The Huddle: Learning to be a leader

Connor Brewer, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has been leading the way since his freshman year. Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Quarterback Connor Brewer of Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) holds a 4.1 GPA and plans to go to law school. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has committed to Texas and plans to graduate high school this upcoming December.

Football players are tested each time they put on their uniforms, but as the starting quarterback for his junior varsity team three years ago, Brewer guided the Firebirds through an unbeaten season. He was rarely sacked or hindered from doing his job.

"As a freshman, I was kind of more a kid who led by example. With a loss, the team morale would have probably been down," Brewer told ESPNHS. "I wasn't the loudest guy, didn't get in people's faces, wasn't the outspoken guy, and wasn't necessarily the team leader who would kind of talk to you and tell you that it's okay."

Two games into Brewer's senior season that changed. His Firebirds have split games -- including a season-opening loss to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.).

"That was a good game to start out with and to learn from. It will keep us humble, so it's great to get that out of the way," Brewer said. "Once you get to the varsity level, you have to step up your leadership qualities. When your team is down, you've got to rally the troops. You've got to tell them, 'The offense is going to go out and score if the defense stops them right here,'" said Brewer.

Brewer said he has learned in defeat and has become more "proactive, accountable and vocal" toward encouraging teammates to do the same -- this, despite already having been "sacked a couple of times."

"You're a leader on and off the field, so when you get sacked, that's the time when you're talking to your linemen. You've got to ask what happened and ask what they're going to do to change it. You've got to take more of an approach where you're trying to make things better," said Brewer.

"You have to take the positives from a loss by learning and assessing what you did wrong and what you did well and you try to build on those things. Definitely being a leader has evolved throughout the years. Going from freshman to senior is like night and day. But with the hard work we've done as a team, I'm just happy to be a role model for my team that others can follow."

ROLE MODELS: Robert and Deborah Brewer, parents.

"They pushed me to the level that I've gotten to. They helped me training-wise, taken me places, given me the chance to be successful, provided me with the opportunities to play the sport that I love. Just my family being so supportive and helping me to become the person that I am today. Helping me with the college decisions."