Thought Compilation From Week 2 Friday Night Lights

The sunsets are getting sweeter and so is the aura of the high school football season in Arizona.

New rivalries are forming in front of our eyes. Old ones are turning tides. Fans are having a blast. Bands are jamming.

Most importantly, these games feel normal again. The world may not be normal just yet, but under the scope of Friday night lights, things are back on track.

Here’s some observations from this week’s slate of games.

Youthful Basha: The Real Deal

There’s a ton of buzz around this team across the high school media community. The buzz is rightfully earned. Coach Chris McDonald has his guys playing hard and well above their youthful experience.

Sophomore quarterback Demond Williams Jr. is a play maker by all definitions of the phrase. He’s also sneaky strong, as seen in this trucking highlight against Perry tonight.

Miles Lockhart and Bryson Dedmond are two more sophomores who live up the hype. Cole Martin, who transferred from Hamilton is a seamless fit on offense and defense. De’shaun Buchanan is a talented player, who showed patience during his transfer investigation. The former Higley student-athlete sat out week one but cheered on his Basha teammates to the best of his ability.

A player to watch out for that falls under the radar on this squad is junior athlete Jeremiah Vessel. He’s all over the field and plays a large role in the continuity of the Bears’ secondary and receiving core.

Regardless of where this team is come November/December, 2022 and 2023 look like bright years.

Casteel Is Building The Right Way

The rise to 6A has been almost seamless for this program. Head coach Bobby Newcombe embraces the increased level of competition that accompanies that rise.

Despite losing to Hamilton 23-13, Newcombe is adamant that his players hold their heads high. They hung with the No. 3 ranked team in the state. The game was chippy from start to finish, this is a blossoming rivalry down the road.

Landon Jury, who you can learn more about here, showcased grit all night long. He was getting smoked by the Hamilton defense but he hung in there. The future is bright for him.

Pretty soon, games against Hamilton will become more regular for this program. The outcomes will change because this program is heading in the right direction.

Chandler Can Win With Any QB

Maybe not any quarterback, but with any of the three on the roster. Blaine Hippa won the starting job for Week One. But after he was feeling sick this week, the Wolves turned to senior transfer Ethan Moore. Against Cherry Creek, the top team in Colorado, Moore answered the call. Chandler now has a 38 game win streak. 

Coach Garretson is not one to show his cards. It’ll be fascinating to see if playing time is split the next few weeks. The defense is really the bread and butter of the team, which is normal this time of year.

Also, much has been made of the unfortunate injury to wide receiver Kyion Grayes. However, Iowa State commit Quaron Adams is showing he’s capable of being WR1. His elite speed is too much for most defensive backs to keep up with.

Mountain Pointe Winning Close Games

In back to back weeks, Mountain Pointe is proving they can close games. Coach Eric Lauer seems to have his guys all in on his message. Starting quarterback Chris Arviso II has a short memory on the field. In a good way. Tonight against Brophy, he threw a costly interception with 7 minutes left in the game. He then proceeded to lead his team downfield to score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:02 left in the game. 

Corona Del Sol and Brophy are both solid programs with loads of talent. That isn’t fazing this Pride unit. They are a program to keep an eye on the rest of the way.

I Can’t Pick The Best Student Section

I’ve been to three games so far. Each student section, both home and away, have been juiced up. Maybe thesis because there wasn’t much of this in 2020. Maybe Friday night lights are no longer taken for granted. Whatever the secret sauce is, it’s fun.

Claudia Faust and myself will be discussing these student sections on a weekly basis during our new show “Bleacher Talk.” Be sure to tag us on social media with the hashtag #BleacherTalk so that we acn highlight the best of the best across state 48. 

Jordan Spurgeon is a journalist who is graduating from ASU at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in December 2021. He enjoys covering sports all across the valley and telling feature stories that impact people.