CDO's Elijah Carey

Elijah Carey has made a strong impression within the Canyon del Oro community, both on and off of the football field.

Photos by Christopher Boan

Carey hitting his stride for Dorados 

Eijah Carey is fast becoming a headache for opposing football coaches across the Grand Canyon State. 

The 17-year-old senior running back from Canyon del Oro has matured into a tour de force with the ball in his hands, rushing for more than 1,600 yards since joining the school’s varsity team as a sophomore. 

Carey, the younger brother of former University of Arizona and current Chicago Bears back Ka’Deem, said playing under the lights at CDO is a dream come true. 

The bruising back doesn’t feel added pressure to live up to the standard set by Ka’Deem, he’s happy blazing his own trail for the Dorados. 

“I’m very grateful for it, [Ka’Deem] opened a lot of doors for me as a football player and I embrace it,” Carey said. “At home, we’re normal brothers. We don’t usually talk about football. We’re either out playing basketball or Xbox, but I’m grateful for it.” 

After galloping for 265 yards and two scores in the Dorados opening game against Phoenix-based Shadow Mountain, Carey’s stature in the shadows of the Catalina Mountains has grown considerably as of late.

 

It runs in the family

When asked what clicked for him under the white glow of halogen lights and overgrown grass at Vern Fredli Field at Amphi High School two weeks ago, Carey expressed the textbook 

humility that’s endeared him to coaches, fans and friends alike. 

“The line really opened up holes for me, and then (Dorado quarterback) Zack (Eidenschink) throwing the ball well from the start opened up holes as well.” 

It’s that humility, the direct result of the blue-collar work ethic taught by parents Jack and Tisha, which stand out to veteran CDO football coach Dustin Peace. 

Peace, who coached both of Carey’s siblings, believes the junior member of the household holds his own in terms of athleticism and talent.

“What’s kind of interesting is that I’ve kind of gotten to work closely with all three family members of the Carey household,” Peace said. “And I will say this, they’re the most energetic, caring people. So that’s the thing that I think people don’t really know about Eli, is how nice of a guy he is and how well-liked he is by his teachers and his coaches.”

When asked what people should know about him, Carey cracked his trademark ear-to–ear smile. 

“I’m a funny guy,” he said. “I love to make people happy, and just want to work hard and do my job and get things done.” 

 

Doing it the right way

Carey is not satisfied with the team’s 42-34 win over Shadow Mountain, and said he came back to practice ready to push himself and his teammates harder. 

But for now, the senior is soaking up every moment on the gridiron during his final high school season. 

“This is a really close bonded team,” Carey said. “We’re like actual brothers. We pick at each other like actual brothers, we fight like actual brothers. But we all have each others’ backs by the end of the day.” 

Carey’s unsure of his future as a football player, but Peace believes he’ll thrive wherever he lands. 

“I think it’s setting a tone for who we can be, and who Eli can be as well,” Peace says. “He’s finally developed the speed and the strength that he needs to compete. And it’s been a long time coming. And he’s been under the radar, and the cat’s a little bit out of the bag now.” 

The senior with deftly juke moves and the speed of a gazelle has a simple philosophy for his final campaign: just keep running. 

He’s ready to do just that. 

“I just want to perform for my team and do whatever it takes to get them the win,” Carey said.

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