Quarterback battles take place in football every summer, often without a unanimous winner going into fall camp.
Going into spring camp, Perry High’s competition was no different as Chubba Purdy and D’Shayne James competed. Chubba, a junior, is the younger brother of 2017 starting quarterback, Brock Purdy. James, a senior, was among Brock’s favorite targets, and a good friend of both Purdys.
“Me and D’Shayne, every day at practice, we would help each other out and ask each other questions,” Chubba said. “We were really close in just fighting for that job.”
Perry coach Preston Jones said that James “was lights out all spring, all summer and fall camp.”
“I don’t know if he made a bad read in all of our practices,” Jones said.
Then James suffered a knee injury that likely will wipe out his season, and Chubba became the default starter on a top-five team.
This wasn’t the first time that James went head-to-head against a Purdy brother. The last two summers, James was in heated competitions with Brock for the starting quarterback job before switching positions and becoming the Pumas’ leader in touchdown receptions. He has 103 catches for 1,909 yards in his career.
“I was doing it with his older brother last year and now I have the little brother with me,” James said. “I saw Chubba more kind of like me in a way. He’s got a super strong arm. Super athletic. They’re both just crazy fanatics at football. Brock was phenomenally smart. I can’t even express how smart that kid was. Chubba excels more as an athlete. He’s got that power in his arm and all that other stuff.”
Jones also sees a difference.
“(Chubba) smiles a lot more often,” Jones said.
“That’s true,” Chubba said. “I feel like I’m a happy kid and I see the fun in everything I do.
“No one wants to see a down person. I just love to smile.”
James said Chubba just needs to keep the team together.
“Brock, last year, was really good at that,” James said. “In dire situations or facing adversity, Brock would be calm and smooth with it, so I think Chubba will take those aspects that Brock had and put it into his own game.”
The comparisons to Brock, who now plays at Iowa State after winning Gatorade Player of the Year while leading the Pumas to the 6A title game, have begun.
“I think (Chubba) is turning into his own guy. He has his own personality,” Jones said. “He’s so much different than his brother personality-wise, therefore he doesn’t live in that shadow. I think people outside of our football family may put a shadow on him.”
Chubba felt a learning curve, yet the Pumas opened 2-1, falling only to No. 1 Pinnacle, as Chubba completed 41 of 73 passes for 493 yards and six touchdowns.
Although Chubba is a junior on a team with seniors, they listen to him.
“You’ve got to be vocal but at the same time you also have to be calm,” Chubba said. “Make sure that your guys know you are going to lead them. Every drive you just have to take it play by play and make sure everyone is relaxed and going with you and going with the flow.”