We are just one week away from the high school football playoffs kicking off here in Arizona. Each week, our Sports360AZ team has been on sidelines all across the Valley reporting and sharing what we see. Here are a few nuggets I’ve held on to the past few weeks, and as a true millennial, they are in gif-form.
I watched Mountain Pointe grind out a 24-12 win over Marcos de Niza in Week 0, where I was first introduced to the running style of Macarius Blount. I will keep it simple: Blount likes to run over, around and through would-be tacklers. Often times the first or second guy isn’t going to bring down the senior. “Meko” as his teammates affectionately call him has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in every game but one, and has notched 16 rushing touchdowns on the year, and is quite the tandem in the backfield with quarterback Jack Smith. Last year, the Pride had three running backs move on to the next level, and Blount seems to be the next in line. He is a big reason why Mountain Pointe is undefeated in 2015.
Going really, really fast is in Liberty ATH Deyton Jackson’s blood. His father, Chris, played for Rose Bowl-bound Washington State in the late 90s and later played in the Arena Football League. Chris is now the receivers coach for Liberty, where his son is thriving. After a growth spurt where he gained size but didn’t sacrifice speed, the senior has ten total touchdowns on the year and has been a reliable receiving option as well as a threat to break one when the ball gets in his hands on a jet sweep. He is also a pretty good on the track, can’t you tell?
Paradise Valley has positioned themselves as one of the top teams in Division III. One of the reasons for the Trojans’ success is Mr. Everything Jordan Delaney. He is a nice option for quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd and complement to wide receiver Jacob Brown. Defensively, he has 61 tackles and three interceptions as a senior. He will be a key contributor as PV tries to navigate through a tough Division III playoff picture.
Speaking of Division III, I came away very impressed with Sunrise Mountain. Junior Chase Cord is at the helm of an offense that is no stranger to putting up 60 points (at least) in a game, they have a kicker that knows what to do with some open space, and a running back that can do a little bit of everything in Garret Veldhuizen. The junior has 24 total touchdowns on the year and has combined for over 1,500 rushing yards with quarterback Chase Cord. Veldhuizen is not the biggest guy at 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, but man can that guy pack a punch. “The Noisy Cricket” (trying that nickname on for size) is not afraid of contact and delivers many more hits than he takes.
Well guys and gals, the fun is about to begin. In about a month’s time, we will have a whole new batch of new state champions and story lines a plenty. As always, check out Sports360AZ for the latest in high school football, and be sure to track updates using #FridayNight360AZ on Twitter.
Here. We. Go.