We’ve reached the fourth week of the high school football season, giving us a sense of clarity to the way the gauntlet will shake out. We’ve seen several eye-popping performances to-date, including a few noteworthy outings last Friday night.
We saw the Canyon del Oro Dorados race past Apache Junction, 35-9, to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2010.
We saw the Catalina Foothills Falcons earn first-year coach Darius Kelly his first win, hammering Marana, 38-0.
We also witnessed the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks valiantly fight a talented Millennium squad, falling 35-20 in Goodyear.
Mountain View sputtered in its second game of the season, falling to Gilbert’s Higley High School, 38-13.
These results solidify what we saw in the first two weeks of the season, providing insight into who’s a legit playoff team, and who’s bound for mediocrity in the months ahead.
Without further ado, here are the performances from week three of the high school football season that stood out in a crowded field of candidates:
3. Conner Alubowicz
Catalina Foothills senior quarterback
8/12, 102 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 carry, 42 rushing yards
Alubowicz carried the Falcons to their first win of the season last Friday night, connecting for three passing touchdowns, while putting up a eye-popping 132.6 QB rating, which more than doubles his previous high this season. The senior gunslinger wasn’t asked to do much with his legs, but used his one attempt to his benefit, racing 42 yards for Darius Kelly’s team. It’ll be interesting to see if Alubowicz is able to use that performance as a springboard to future success, ahead of a showdown with longtime rival Sabino on Friday night. Expect the quarterback to continue his solid play, now that he’s gotten a taste of victory with the Falcons.
2. Brandon Barrios
Ironwood Ridge senior running back
26 carries, 115 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns/3 catches, 15 yards
Barrios was phenomenal in an Ironwood Ridge loss last Friday night, notching his second-straight 100-yard performance. The senior running back has 250 yards in two games for Ironwood Ridge, with two scores to his credit this season. Barrios is a bona fide stud in the backfield for James Hardy’s team, with a much-anticipated matchup with Gilbert power Campo Verde awaiting him this week. It’ll be interesting to see how Barrios fares this week, against a Coyotes defense that’s given up 111 rushing yards in three games this season.
1. Montana Neustadter
CDO junior quarterback
2/7, 44 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 10 carries, 148 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Neustadter has excelled in one facet of the game of football this season, that being running the football. The tall junior quarterback has struggled throwing the ball, completing 29.4 percent of his passes in three games, but has more than made up for it by gashing defenses right and left on the ground. No play exhibited Neustadter’s unique athleticism quite like the first play from scrimmage on Friday, when the junior ran 66 yards on an option keeper for the Dorados’ first score of the night against Apache Junction. Coach Dustin Peace has a two-headed beast under center, with Neustadter dicing up defenses with his legs, while senior Jared Vazquez has done much the same for the team with his accurate passing abilities. Neustadter’s lofty position on this week’s list stems from his running ability. If he can find a way to complete more of his passes going forward then he’ll find himself atop this list as the season progresses. It’ll be interesting to watch how the junior fares going forward, starting with this week’s clash with Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, and whether opponents can hamper his ability to run the ball with ease.