Senior Signing Spotlight: Haudarie Andrews
Valley Vista CB staying close to home with Ottawa
This is the first in a series of profiles of Arizona high school seniors that signed with four-year colleges. Here's the full list (currently totaling 270) of players from within the state moving on to the next level.
With the creation of a football program at Ottawa University, which debuted last year, it gives players from around the Valley another option at getting an education and continuing to play football without leaving Arizona.
For Haudarie Andrews, it was already his hometown team. The 5-9, 160-pound cornerback starred on Friday nights at Valley Vista in Surprise, which is located about a mile and a half west of Spirit Field on the Ottawa campus.
Andrews had college offers from Brevard (N. Car.) and Arizona Christian, plus a walk-on opportunity at New Mexico Highlands, but decided that Ottawa fit him best.
"I'm in love with the program and the community itself," Andrews said in an e-mail interview. "It feels at home while I am at home! The facilities are great and I've come to have a great connection with the coaches."
While the college experience can be a complete uprooting for many, Andrews will enjoy some of the same perks he has been accustomed to throughout his teenage years.
"Its honestly a blessing to have the opportunity to be able to literally stay in my own house, go to school, and play football at the #1 school I want to go to," Andrews said. "It's the best feeling ever."
The feeling from the Ottawa coaches has been mutual as shown in the tweet from the Spirit that announced Andrews' signing. The quote is from defensive backs coach Brandon Payne.
“Awesome local player from right down the street. Has an incredible knack for tracking and taking away the football. One of the state of Arizona’s leaders in interceptions.” -Coach Payne, Corners Coach #WeAreOUAZ #FangsOut19 #WelcomeHome #FootballFamily @haudarieandrews pic.twitter.com/sjpO45Ld6B— OUAZ Football (@OUAZFootball) February 6, 2019
Intercepting passes is what Andrews excelled at in his senior year. After playing in just one game as a junior, Andrews picked off six passes in nine games last year. That total ranked fourth in all of 6A. Last month, he was named to the 6A All-Arizona Varsity Second Team at cornerback.
Two of the interceptions came in the rivalry game against Willow Canyon (a 42-0 win). That marked the eighth consecutive time the Monsoon took home the Battle for Surprise Trophy. It also earned Andrews Player of the Week honors from West Valley Preps.
The very next week, Andrews repeated the feat with two interceptions (against two different Division I quarterbacks) against Pinnacle. The Monsoon led 19-14 at the half and battled the Pioneers tough in a 41-25 defeat.
In its inaugural season, Ottawa went 7-4, finished in third place in the Sooner Athletic Conference (NAIA), and hosted the Victory Bowl. Perhaps the biggest note of the Spirit's arrival came on Oct. 6 when they crushed Arizona Christian (who was ranked No. 19), 73-28. OUAZ totaled 638 yards of offense and also scored touchdowns on defense (fumble return) and special teams (punt return).
Andrews followed the team in their home games and also caught some streams for the road ones.
"The culture and the pride the team carries itself with is such a great thing to watch," Andrews said.
Andrews was a very underrated player as was his Valley Vista defense. The Monsoon (5-5) allowed more than 21 points just three times last season. In the secondary, VVHS generally ran a Cover 2 or man coverage. As a defensive player, he certainly realizes the importance of that side of the football.
"Defense is the heart and soul of a team regardless of how good your offense is," Andrews said. "Defense wins championships."
In addition to football, Andrews has run on the track team at Valley Vista (100, 200, and 400-meters) and carries a 3.2 GPA.