Outside of the Desert Edge-Cactus showdown Saturday in the west Valley, it’s time to put a bow on Week 3 of the Arizona high school football season.
Friday night I saw one of the more impressive quarterback performances in quite some time so let’s start there.
Bigger, Faster, Stronger
Now I know what all the fuss is about.
In a state dominated by elite level prep quarterbacks, it’s time to show some love to Higley senior Kai Millner.
The 6-foot-2, now close to 195-pounder, made it rain in Gilbert completing 27-37 for 471 yards and five touchdowns in the Knights 42-21 blowout win over Desert Ridge (1-2). The Cal commit also ran for 29 yards and caught a first half touchdown pass on a “Philly Special” sort-of play from wide receiver Truitt Robinson.
Got all that?
The biggest aspect of Millner’s game which stood out to me was his dynamic arm strength and ability to make throws from odd angles or when the pocket was breaking down.
“We had a long off-season so I was able train a lot,” he said after the win which improved Higley to 2-1. “I definitely wanted to put on some weight and I was able to. I also wanted to get my speed up. I want to continue to progress and get better and better.”
His head coach believes his best football is still ahead of him.
“Bill Musgrave’s there (at Cal), he’s the new offensive coordinator,” Eddy Zubey said. “He’s been in the NFL for over 15 years. [Kai’s] goal is to play on Sundays…definitely the sky is the limit for him.”
Busted coverage in the D. Ridge secondary and @kmillner5 makes them pay. Millner hits a wide open @BransonHeywood up the left sideline for another TD pass. Millner loading up the stat sheet with 5 total TDs. @HIGLEYFOOTBALL leads 35-14 @CalRivals @AZHSFB @RagleCharlie pic.twitter.com/rk1KgChk5k
— Cody Cameron (@CodyTCameron) October 17, 2020
Millner said he attributes plenty of time in the gym and eating the right foods for his bigger, stronger physical appearance this fall.
Friday night he spread the wealth between his trio of skilled receivers in Truitt Robinson (nine receptions for 119, two touchdowns, touchdown pass), sophomore Branson Heywood (11 catches for 195 yards, touchdown) and sophomore Carter Hancock (three catches, 114 yards, two touchdowns).
A Team To Watch
This summer I hinted Boulder Creek has the offensive pieces, as well as the experience, to make a nice little run in 2020.
Friday some of that experience paid off in the Jaguars’ 28-27 nail biter over a game but depleted Brophy squad who was using a converted wide receiver at quarterback by the time it was all said and done in central Phoenix.
WHAT AN ENDING! Down 28-21, Brophy has a hail mary TD, then elects to go for two, but @dominicwright22 comes up with the game-winning tackle to seal the victory!
FINAL: @BCJagsFootball 28, Brophy 27 pic.twitter.com/hnQy35vxxP
— Sports360AZ (@Sports360AZ) October 17, 2020
Not only did BC keep BCP out of the end zone on a two-point conversion on the game’s final play to preserve the win, the offense took control late in the fourth quarter after their defense forced a turnover on downs on a failed Brophy run play on fourth-and-one from the Boulder Creek 40 yard-line.
“We have new great senior leaders leading this team and underclassmen following with confidence and completive edge,” star senior running back Jacob Cisneros said late Friday night. “This is the year to take advantage of the players we have and the coaches we are blessed with. We play for our school, our community and our teammates and coaches.”
If it weren’t for a squandered late lead at Casteel, Boulder Creek would be 3-0.
Three and Out
Three scores which caught my attention from Week Three.
1. Sunrise Mountain upsets Liberty 37-33.
Mustangs defeat Liberty 37-33! #smhsfootball pic.twitter.com/wdewnzyVJH
— Sunrise Mountain (@SunriseMustangs) October 17, 2020
Well, look at here – Steve Decker’s Mustangs are 3-0 with a season-opening blowout win over Cactus, followed by consecutive victories over 2019 State Champions Mesquite (4A) and the Lions (6A).
2. Casteel edges Queen Creek 12-7 to improve to 3-0.
The Newcombe brothers had themselves a game @CasteelAthletic @casteeltdclub @CasteelFootball @CUSDAthletics 4 and 0!! pic.twitter.com/jTGxpjS85y
— Arianna Grainey (@AriannaGrainey) October 17, 2020
Good teams win close games and it’s time to give head coach Bobby Newcombe, his staff and their team their due. The Colts three victories have come against Boulder Creek (36-35), the before-mentioned Higley Knights (25-24) and now a Bulldogs’ team loaded with Division I talent.
There’s some leniency in the schedule ahead and Dane Christensen is the best quarterback nobody really talks about.
3. Speaking of 3-0, how about Mesa Mountain – who took down not-so-friendly Brown Road neighbor Red Mountain 16-13 to stay perfect.
95 yard drive complete
13-0 8:54 2q @RedMtnFootball at @MVToro_Football for @AZHSFB #azhsfb @AZPreps365 #TeamAZV @RMAthletics @MtnViewToros pic.twitter.com/0sa91MrIoT
— Jason P. Skoda (@JasonPSkoda) October 17, 2020
It marked the first win over Red Mountain since 2016 and puts Micah Fell’s team in the driver’s seat in a winnable 6A Central Region.