Another week of quality football and even better storylines from the Arizona high school scene. Here are some things which caught my eye that you may have seen and maybe a few you didn’t…
Bucking the Trend…Since I love a good success story let’s start with throwing a little love to first-year head coach Cody Collett out at Poston Butte. The Broncos are 2-0 and have outscored their first two opponents (Goldwater, Independence) 85-12. Crazy to think this is essentially the same team which went 0-10 under Paul Moro before he bolted for Marcos de Niza. What’s even more impressive is two former Broncos, Josh Alexander and Shavez Hawkins are now at Williams Field.
West vs. East…Speaking of the Williams Field expect a fun Friday night in the east Valley when the Black Hawks (3-0) host Verrado (3-0). I love how well-respected head coach Derek Wahstrom has built from the ground up out in Buckeye. After going 4-6 in 2013 the Vipers are a combined 19-4 the last two seasons in an area mostly football-dominated by Desert Edge. Stud Xavier James is now at Eastern Washington but do-everything junior back Ja’tai Jenkins has picked up the slack and is pacing for a big season. Wahstrom’s team coasted to easy wins over Paradise Valley and Arcadia, then suffocated west Valley neighbor Millennium through three quarters and coasting to an easy 41-20 victory.
Fishing for Success…When featuring high school players I love asking them what they like to do when they’re not on the field or at school. Some hobbies will catch you off guard like Creston Cooledge at Valley Vista. Not sure I’ve seen any high school student-athlete speak as passionately about what he likes away from football more than Saguaro’s Stone Matthews.
I asked the fearless five-foot-nine, 190-pounder if he’d ever go out noodling if it were legal here in Arizona.
“Yes, I would…I’d love to do it,” he said. “Why not? It seems fun.”
Head Coach Jason Mohns joked he never gets invited on these fishing excursions…
…does this look fun to you?
Pima Power…Less than 2,500 residents populate tiny Pima which may not be three square miles but the tiny southern Arizona town knows how to do one thing quite well: win football games. The 2A East Division Roughriders are 3-0 this season which shouldn’t come as any surprise under head coach Jace Hancock. Since 2011 Pima has won 51 of 57 games.
Jackrabbit Trail…Some of the buzz you heard from a crazy holiday weekend of college football came from Fort Worth, Texas where South Dakota State gave the 13th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs (my alma mater) all they could handle. The Jackrabbits feature a handful of Arizona high school products who played well on the big stage. Jordan Brown (Paradise Valley HS) had an interception.
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) September 5, 2016
Desert Vista‘s Nick Farina recorded eight tackles and Prescott’s Brady Mengarelli had 47 rushing yards on 10 carries. SDSU linebackers coach Jimmy Rogers was a standout at Hamilton.
Scout Team Stud…Former Desert Mountain High star, now University of Houston quarterback Kyle Allen didn’t play one snap in the Cougars’ big win over Oklahoma Saturday but Allen, who is redshirting after transferring from Texas A&M, can take some credit for the win after spending the past couple weeks donning a #6 practice jersey and mimicking OU’s Baker Mayfield’s moves and tendencies on scout team. Fast-rising head coach Tom Herman’s approachable, upfront nature makes it easy to see why Allen picked UH.
Lastly, appreciate you reading this every week and if you have a catchier name than the not-so-neat one at the top please tweet me @EricSports360AZ.
Have a good week and remember to use #FridayNight360AZ when you’re out at games Friday.