Welcome to the ninth week of the high school football season, with the state playoffs in the distance.
We were treated to a host of double-digit victories last week, with Canyon del Oro beating Sahuaro, 21-7; Catalina Foothills beating Vista Grade, 61-14; Ironwood Ridge blanking Marana, 47-0; Mountain View blanking Empire, 35-0 and Pusch Ridge beating Sahuarita, 33-14.
With so many one-sided contests come a host of individual performances to remember, with no shortage of names to include on this week’s list.
We’ll hand out a few honorable mentions as a way of acknowledging those performances, before delving into our top-three for the week.
Without further ado, here’s who stood out the most in a crowded field of candidates on Friday night in northwest Tucson.
Honorable Mention: Derrick Williams (Catalina Foothills junior wide receiver)
Stats: 4 catches, 125 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
3. Brandon Barrios (Ironwood Ridge senior running back)
Stats: 20 carries, 171 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
Barrios’ performance to-date has been so eye-popping that an outing like the one he had against the Tigers is a ho-hum occasion. All joking aside, Barrios’ yearly output has been remarkable, with the senior sitting at 979 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in seven starts this year. His latest effort is nothing short of spectacular, but his spot this low on the list shows how much competition there was on Friday night.
2. Evan Lovett (Pusch Ridge Christian Academy junior running back)
Stats: 20 carries, 172 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns/90-yard kickoff return touchdown
Lovett had his best game of the year in Friday’s 33-14 win over Sahuarita, with a year-high 172 yards and 20 carries in a one-sided Lions win. Lovett earned his number-two spot with a remarkable, 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, which is a feat that’s hard to achieve at any level of the game, but especially when the other team kicks from midfield, as they do in high school. Lovett now has 625 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground this season and appears to be in fine form, heading into the Lions’ biggest test of the year, at home against Sabino on Friday night. Expect the junior to shine under the brightest of lights, putting on a show against the rival Sabercats.
1. Will Parker (Catalina Foothills senior quarterback/linebacker)
Stats: 12/19, 235 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns/4 carries, 77 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Parker guided the Falcons to a 61-14 romp over Vista Grande in Casa Grande, with the senior linebacker/tight end-turned quarterback torching the Spartans’ defense all night. Parker more than tripled his previous career high for passing yards, which was 87 against CDO, and racked up five touchdowns to boot for Darius Kelly’s team. Parker’s performance speaks to his all-around athleticism, which is why he’ll be playing Division I football at Colgate University next season. His ability to step in for former QB Conner Alubowicz without missing a beat shows his all-around athleticism, with Friday’s shellacking showing how far he’s come in his newfound role on the Falcons’ offense.