The Game is Not Too Big for Higley Quarterback

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a Higley quarterback is among the state’s statistical leaders in most passing categories. After all, the Knights run one of the more prolific offenses, led by a great quarterback and some dynamic receivers.

What is a surprise, and a pleasant one, is the development and performance of sophomore Mason Crossland, who took over the Knights offense when highly touted junior QB Tyler Bloom suffered a season-ending knee injury in week one.

Crossland, a 5’7” 140 pound sophomore, has shown he is big enough to fill the void left by the 6’5” Bloom.

In six games so far this season, Crossland ranks in the state’s top 10, regardless of division, in passing yards and touchdowns. His 1595 total yards ranks eleventh. He’s averaging 270 passing yards per game and has thrown 17 touchdown passes. 

In his first game as a starter versus Desert View he threw for 352 yards. Two games later, he threw for 445 yards against Cactus Shadows.

“We always stay after practice, throw with our receivers, and get our timing down,” answered Crossland when asked what attributes for his success. “We really came together and faced our adversity. We’ve stayed poised.”

“We’ve done everything together as a team and the team has really given me a lot of confidence,” he added.

In addition to his obvious passing skills, Crossland has proven to be elusive in the pocket, extending plays to give his receivers a chance to get open. He showed that ability in a recent game versus a Queen Creek defense that has 26 sacks so far this season.

“We always do footwork drills where I get out of the pocket and dodge bags,” he explained.

The Knights suffered their first loss of the season two weeks ago against Queen Creek but bounced back Friday night, defeating South Mountain, 63 – 0. 

Crossland was 12-for-15, throwing for 259 yards and three touchdowns against the Jaguars. He finished with a 160.4 QBR.

After the loss two weeks ago, Crossland spoke about the Knights’ outlook for the rest of the season and meeting the team’s preseason goals.

“It’s not that we don’t have the talent or we don’t have the size,” he said ironically about the team. “We just have to finish.”