Is it possible that Higley quarterback Mason Crossland could put up even bigger numbers than he did a year ago, which included throwing for 641 yards and nine touchdowns in one game?
In a word, yes.
Crossland, then a sophomore, threw for 2,928 yards and 34 touchdowns with only six interceptions in 2014. His quarterback rating was 133.3.
Entering Friday’s Division II first-round playoff game – a rematch versus Williams Field – the junior gunslinger has thrown for 2,804 yards, 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a quarterback rating of 116.7.
Among some of his better performances this season, Crossland threw for six touchdowns in the Knight’s regular season finale against Dobson, a 60 – 21 victory. Against rival Williams Field on Oct. 2 – arguably one of this season’s most exciting games – he threw for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a 31 – 27 defeat that was decided on the last play of the game.
“We have a great receiving corps,” Crossland answered when asked how he’s been able to be so prolific again this season. “I’ve played with those guys since I was little.”
“We picked up right where we left off,” he continued. “We go hard every day in practice, we run routes, keep our timing down; just pretty basic for us.”
If Crossland, who averages 280 yards passing per game, throws for half his average yards and one touchdown (he averages more than three per game), he’ll surpass last season’s totals.
There’s not a more sure bet since American Pharoah in last week’s Breeder’s Cup.
Junior receiver Bryce Gilbert, who has 917 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season, is one of three Knights’ receivers with more than 700 yards. He attributes the success between him and Crossland to their friendship off the field.
“I think it starts with our friendship,” Gilbert recently told Sports360AZ.com. “Since we’re so close off the field it helps us on the field (and) with practice. We run our routes and we have fun with it. We do it good, we do it well, but we still have fun with it and we’re still best friends on and off the field.”
The Knights are hoping to have some fun Friday night against their arch rival.