Week Five High School Notes & Nuggets

Hard to believe the season is half over for some high school teams here in Arizona, isn’t it? As regional play heats up this week, here are some things which caught my eye.

Help Is On The Way…The wait is nearly over for transfer players who were required to sit out five games this fall. 4-1 Phoenix Christian may benefit the most from 5-foot-9, 220-pound Tyller Graham, a two-way senior who came over from Joy Christian. The Cougars are off to a fast start at 4-1.

Williams Field (Of Dreams)…Since we’re on the topic of transfers, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Williams Field running back Josh Alexander who is thriving for the unbeaten Black Hawks in head coach Steve Campbell’s offense. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior running back has 532 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. The most staggering stat for the Poston Butte transfer is his 9.5 yards per carry through the first six games. The Broncos host their old teammate this week.

Reversing The Trend…One of the better stories of the young season is out at Perry High School where Preston Jones’ Pumas are a perfect 6-0 behind junior quarterback Brock Purdy who has thrown for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns in just three games and steady senior middle linebacker Clayton Nocella who leads the team in tackles and sacks.

The road gets much tougher the next three weeks facing Chandler, Brophy and Hamilton before finishing with neighboring Basha. The Pumas lost their last seven games in 2015 after a 4-0 start.

The Need for Sneed …Good to see former Horizon star quarterback Dalton Sneed will be getting the start this weekend for UNLV when the Rebels host Fresno State Saturday night in Las Vegas. The six-foot redshirt freshman quarterback passed for over 7,000 yards and 56 touchdowns his final two seasons for the Huskies.

Speaking of QuarterbacksBrian Lewerke got his first college action last weekend for Michigan State. The Pinnacle Pioneer took over for ineffective senior starter Tyler O’Connor who threw three interceptions in the lopsided loss to Wisconsin.

Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio downplayed any potential quarterback controversy in East Lansing but said Lewerke will “have his opportunities as the season moves forward” according to one local paper.

Getting Defensive …While Randy Ricedorff’s offense gets most of the attention for unbeaten Show Low (5-0), the Cougars defense is more than holding their own through the first month of the season. The unit is holding opponents to just 10 points per game and narrowly missed a shutout last week against South Mountain. They’ve also been opportunistic forcing 10 turnovers in five games. Expect more dominance the next few weeks before season-ending showdowns against Snowflake and Winslow.

(Verde) Valley Fever…Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock are a combined 0-8. The two teams have been outscored by a combined 306-71. Red Rock finished 7-3 last year, Camp Verde 4-6. Mingus is the only team in the area with a winning record at 3-2, despite starting the season 0-2.