It seems like now more than ever that high school football never sleeps. The seasons begin to blend together more and more, especially after the AIA’s decision to allow year-round practice. With the traditional spring football season around the corner, I wanted to highlight a few guys who filled up the stat sheet last year and I feel should be talked a bit more. As always, this is not a complete list, nor am I saying this is an exclusive group. There are so many guys across the state that deserve recognition, and these are just a few that jumped out to me.
One of the wrinkles that comes with having such a deep team like Casteel is a guy who rushes for 1,700 yards and 27 touchdowns can be the third or fourth guy mentioned within an offense. The Colts had five guys catch at least six touchdowns in a passing game led by Gunner Cruz, and Mack Johnson was an incredible equalizer for the Colts in keeping their high-powered offense balanced. He rushed for over 100 yards seven times in 13 games and his season low? 81 yards.
Ricky Pearsall Jr.
The Corona del Sol receiver had a record-breaking performance for the Aztecs against Gilbert last year with 342 yards and five touchdowns, but he consistently made big plays as a junior. He had seven games with a touchdown and currently has offers from NAU and Air Force. This will be the third year of varsity football for Pearsall and he’ll look to improve on those already impressive numbers.
The Cobras are starting a new era under offensive guru Joseph Ortiz, who oversaw some of the most explosive offenses in the state at Higley. He’ll have to replace multi-year starters Mahal Lee at quarterback and Damaria Norris at running back, but he won’t be short on “dudes” within the offense. Sophomore Connor Cordts has a big arm and some mobility that fits Ortiz’ system quite well. On the receiving end is Zach Cullop, who led the Cobras last year with five touchdowns as a junior. Anthony Flores comes into his junior season as the featured running back after rushing for 800 yards backing up Norris. He could be used as a Draycen Hall-type who is used frequently as a runner and a pass catcher. It seems as though there are plenty of pieces for Ortiz to work with to light up the scoreboard moving forward.
More to come….