Sights and sounds from Ed Doherty Award ceremony

SCOTTSDALE — Some of the top 53 players from the state gathered at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch on Saturday, with five Southern Arizona nominees for the Ed Doherty Award — Arizona’s equivalency of the Heisman Trophy — part of the prestigious list.

The late Ed Doherty is the legendary coach who led the Salpointe program from 1978-82 as well as Arizona (1957-58) and ASU (1947-50) — the only person to coach both of the state universities. He won two state titles at Phoenix St. Mary’s in 1967 and 1968.

Salpointe named its football field after Doherty in 1991.

Ed Doherty (Tucson Citizen file photo)

The following are the Southern Arizonans who were among the nominees with the performance that merited them having an opportunity to win the Ed Doherty Award, earned the previous two years by Salpointe great Bijan Robinson:

QB Treyson Bourguet, Salpointe

As the Lancers wrapped up a shortened regular season at 6-0 with a 31-3 Week 8 win over Desert Mountain and advanced to the Open Division playoffs, Bourguet threw for 196 yards and a touchdown.

RB Gabe Levy, Cienega

The Bobcats’ senior rushed 23 times for 208 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 win over CDO.

Gabe Levy during his impressive performance against CDO (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

RB Evan Lovett, Pusch Ridge

In a Week 8 3A play-in game, Lovett rushed 12 times for 306 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-7 win over Gilbert Christian.

Evan Lovett had a memorable senior season (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

RB Hunter Ogle, Eloy Santa Cruz

In a 42-18 win over Coolidge in Week 2, Ogle helped the Dust Devils improve to 2-0 by rushing 21 times for 251 yards and four touchdowns.

DB/WR Isaiah Roebuck, Marana

In a tough 49-35 Week 7 loss to Walden Grove, Roebuck made an impact on both sides of the ball. He caught six passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns and also recorded 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery on defense.

The field of 53 nominees was pared to the final five by the selection committee, which includes myself and brother Andy Morales (a long-time selection member). I became an Ed Doherty Award selection committee member this season.

Some of the Ed Doherty Award nominees at today’s ceremony (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The final five:

— Hunter Ogle

— RB Jacob Cisneros, Boulder Creek

— QB Ty Thompson, Mesquite

— RB Eli Sanders, Chandler

— QB Mikey Keene, Chandler

The Ed Doherty Award winner was Thompson, who is bound for Oregon. Thompson, rated Arizona’s top Class of 2021 prospect by Rivals.com, became a nominee when he completed 20 of 40 pass attempts for 347 yards with three touchdowns and also rushed for 50 yards and two more touchdowns in a Week 2 loss to Sunrise Mountain.

Mesquite QB Ty Thompson (middle) is the 2020 Ed Doherty Award winner flanked by former Perry QB Brock Purdy (the 2017 winner) and Salpointe RB great Bijan Robinson (the 2018 and 2019 winner) (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Vern Freidli inducted into prestigious hall of fame

The late Vern Freidli, a legendary Amphi coach, was selected into the Arizona Football Coaches Hall of Fame along with the late Jesse Parker (former Camelback, Mesa Mountain View and Gilbert head coach) and former Glendale Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier.

Haley Miller, a 16-year-old junior at Mountain Ridge High School drew these portraits of Larry Fetkenhier, Vern Friedli and Jesse Parker (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

By the time Friedli retired in 2012, he compiled 331 wins, 288 of those in 36 years at Amphi. Friedli was well known for his ground-pounding wishbone offenses which produced some of the state’s most outstanding high school running backs such as Jon Volpe, Michael Bates, Mario Bates, Marion Bates and Antrell Bates.

Freidli was known as a no-nonsense coach who gave straight talk and unfiltered comments to the media. He passed away in 2017 and is remembered by his peers as one of the greatest coaching personalities and toughest competitors in Arizona high School football history.

Bijan Robinson returns after successful freshman season at Texas

Robinson is the only player in the history of the Ed Doherty Award to win it twice and he achieved that feat in consecutive years.

He returned to the ceremony after gaining 703 yards on 88 carries with four touchdowns in his freshman season at Texas, capped by his 183-yard performance on 10 carries against Colorado in a 55-23 win in the Alamo Bowl. He earned offensive MVP of the bowl.

Sitting at the same table during the luncheon was former Gilbert Perry quarterback Brock Purdy, who won the 2017 Ed Doherty Award and is emerging as a potential Heisman candidate at Iowa State. He was the offensive player of the game in the Cyclones’ win over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

Rishard Davis first African-American to win a football state title in Arizona

Eloy Santa Cruz coach Rishard Davis accompanied Ogle to the ceremony.

Davis, who coached the Dust Devils to their first state title in 30 years, is the first African-American to achieve that feat as a football coach in this state.

After growing up near the heart of the civil rights movement in Selma, Ala., Davis commented about that accomplishment and the uncertainty about his immediate future in his coaching career. The 36-year-old coach may look into any potential openings in Tucson given that he lives in Oro Valley.

Cienega has an opening after Pat Nugent announced this week he will be the head coach at Mica Mountain next season.

Trenton Bourguet eyeing college coaching career after learning from Herm Edwards

Trenton Bourguet, an Ed Doherty Award nominee during his stellar career at Marana, will enter his third season as a backup QB with ASU in 2021. The former preferred walk-on in Herm Edwards’ program is using the experience to mold himself into a potential college coach down the road.

Trenton joined his brothers Treyson and Coben and their parents Toby and Vanessa at the ceremony.

Salpointe coach Eric Rogers looking forward to heavy senior class in 2021

Salpointe went 6-1 this season with a semifinal appearance in the Open Division playoffs with major overhauls with the coaching staff and team personnel.

Eric Rogers, who took over for the legendary Dennis Bene, a mainstay at Salpointe for 19 years, is looking forward to some stability in 2021 with a heavy senior class led by Treyson Bourguet and receiver prospect Elijah Barclay. He anticipates a roster of 30 seniors with some talented underclassmen.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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