Some of the most notable players in Southern Arizona high school football history — Mario Bates, Ka’Deem Carey and Bijan Robinson — have earned the Ed Doherty Award, presented by the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club to the state’s player of the year.
Seven aspirants from this area are among those who will be considered for the 2022 honor because of standout performances this season. They are:
QB/CB Cameron Hackworth, Jr., Sabino
In a 41-20 win over Sahuaro, Hackworth was 21 of 28 for 319 yards passing and 4 TDs, while adding another 80 yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He also made a key interception on defense.
RB Emiliano Berthely, Jr., Douglas
Berthely rumbled for 308 yards on 22 carries, with 4 TDs in a 56-49 win over Cholla.
QB Elijah Joplin, Sr., Marana
In a key battle of unbeaten teams in Southern Arizona, Joplin led the Tigers going 31-38 passing for 317 yards and 2 TDs in a 40-37 win over Canyon del Oro.
RB/FS Brysen Barrios, Sr., Pusch Ridge
Barrios led the Lions to a 41-20 win over Sabino with an all-around effort totaling 191 yards on 31 carries with 3 TDs, and he added a 2-pt conversion, blocked a FG and recorded 4 tackles.
RB Cristian Pando, Sr., Willcox
Pando ran for a personal-best 342 yards and six TDs on 30 carries in a 55-6 win over Tanque Verde that gave the Cowboys the 2A San Pedro Region championship.
MLB/TE Tyler Mustain, Sr., Pusch Ridge
In stats before this weekend, Mustain delivered on both side of the ball with 151 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, 2 fumbles caused and 2 recovered on defense. He added 698 yards receiving with 13 TDs on the offensive side.
DE Elijah Rushing, Jr., Salpointe Catholic
Rushing helped lead the Lancers to a 6A playoff bid with 60 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 10.5 sacks, 58 QB hurries and 2 caused fumbles before the Lancers’ win over Williams Field on Friday.
The Southern Arizona products who have earned an Ed Doherty Award — the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in Arizona high school football (Robinson is the only two-time winner in the history of the award dating to 1987):
- WR Eric Drage, Santa Rita, 1988
- OL Mike Ciascia, Sahuaro, 1989
- RB Mario Bates, Amphi, 1990
- RB Kevin Schmidtke, Marana Mountain View, 1993
- S Adam Hall, Palo Verde, 2008
- RB Ka’Deem Carey, CDO, 2011
- RB Bijan Robinson, Salpointe, 2018
- RB Bijan Robinson, Salpointe, 2019
VETERAN COACHES JOIN HIGH SCHOOL STAFFS
Former Pueblo and Sahuaro coach Scott McKee has joined Dustin Peace’s staff at CDO. He has worked in the press box watching developments and relaying information to the field to the fellow Dorado coaches.
Richard Sanchez, who coached Sunnyside to two state titles in 2001 and 2003, was an important addition to Pat Nugent’s staff at Mica Mountain almost midway through the season. Sanchez, who resigned from his position at Tucson in August for undisclosed reasons, took over coaching the Thunderbolts’ offensive line four weeks into the regular season.
Nugent was coaching the line before Sanchez’s arrival. Mica Mountain won five straight games in the 4A Kino to capture the region title.
TANQUE VERDE, TUCSON FIRST OF POTENTIAL MORE COACHING VACANCIES
Jay Dobyns’ resignation after resurrecting the Tanque Verde program and the end of Malcolm Nelson’s interim season at Tucson means those programs are in search of new coaches.
An average of four to five openings occur annually in Southern Arizona so expect more vacancies.
If I am Tanque Verde athletic director Gary Lewis, I try to gauge potential interest from former Benson coach Chris Determan, who made the Bobcats a traditional power at the 2A level before the school went in a different direction following last season.
Determan compiled a record of 143-85-1 in 19 seasons at Benson and took the Bobcats to the 2015 and 2020 championship games.
Tucson High’s program is both a sleeping giant and a monster.
Sleeping giant: The new coach will have plenty of talent to choose from with the 5A school having a large enrollment (more than 3,500). Its magnet status means it can get players from all over Southern Arizona.
Monster: TUSD eligibility requirements (with some determinations of eligibility happening the day before a game or on gameday) and some antiquated facilities and equipment can make it difficult for a coach.
Type of coach needed: Somebody who will spark interest from the youth and their parents in the area, similar to Salpointe’s image of “if you come here, you’ll be noticed and you’ll win.” It must be a coach that will fit in with the large Tucson High School alumni base, someone all Badgers can rally around.
A committee has been formed to screen/interview applicants for the position.
SALPOINTE’S TALIYAH HENDERSON RECRUITED BY ARIZONA
Salpointe sophomore Taliyah Henderson, who can play multiple positions at 6-foot-1, took an unofficial visit of Arizona’s campus when the Wildcats’ football team hosted USC last month.
She has also visited Utah and has drawn interest from Oregon, Illinois, UNLV, Idaho State and San Diego. Coaches from all of those schools have visited Salpointe’s campus.
Henderson is also an accomplished track athlete, earning a bronze in the 400 meters in the Nike Outdoor Track & Field Nationals at Eugene, Ore., in June.
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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.