My Extra Points are various notes on players, angles and or story lines I find interesting from the week pertaining to high school football in Arizona. Here is what stood out to me from Week Three.
Hamilton: Hamilton did a great job collecting themselves for a hard fought win over Pinnacle. There are so many things about this group of Huskies that stand out but one player that was all over the field on defense and had so many tackles that I lost count, was middle line backer David DeSilva. He takes over for a Hamilton great in Santana Sterling and had big shoes to fill, but DeSilva is stepping in and the Hamilton defense is not missing a beat.
Learning about DeSilva made me better understand what makes him the player he is. He moved to Arizona from a small town in Northern California just before the start of high school. He comes from a family of fisherman and lumberjacks which could easily point toward his toughness. Both his dad and grandpa also had small stints in the NFL which could easily point toward his skill and ability on the field. He is also a standout wrestler in this state. He was a state freshman champion, a state qualifier as a sophomore and went to state again as a junior last season in the 220 pound division. He is expected to be one of the top contenders for that weight class this season. Once college coaches get a look at his film and eventually see him in person, I would not be shocked to see a lot of offers roll in for him before all is said and done this season.
Pinnacle: Pinnacle was two points away from the biggest win in their program’s history. The came all the way back to take the lead with 28 unanswered points but a late Hamilton Field Goal put them up late. The Pioneers as a team really stepped up and played a great game. Cules Rose made plays like he always does against the Huskies and Brian Lewerke was his usual Spartan-self. But the player that blew me away on friday night was junior Justin Mandrola.
Talking the the birthday boy, Coach Dana Zupke after the game, he told me that the only defined role that Mandrola has on the team is he is their starting middle line backer. Just like DeSilva at Hamilton, Mandrola just has a nose for the ball and makes plays all over the field. He leads the Pinnacle defense that forced four consecutive three-and-outs against Hamilton which was huge in their comeback. During that comeback, Mandrola also scored two of the four second half touchdowns. One receiving and one rushing. Zupke mentioned that he is the type of player that just just put him out there and watch him make things happen.
Players that come out of nowhere and step up every night like Mandrola have been what has made Pinnacle the consistent playoff contender that they have become over the last few seasons.
Horizon: It is only fitting that if you talk Pinnacle, you have to talk about Horizon too which has become one of the most heated rivalries in the state. We all have got to know Husky quarterback Dalton Sneed very well after his breakout junior season last year but he could be in the midst of an even better season as a senior which is saying a lot.
There are two wide receivers that Horizon has brought into the fold this season that look like absolute studs and great weapons for Sneed to make a run in division I this season. Carter McCarthy is back for his senior season coming off a junior season where he had 26 catches for 505 yerds and three touchdowns. He is no longer the third or fourth option, he is one of the primary targets and Sneed has all the confidence in the world in him.
On the opposite side of McCarthy is an up and coming young gun in 6-2, 180 pound junior, Julian Carter. He had just two catches playing on varsity as a sophomore and has the makings of being THE hHorizon breakout player this season. Watching him on film, his build and his athleticism stands out. Without a doubt he is someone to watch for in the 2016 class.
I also found it very interesting that according to the story my colleague Jordan Hamm posted this week about Dalton Sneed, that Sneed was involved in the process with the principal and administration in hiring Kris Heavner. You don’t hear about a student involved in the hire of a faculty member very often. Tells you the kind of person UNLV will be getting next season.
Highland: Highland got five touchdowns on friday night from their senior running back Josh Chadwick who I think is one of the more underrated players in the state. I watched him last year against Chandler and was very impressed. Staying on the theme of breakout players for this edition of the Extra Points column, Highland has a sophomore defensive end/wide receiver that is jumping off the page named Tyler Johnson. He has dealt with injuries but had a big game friday against Mesa Mountain View including a receiving TD. Remember the name, Tyler Johnson over at Highland.