head Coach Tim King has depended on Jack to take his fair share of snaps for a while now. Jack continues to prove that King’s faith him is certainly well-deserved.

“Jack’s got a great arm and great poise in the pocket. We’re really looking forward to great year. He has quality receivers to throw to, a good backfield, and a great line in front of him. We’re expecting some great things from Jack this fall,” King says. “So far, the captains are pretty much running the workouts, and Jack has been a big part of that. The captains and the inner-circle players contact and organize the activities, and it’s all voluntary, too. Jack’s doing great with not just the Old Lyme kids, but the Valley kids, too.”

Jack plans to play football at the collegiate level and is still weighing his options on schools that have shown an interest him. Right now, though, Jack’s goal is to get himself and the Warriors ready for the gridiron in their quest to make a deep postseason run.

“My mission this year is team-based. I want to go to the playoffs, make a run, and get a Pequot championship. We have the guys to do it, and we all know that if we have a season, there’s a good chance of that,” Jack says. “The main focus right now is on having the best year we can have. Our motto is ‘No regrets every play’. Don’t give 100 percent for yourself, but for the guy next to you. We should come out on top if that’s the case, but if we lose playing that way, so be it.”


Chris Negrini is the Assistant Sports Editor for Zip06. Email Chris at c.negrini@shorepublishing.com.

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