The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club announced the winners of the Ed Doherty Award Week 10 Performance Medallions this afternoon. Ten players were recognized for outstanding play during their games in the final week of the regular season: Alex Bell (Sabino, QB, Sr.), Ja’Tai Jenkins (Verrado, B, Jr.), Ryan Puskas (Liberty, S, Jr.), Jacob Conover (Chandler, QB, Jr.), Kedon Slovis (Desert Mountain, QB, Jr.), Chris Russell (Cesar Chavez, QB, Sr.), Hayden Hatten (Pinnacle, TE, Jr.), Jack Miller (Chaparral, QB, So.), Angel Ruiz (Sunrise Mountain, WR, Sr.) and Marques White (Brophy Prep, DB, So.). By earning these medallions, all ten players are added to the end of season awards luncheon on December 9 at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch and are officially eligible for the 2017 Ed Doherty Award. A total of forty-six (46) players make up the final list of nominees for this year’s award.
“The final week of the regular season did not disappoint and each of these nominees delivered outstanding performances in games where their team’s playoff position was at stake,” stated Selection Committee Co-Chairman Ward Hickey. “Our committee was all over the state attending games and they raved about the efforts on the gridiron. These young men represent the best of a talented group in this final week and deserve their official nominations for the Ed Doherty Award.”
Four players named were on the 43-player Watch List (Conover, Jenkins, Slovis and White), while Bell, Puskas, Russell, Hatten, Miller and Ruiz came from the field after receiving consideration in previous weeks. Each player will receive their medallions at an upcoming school event later this week and will join the other medallion winners at the Ed Doherty Award luncheon on December 9.
Jacob Conover, Chandler, QB, Sr.
The Wolves signal caller has returned to form after a shoulder injury sidelined him for 3 games after the IMG Academy game. In the division clinching 50-14 win over rival Hamilton in the Battle of Arizona Ave, Conover was 19/26 for 371yds and TD and thrown for 680yds and 3TDs over the past two weeks as the Wolves appear ready to defend their 6A state title
Alex Bell, Tucson Sabino, QB, Sr.
In a 69-27 3A win over Tucson Empire, Bell completed 18 of 24 for 418 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions for a 156.3 passer rating. He has tallied 2,121yds and 30TDs for the 8-2 Sabercats.
Ryan Puskas, Peoria Liberty, S, Jr.
The strong safety came through with 16 tackles in the division clinching 21-19 upset win over Centennial. Seven of those were solo tackles. On the season for the Lions, Puskas has 52 tackles and 4 TFL.
Chris Russell, Laveen Cesar Chavez, QB, Sr.
In a 56-15 rout of Phoenix Alhambra that clinched the 6A Metro title for the Champions, Russell completed six of 10 passes for 205 yards and five TDs, and ran six times for 108 yards and two TDs.
Ja’Tai Jenkins, Buckeye Verrado, RB, Jr.
The Vipers leading rusher came up big in the division clinching 24-17OT victory over rival Desert Edge with 132yds on 22 carries and a TD. On the season, Jenkins has 1,728yds and 22TDs foe a team that will be a tough out in the 5A playoffs.
Kedon Slovis, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, QB, Jr.
Slovis has excelled under the guidance of NFL HOF QB and Desert Mountain OC Kurt Warner and delivered with 27/37 for 281yds and 5TDs in a critical 50-36 win over Boulder Creek to secure a playoff spot for the Wolves. On the season he has amassed 2,681yds and 29TDs with only 3INTs.
Hayden Hatten, Phoenix Pinnacle, TE, Jr.
Hatten, who had 3 catches for 64yds and TD in the division clinching 59-7 win over Horizon, is Spencer Rattler’s favorite target for the Pioneers and leads the state in receptions for TEs with 49 catches, 766yds and 12TDS. The versatile athlete also is 5/6 passing for 133yds and has 18 ruses for 155yds and 3TDs.
Jack Miller, Scottsdale Chaparral, QB, So.
The good news for 5A teams in that Miller and the Firebirds move up to 6A next season. The bad news is the top-rated 2020 QB in the nation, who moved up from 2A this season, has hit his stride as Chaparral enters the 5A playoffs. In leading the Firebirds to 3 critical “must” wins down the stretch, Miller has thrown for 502yds, 7TDs and rushed for 150yds and 2TDs.
Angel Ruiz, Peoria Sunrise Mountain, WR, Sr.
Ruiz has been the go to receiver for QB Keegan Freid all season and in the division clinching 61-34 win over Mingus, he delivered with 5 receptions for 117yds and 3TDs. He also added a rushing TD. On the season, he leads the Mustangs with 56 catches for 1,238yds and 18TDs.
Marques White, Phoenix Brophy Prep, DB, Jr.
There were not a lot of bright moments in the Broncos’ 1-9 season which ended with a 48-19 loss to Chandler last week, but White was certainly a shining star on the defensive side of the ball. He recorded 90 tackles (50 solo), recovered 3 fumbles, forced 5 and had 1 interception.
Rob Yowell (Co-Chairmen)
Ward Hickey (Co-Chairmen)
Ralph Amsden (Arizona Varsity)
Chris Eaton (Gridiron Arizona)
Jason Jewell (24/7 Scout.com)
Kevin McCabe (Arizona Sports 98.7)
Andy Morales (AzPreps365.com/AllSportsTucson.com)
Richard Obert (Arizona Republic)
Rhett Stallworth (Yuma Catholic Administrator)
Jason Skoda (MyNewsMesa.com)
From news release.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com