Ascher looks Sharpe at corner

With the help of secondary coach Ricky Sharpe, a former college and NFL cornerback, Ascher has developed into a strong corner for Sage Hill.

September 30, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

Conner Ascher first wanted to play quarterback at Sage Hill School when he made the jump to varsity last season. In the way, three hurdles.

The first issue was Ascher's size. At 5-foot-8, 120 pounds back then, one hit and he can seriously get hurt in the pocket. He also stood third on the depth chart at quarterback.

The starting quarterback gave Ascher great advice.

"Randall [Mycorn] said I should think about it, just being the backup," said Ascher, who began wondering where he belonged on the football field.

He saw himself more likely on the offensive side.

Ricky Sharpe, the secondary coach, believed otherwise. He told Coach J.R. Tolver why.

"Man, he has to play DB," Sharpe remembers telling Tolver before Ascher's sophomore season. "If he's not starting at quarterback, then I'm going to take him."

Sharpe has taken Ascher under his wing ever since. The two are similar, reserved and quiet.


Sharpe, a former cornerback at San Diego State with a couple of stints on NFL practice squads, talks a little more now because he is a coach. Whatever he says, Ascher listens.

Sharpe has turned an undersized Ascher into a shutdown corner. Ascher has grown an inch and put on 20 pounds. He even has his own real estate on the field.

Sharpe calls it "Ascher Island," like the nickname for the area New York Jets' cornerback Darrelle Revis commands.

Ascher laughs and repeats what Sharpe says. The confidence is there for Ascher in his junior year at Sage Hill, ranked sixth in the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division poll. He and the Lightning (4-0) are off to great starts.

Sharpe said confidence is what a cornerback needs in order to be successful. Having athleticism and quick instincts like those of Ascher helps.

Instead of throwing the ball as a quarterback, Ascher feels at home trying to knock down passes or intercept them. In four games, he has three interceptions, two going for touchdowns.

Ascher has a pick-six in each of Sage Hill's past two games. In last week's 48-8 road victory against Sherman Indian of Riverside, he returned an interception 65 yards for a score. Sharpe said Ascher read the play, jumping the slant before racing to the end zone.

The touchdown celebration might need some work.

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