Sande Sez: Spring Ball Tour-Highland

Arizona Sports News online

The spring tour is back in action! I took a few days away from football to cover the 5A and 6A softball and baseball championships, and man, what a ride that was! Thank you to all of the coaches and players that talked with me before the games as I prepped for the broadcast. Congrats to all of the teams who made it to the playoffs. You should all be so proud! Especially after such a tough 2020. 


Now, to football. 

My next stop on the football spring tour was to Highland to check out the Hawks. Thanks to head coach Brock Farrel for having me out. It was fun to get eyes on this 2021 team. 2020 was an exciting time to be a Hawk.

Highland went 7-4 and made it to the 6A State Championship, where they lost to the Chaparral Firebirds. Their fire is still burning hot, and they will be out for vengeance.

The Hawks lost their main workhorse in running back Max Davis and their shut down safety in Ammon Allen. It will be hard to replace Davis, who ran for 1600 yards last season, but there are some young legs that can step up and help the team. Highland is lead by their young gunslinger Gage Daley. Daley, as a junior, threw for 2102 yards with 17 touchdowns. With the right weapons around him, he won’t be stopped. He is just 130 yards shy of the school’s record for passing yards.

Daley will be behind a strong offensive line. Tackle Makua Pule did tear his ACL during last season’s championship game, but when I saw him, he seemed in good spirits. He is still hitting the weight room, where he is bench pressing 370. I asked Pule if he was ready for the season he said he was. The line will need his presence, and coach Farrel is looking forward to having him fully recovered. 

The momentum and pace at Hawks practice was fast and upbeat. The players hustled on and off the field, plus it helped to have the coaches keep them accountable with the hustle. They ran through plays based mainly on formation, so I didn’t get to see Daley throw much, but when I did, he looked good: poised and confident.

Receiver Hunter Stewart looked good and in peak condition already. It is Stewart’s year to shine on the field.  I expect big things out of linebacker Carson Allen and defensive end Fisher Camac.

Highland kicks off the 2021 season with a rematch against Boulder Creek, where the Jags will be hungry to get redemption.