Making sparks fly: Maize’s Connor Lungwitz ready for big season
The game tape tells a lot of the story, but not the whole thing.
There, you can watch the quarterback make all the throws on the field. Watch him hit the out routes from 10 to 20 yards, putting the ball high, tight and outside where only his receiver can get to it. Watch him put the ball 40 yards through the air, on a rope, and hit a receiver on the sideline, in stride.
Watch him fit the ball into that crazy, dangerous space in the middle of the field.
Watch him make more time for himself in the pocket, take a huge hit and complete the pass with the game on the line.
They’ve built a heck of a quarterback at Maize High in junior Connor Lungwitz, and as he continues to mature, the intangibles that could make him great seem to be in place. His teammates love him. He understands the game.
And he wants to win. Badly.
“We’ll know, after this year, where he stands in the overall scheme of things as far as what kind of school he could end up at,” Maize coach Gary Guzman said. “But you look at the quarterbacks at the big, Division I schools and that’s what he looks like he could be. Because of his size and his arm and his ability, I think that’s what kind of a player he could be. He could be special.”
Lungwitz (6-foot-4, 196 pounds) threw for 1,953 yards last year, his first as a starter, as the Eagles went 5-4 and barely missed the Class 6A playoffs. Guzman was hired as Maize’s coach in May 2011, before Lungwitz’s freshman season. Lungwitz’s father, Craig, is a physical education teacher at Maize, like Guzman, and brought Connor up to meet his new coach around the same time.
The relationship has only blossomed from there.
“We met, and (Guzman) has really taken me under his wing since then,” Connor said. “And with my dad being a weightlifting coach at school, I’m really getting the best of both worlds right now.”
Part of running the spread offense means putting a lot of decisions for the team in Connor’s hands — and as a sophomore, he surprised even Guzman with his ability to make pre-snap reads and view the progressions of the defense.
“What that means is I don’t always know where he’s going to go with (the ball),” Guzman said. “The defense dictates where that’s going to be ... and the ball could end up five yards down the field, or 40 to 50 yards down the field. And his teammates really enjoy playing with him. He’s earned their respect.”
What Lungwitz and his teammates want now is to earn the respect of their community and their fans. Last year was the first winning season for the Eagles since 2006, also the last time the team was in the playoffs.
“It’d mean a lot to everybody if we could be the ones who turn things around,” said Lungwitz, who also plays basketball and baseball. “You hear Maize and you think baseball because of the great players we’ve had come through here. We’ve got a lot of former players that are coaches and guys around our program who have been around for a long time that have never seen the program rise to a really high level. We want it for us, we want it for them.”