Ed Doherty Award ceremony chance for nominees to reflect on high-level accomplishments

Many of the 2022 Ed Doherty Award nominees from all over the state (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

SCOTTSDALE — Forty of the top performers this year in Arizona high school football — including Marana senior quarterback Elijah Joplin, Pusch Ridge senior running back Brysen Barrios and Willcox senior running back Cristian Pando — convened Saturday at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch with each proudly wearing the Ed Doherty Award nomination medallion from their necks.

Only one of the 40 was deemed the recipient of what is the Heisman Trophy of high school football in this state — Scottsdale Saguaro senior quarterback Devon Dampier.

Everybody left a winner.

Making it to the ceremony is very meaningful inasmuch as 59 players overall earned nominations in the last 10 weeks of the regular season. That number is a small fraction of the overall number of those who compete on Friday nights in this state.

Of the 19 nominees who could not attend the ceremony Saturday because of prior commitments, four were from Southern Arizona — Pusch Ridge senior linebacker Tyler Mustain (uncommitted), Sabino junior quarterback Cameron Hackworth, Douglas junior athlete Emiliano Berthely and Salpointe junior defensive end Elijah Rushing.

Dampier, a senior headed to New Mexico, led Saguaro to the Open Division championship game last week. The Sabercats lost to Chandler Basha and junior quarterback Demond Williams, who was one of the six finalists for the award. Williams is an Arizona recruiting target.

The other four finalists were Peoria Liberty junior quarterback Navi Bruzon, ALA-Gilbert North senior quarterback Adam Damante (headed to NAU), Gilbert Higley sophomore quarterback Jamar Malone II and Phoenix Pinnacle senior tight end Duce Robinson (college choice undecided).



Miranda, a freshman business student at Arizona, was presented the Impact Award last year at the Ed Doherty Award ceremony. The Impact Award honors the state’s most impactful leader through community service. He attended Saturday’s ceremony to celebrate the 2022 Impact Award recipient — Milan Coraggio-Sewell, a senior tennis player at Phoenix Country Day School in Paradise Valley. Miranda-Carrasco, who achieved a 4.0 GPA in his first semester at Arizona, has taken on many community projects starting when he was a Salpointe student. Among them are volunteering with Casa Maria to feed and clothe the homeless; Angel Martinez Memorial to help families in need; and Westside Missionary Baptist Church assisting with special events and fundraisers for a summer youth camp.


Joplin was the starting quarterback in Steward’s first two seasons at Marana. The Tigers were 7-3 last season and 10-2 this year after advancing to the 5A quarterfinal round. Steward will rely on Jason Wood at quarterback next season. Wood, who will be a senior, passed for 534 yards while completing 32 of 45 attempts in the Tigers’ first two games while Joplin was working his way back from an eye injury. Wood will have high-profile Class of 2025 receiving prospect Dezmen Roebuck as one of his targets. Roebuck, who has been offered a scholarship by Arizona, had 92 receptions for 1,274 yards with 13 touchdowns.


Marana QB Elijah Joplin eclipsed 6,000 passing yards in his career (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The senior, who is a two-time Ed Doherty Award nominee, concluded his high school career with 6,074 passing yards while completing an astounding 436 of 595 pass attempts (73.3 percent) with 63 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He is not certain if he will pursue a college football career. He is also playing basketball and is a distance thrower in track and field with the Tigers.


Barrios, younger brother of former Ironwood Ridge standout Brendan Barrios, concluded his senior season with 919 yards on 132 carries with 18 touchdowns. This is after he missed the first game with an injury. Brysen Barrios said he will study engineering in college. Arizona is a potential destination.


Pando, another two-time Ed Doherty Award nominee, rushed for 3,436 of his 3,684 career yards in the last two seasons for coach Eric Hjalmarson at Willcox. He followed a 336-yard performance against San Tan Foothills in 2021 with a 342-yard game against Tanque Verde this season. Pando is involved in the recruiting process and is undecided of his college choice.


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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top