Ask Cade Bradley to graph a quadratic function and it's as good as done.
Tell him to drop a hard-chargin' 200-plus-pound running back in his tracks and he'll accomplish that just as easily.
The talented Payson High School senior's affinity for both the classroom and the gridiron recently propelled him to one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on a prep student-athlete.
The Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame named Bradley one of the state's "Outstanding Prep Scholar-Athletes" at its annual banquet ceremonies held Friday at the Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort in Phoenix.
Bradley said it was an honor he never expected.
"It caught me by surprise," he said. "I knew I had been nominated, but didn't think I'd have a chance for it."
Only 13 high school students in Arizona were chosen for the awards from among 63 nominees sent in by high school coaches and athletic directors. Bradley is the first Payson High School student to receive the scholar-athlete award that has been given annually since 1971.
At the banquet, Valley of the Sun Chapter President Bill Riddle characterized the honorees as youngsters who "best exemplified outstanding academic application and performance, superior football accomplishment and school and community leadership and citizenship."
Bradley said one of the real thrills of the ceremony was the privilege of being seated at the head table with the other honorees, his parents, Dave and Della, and Arizona No. 1 Athlete of the Century Danny White. The former Arizona State and Dallas Cowboys quarterback was serving as Master of Ceremonies.
Bradley was also accompanied to the banquet by his grandparents and Payson High School football defensive coordinator Mike Wheelis.
During the festivities, a football highlight film of Bradley -- and the other honorees -- was shown to the audience.
"The whole evening was very impressive. I just shook my head," Dave Bradley said.
Wheelis agreed. "It was a very special evening."
With the scholar athlete award goes a $1,500 scholarship to the college of Bradley's choice. The teenager said he's unsure of where he will enroll after graduation this spring but is leaning toward either the University of Arizona or Northern Arizona University.
His favorite subject is math, he said, so he hopes to major in engineering.
Topnotch student and player
With a 4.15 grade-point average in advanced placement college prep studies, Bradley ranks third in a class of 199 students.
In football, his love for the game was first nurtured when he turned out for the Rim Country Middle School 7th grade team. Showing a natural ability, he starred throughout his gridiron career at both RCMS and PHS, usually as a defensive stalwart.
At the conclusion of the 1999 season, his list of honors included being named to the all-region first team and to the all-state honorable mention squad.
In a voting of Arizona Coaches Association members, he was chosen to participate in this summer's North vs. South All-Star game.
As a junior, he was a starting defensive end on the Longhorns undefeated state championship team.
If Bradley opts for Northern Arizona University next fall, he is considering trying out for the Lumberjack team as a walk-on.
In addition to football, Bradley excels in baseball, playing infield for the defending state champion Longhorns. He currently, however, is sidelined with a broken ankle suffered in a pick-up basketball game.
Other athletes honored at the Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet included Derek Joyce (Paradise Valley), Andy Gray (Deer Valley), Andy Hann (Glendale Cactus), Sam Jacobs (Washington), Doug Jarcyzk (Glendale Ironwood), Stuart Kimball (Horizon), Jeremiah Miller (Flagstaff Sinagua), John Rattay (Desert Vista), Mark Tefteller (Phoenix Christian), Todd Voll (Paradise Valley) and Lee Wheeler (Coolidge).