Friday night lights is getting so real that I can almost smell the grass under my feet. We are so close to Arizona high school football games being playing under those big, beautiful, bright Friday night lights. I can not wait. I have been visiting schools around the valley to get eyes on the incredible local competition and coaching. Last week I gave some love to the west schools, so this week will be a little east love.
I had a great visit with the Gilbert Tigers. Head Coach Derek Zellner could not be more upbeat and enthusiastic with his squad. This is a team growing under a great staff. Wherever you turn, great principles, philosophy and technique is being taught. Coach Ben Patrick is very hands-on and doesn’t hesitate to engage his players with a teaching note or an uplifting word. It’s a staff with a high caliber of experience as well with coaches like Brandon Johnson, who worked under Mike Leach at Washington State as a Defensive Graduate Assistant.
The Tiger’s top story will be who comes out on top in this quarterback battle. Sophomore Sean Fogel will look to hold off Senior Gavin Goulette after he returns from the games he has to sit out due to transfer. After what I saw, I think they’ll be in capable hands regardless.
Perry may have lost Chubba Purdy to Florida State, but I think too many people are writing them off. I saw plenty of quality athletes on the field on our visit. Quarterback Dane White will be making Kyler Murray impressions with his mobility in and out of the pocket and giving opposing defensive coordinators fits. WR Cade Berger will be someone Power Five program will take hard looks at. He made some impressive grabs flying past and above defenders the day we stopped by. OT Andrew Mason is not getting enough attention. The moment you walk onto the field, you ask, “Who’s that kid?”. His frame stands out. He’s going to see his recruitment pick up when schools get 2020 tape of him.
You thought Hamilton was talented last year with Nick Arvay under center and Brenden Rice at receiver? Wait until you see them this year! They’re going to make a run at The Open Title- count on it. Junior QB Nicco Marchiol is a national recruit with offers from all the top powerhouse programs… and from the look we got- the shoe fits. Junior OL Grayson Stovall will get to protect Nicco for the next two seasons, and he has the looks of a kid headed to a collegiate power himself. Amidst the other future D1 prospects on the Hamilton roster, I couldn’t stop watching super Sophomore Cole Martin. Cole is dynamic both on and off the field. He’s incredibly quick and athletic. He’ll be a top national recruit at DB. If you like the talent, you’ll love speaking with this young man- a great smile, a fun personality that draws in his teammates. Arizona prep football is lucky to watch him for the next three seasons.