The Gridiron Club held its annual award luncheon Saturday afternoon at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch and 51 nominees from throughout the state were recognized for their accomplishments in the 2018 season. Salpointe running back Bijan Robinson earned the 2018 Ed Doherty Award, signifying the best high school football player in Arizona.
Robinson, Chandler RB DeCarlos Brooks, Saguaro athlete Connor Soelle, Notre Dame receiver Jake Smith and Chandler QB Jacob Conover were named the five finalists by the selection committee and Robinson was chosen from this group of very deserving athletes. NOTE: I am a voting member of the selection committee.
Only a junior, Robinson rushed for 2,400 yards with 35 touchdowns including 155 yards and a TD against Saguaro in the 4A state championship game.
Former winners with Southern Arizona ties includes Santa Rita athlete Eric Drage (1988); Sahuaro lineman Mike Ciasca (1989), Amphitheater RB Mario Bates (1990), Mountain View and University of Arizona RB Kevin Schmidtke (1993), Lakeside and Arizona standout Scooter Sprotte (1994), Desert Vista and Arizona standout Bobby Wade (1998), Tolleson and Arizona RB Mike Bell (2000), Palo Verde and Arizona standout Adam Hall (2008), Canyon del Oro and Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey (2011) and Ironwood Ridge standout Tyler Williams (2012).
Marana QB Trenton Bourguet, Buena RB Kaleb Bryant, Cienega standout Terrell Hayward and Tombstone RB Tyler Wilridge joined Robinson from the group of nominees from Southern Arizona this year. Former Cienega and current Arizona QB Jamarye Joiner was a 2017 finalist.
Robinson and Bourguet were also nominated in 2017 along with Sabino QB Alex Bell, Ironwood Ridge RB Nick Brahler, Canyon del Oro RB Elijah Carey, Cholla QB Jordan Porter and San Manuel RB Christian Velasquez.
Marana QB Trenton Bourguet indicates a possible walk-on position with the University of Arizona:
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 is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com