It’s go time. Regional play is heating up and the playoffs are closer than you may realize. Here are a few things which caught my eye around the state this week.
The Lion King…No one can fault Red Mountain’s Lance Lawson for their close loss to Mountain View in the “Battle of Brown Road” Friday in Mesa. The junior Swiss Army Knife carried 38 times for 233 yards and two scores. He also caught a touchdown and played quarterback, as well.
Red Mountain ties the game! Lawson w/ 3-yd TD run. #GoLions
— Red Mtn. Football (@RedMtnFootball) October 8, 2016
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder had more than half the Lions’ total yards. He’s averaging over two rushing touchdowns a game. Red Mountain (4-3), who fought back from a 35-7 halftime deficit to the Toros to tie the game in the fourth quarter, travels to Mesa (3-5) this week.
Knight Rider…Looking forward to making the trip out to Glendale Friday to watch Cactus host Higley. The 6-1 Knights, outside of their Week 3 loss to Saguaro, have been rolling teams –outscoring their six other opponents 356-43.
— Higley Football (@HIGLEYFOOTBALL) October 8, 2016
They beat a talented Casa Grande team by 20 last week. Higley’s offensive success, particularly up front, is a bit shocking considering the Knights didn’t return a single starter from last season and the backups didn’t see much playing time last fall. “This group was going to be an unknown for the coaches, as well,” Head coach Eddy Zubey said to Sports360AZ.com. “[They] started working hard in the weight room and on the field together. They bonded during that time.” Zubey said star quarterback Mason Crossland and leading rusher Draycen Hall gather at one of the offensive linemen’s house each Monday to watch film on Higley’s next opponent. Football’s still a team game.
Zach Miller, one of Desert Vista’s greats, inducted into ASU Hall of Fame today. Nice job Miller. pic.twitter.com/X2tNQXkx6l
— Dan Hinds (@DanHinds) October 7, 2016
No tight end in ASU history has more receptions and touchdowns than Miller. “I didn’t focus on other sports in high school,” Miller told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat last week. “My calling was football and I loved to play it. When I was a little kid and they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said an NFL player. It worked out well for me.” Yes, you could say that. Miller, who retired last year, is enjoying his time (and health) away from the game with his wife and three young children.
The Big Littles…My spies tell me top-ranked Bagdad and #2 Superior are almost destined to meet in the 1A State Championship Game. The Sultans (what an outstanding nickname) are 8-0 and have scored at least 56 points in every one of their eight-man games this season. Superior (7-0) trailed in a game for the first time this season last week against Hayden before senior quarterback Nicolaus Cruz went off for six passing touchdowns in a 42-12 win. The numbers may be skewed a little bit but Cruz’s 22-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is tough to overlook.
Roger(s), That…Arizona has become quite the recruiting hot bed for high school quarterbacks. Sure, everybody knows about the Brett Hundley’s and Kyle Allen’s but across the college landscape you see local players making good at the next level. One of those is former Liberty High star Tyler Rogers who threw for close to 6,000 yards for the Lions.
Hungry for success 😤
— Tyler Rogers (@T_Rogers17) October 5, 2016
Now in his third year at New Mexico State, after spending one season at Arizona Western College in Yuma, the senior is averaging nearly 300 passing yards a game for the Aggies.