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 Seven.
Boulder Creek: The Jaguars players and coaches have been running with the hashtag #KeepThe0 for weeks now and they continue to live up to it. They are a team that can beat you in all three phases of the game but what they are doing defensively has been nothing short of spectacular. In their win Friday night against Mountain Ridge, they forced five turnovers, four of which were interceptions. Two of those interceptions came from senior safety Ryan Parentau. I feel like I am becoming a broken record with this kid but he is having a player of the year type season. After week 7, he has six interceptions, three of which have been returned for a score not to mention a high number of forced fumbles and bone crushing hits. He is having one of the best, if not the best seasons from a defensive player that I have heard of this season and continues to one up himself. Boulder Creek’s #KeepThe0 will really be put to test the next two weeks as they face Horizon and Pinnacle but as long as the defense keeps playing like this, they will be a very tough out.
Gilbert: I love hearing stories about players who come out of no where. There might not be a more out of no where story than the one of Gilbert defensive end Stephen Lauder. Lauder stands about 6-3 and 245 pounds. When he was a sophomore, Coach Rutt found him walking around the halls at Gilbert and wondered why a kid that big was not on his football field. Lauder had not played football before and didn’t play any other sports on campus. Rutt was able to talk to him about coming out for the team and as a junior last season, they played him on JV to get his first football under his belt and learn the game. Now this season as a senior, he is their starting defensive end and one of the top players on the Tigers defense. Rutt told me that he wishes he had one more year with Lauder because he believes he has the ability to be a next level player. Lauder is also a 4.0 student.
Brophy: We have seen this story before. It was not long ago when a crew of underclassman at Brophy named Tyler Bruggman, Devon Allen, Robert Relf and Andrew Curtis were all starting at the varsity level and look their licks as sophomores. About halfway through their junior season something clicked, they finished strong and then as seniors, they were one of the top teams in AZ making it to the state semi’s. That core of the team went off the college and the Broncos have another crew of underclassman coming up the ranks that are on a similar path. Junior QB Cade Knox, junior RB Ryan Valez and junior DE Connor Murphy are some of the main pieces of this Bronco team that is really starting to click halfway through their junior year. It hasn’t been more evident than it was friday night in the Broncos 31-28 win over Mountain Pointe. This team has a little more senior leadership this season than what Bruggman, Allen and company had when they were juniors, but this group is looking to be very dangerous the rest of this season and very much so next year when this crew leads the way as seniors.
North Canyon: It has been a tough few years on the football field for North Canyon and that remains the case this season. I said for two years that 2014 prospect Bryant O’Georgia was THE most under recruited player in the state from that great class. He did everything for the Rattlers in all three phases of the game. Northern Arizona landed him and now he is playing as true freshman for the Lumberjacks. North Canyon has another young man that needs to be on more people’s radar like O’Georgia needed to be and that is junior wide receiver John Okwoli. John has had two older brothers play with the Rattlers over the last couple of years but John might be the best. Going into week 7, he had over 1,000 total yards if you combine his receiving and kick return yardage. Not to mention eight touchdowns in seven games. I had one coach for a valley team not on the North Canyon staff tell me that many coaches who have played North Canyon leave blown away with his athleticism. He has been playing varsity ball since he was a freshman and as I said, needs to be on more people’s radars.
Westwood: I just want to give a special shout-out to the Warriors who remain undefeated with their win over Campo Verde on Friday night. Westwood was one of many surprising teams that were still undefeated going into this week and they really proved something to the rest of the state with their win over Campo. Head Coach Spencer Stowers has done an absolutely incredible job with this program.