By Mark Maxwell
Austin Bray has a cannon for a right arm.
Bray, the junior quarterback for the Aurora Christian Eagles, is the most recent recipient of the Allstate Athlete of the Week award after tossing three touchdown passes and racking up 202 passing yards in a 36-27 victory over the Seneca Fighting Irish in the IHSA Class 3A quarterfinals.
Bray attended a quarterback camp at Ole Miss during last offseason. His coach, Don Beebe, told Comcast SportsNet that Bray set a record for the hardest thrown football in camp history.
“I guess they take a gun, like you would a baseball pitcher, and he threw it 56 miles an hour," Beebe said. “Now (Brett) Favre threw it 62, to put that in perspective. This kid can stand there at the 50 (yard line) and throw it through the goal post. He's got a big arm.”
Beebe knows a thing or two about strong-armed quarterbacks. He caught passes from Favre and Jim Kelly during his NFL career, two of the NFL's all-time strongest throwers.
Bray can put more than just a power arm on his football résumé though. He has the smarts to go along with it.
“You have to be very smart to play quarterback in the complexity of the offense that we have here," Beebe said. “We run a scaled-down version of the no-huddle offense. In the K-Gun, what we used to run (with the) Buffalo (Bills), we kind of took the mixture of the West Coast, no-huddle, K-Gun, and conglomerated into the Aurora Christian program. It works, but he has to study a lot of film. He has to know exactly what he has to do in all situations, and he has done a very good job of that.”
A man of few words, Bray said his goals were simple.
“Just get better each week," he said. “That's what I'm shooting for. Just keep getting better.”