Arizona’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best quarterbacks

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Arizona high school football. Our first list focuses on the quarterbacks.

There are hundreds of standout football players in Arizona and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive. Let us know in the comments section which other signal-callers are worthy of fans’ attention in 2020.

William Haskell photo courtesy of Ironwood High School

Adryan Lara, jr., Desert Edge

The Washington State commit was a second-team all-4A selection last year and has helped the Scorpions transition to 5A this fall, completing two-thirds of his passes (96 of 144) for 1,458 yards and 15 touchdowns (two interceptions) to lead them to a 6-0 start and the No. 10 spot in this week’s SBLive Arizona Top 20.

Austin Kolb, sr., Desert Ridge

Kolb, an all-region honorable mention selection as a junior, missed Week 1 with an injury but has had a solid season since, completing nearly 64 percent of his passes (39 of 61) for 510 yards and three touchdowns. He has drawn interest from several Ivy League schools, including Columbia and Cornell.

Bear Milacek, sr., Boulder Creek

Milacek started his high school career at Brophy Prep before transferring to Boulder Creek for his sophomore season, starting four games that year and earning all-Desert Valley 6A honors in 2019. He committed to New Mexico over the summer, leading into a senior season in which he’s led the Jaguars to a 5-1 start, throwing for 740 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes (59 of 88) and running for 257 yards and four scores. “I knew Bear since he was a little kid and he was in a few Anthem camps as a youth player,” Boulder Creek coach Tony Casarella said. “We knew he was going to be a good quarterback from the day he walked on the field.” 

Brayten Silbor, jr., Chaparral

Silbor played behind all-region quarterback Jack Miller (now at Ohio State) last year and appeared in several games after Miller suffered an injury, throwing for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns. Since the Firebirds returned from COVID-19 quarantine in Week 4, he’s passed for seven touchdowns and run for two to help lead them to a 2-1 record.

Brock Mast, sr., Liberty

Mast served as the Lions’ primary backup a year ago but seized the starting job this fall and has the defending 6A champions poised for another playoff run. He’s completed almost 64 percent of his passes (102 of 160) for 1,410 yards and 14 touchdowns against two interceptions. “This doesn’t surprise me,” Liberty coach Colin Thomas said. “He’s had to wait his turn, and when his number was called, he was ready to play. What he’s taken to the next level this year is his playmaking ability — he’s buying time with his legs and making plays.”

Brock Mast / Liberty High School

Dane Christensen, sr., Casteel

The all-San Tan 5A honorable mention selection as a junior has had a breakthrough senior season as the Colts have made the move to 6A, throwing for 1,766 yards and 13 touchdowns against six interceptions. He’s completed a state-leading 161 passes at a 70.6 percent clip (161 of 228) and rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns.

Demond Williams Jr., fr., Basha

Bears coach Chris McDonald had no qualms turning over the reins to a freshman signal-caller this fall considering who the freshman was. “Demond has a great football IQ for his age and shows great poise,” he said before the season, and Williams has paid off his trust by throwing for 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing almost 64 percent of his passes (68 of 107). He’s rushed for 247 yards and three touchdowns. “Demond has gotten better every single game,” McDonald said. “He’s taking some big shots but getting right back up and responding.”

Devin Brown, jr., Queen Creek

Brown, who has committed to USC, has followed a sophomore season shortened by his transfer from Casteel with a solid junior campaign, completing more than 68 percent of his passes (112 for 164) for 1,272 yards and 13 touchdowns against three interceptions. “Devin has one of the most live arms I’ve seen for a 2022 quarterback,” said Bulldogs coach Joe Germaine, the 1998 Big Ten MVP at Ohio State who spent four years as a backup quarterback in the NFL. “He also has a unique ability to extend plays inside and outside the pocket.”

Devon Dampier, soph., Pinnacle

Dampier hopes to follow in the footsteps of the previous Pinnacle quarterback who started as a freshman — Spencer Rattler, now the starter at Oklahoma as a redshirt freshman. Dampier took over in Week 10 last fall and hasn’t skipped a beat this season, throwing for 813 yards and nine touchdowns and running for three scores.

Devon Dampier / Elena Bernardo – EMB Photoshop

EJ Warner, jr., Brophy Prep

Warner, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, completed more than 75 percent of his passes (61 of 81) for 647 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore backup. He was poised for a breakthrough junior season before suffering an injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Notre Dame Prep.

Gage Dayley, jr., Highland

A two-year starter for the Hawks, Dayley received all-Central 6A honorable mention as a sophomore and has backed it up this fall by completing 62 percent of his passes (62 of 100) for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns. “He’s making great decisions and taking care of the football,” Highland coach Brock Farrel said. “He’s probably the smartest kid I’ve ever coached. He can throw anything, and his touch on the ball is great.”

Gavin Goulette, sr., Gilbert

Goulette was the backup at Hamilton last year before making the move to Gilbert, where after sitting out the first half of the season, he has solidified the quarterback spot for the Tigers, throwing for 631 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two games. 

Jack Ricedorff, sr., ALA-Gilbert North

Ricedorff follows in a family tradition — his uncle, Randy, is the Eagles head coach, and his father, Ryan, and cousin Rathan also played quarterback in college. Soon enough, he might get to play at the next level, too. Through six games, he’s completed nearly two-thirds of his passes (115 of 173) for 1,413 yards and 14 touchdowns (three interceptions) to lead the team to a five-game win streak following an opening-game defeat.

Kai Millner, sr., Higley

The Knights are 3-3 in their debut campaign as a 6A school, but they’ve been snakebitten late in a couple of games. One constant from their team that reached the 5A quarterfinals a year ago is the play of their future Cal-Berkeley quarterback, who’s followed an all-San Tan 5A season by throwing for 1,197 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing 63 percent of his passes (97 of 154) and running for 230 yards and two scores. He even executed a perfect fake punt with two minutes left to seal a Week 6 win over Cesar Chavez. “He knows our offense and where to put the football,” Higley coach Eddy Zubey said. “He is a very smart quarterback and has a quick release. He’s athletic enough to run when needed, but his arm strength and accuracy make him great.”

Kai Millner / Paul Etnire

Logan Hubler, jr., ALA-Queen Creek

The Patriots relied on the legs of conference player of the year Aziya Jamison to win the 3A title last season, but this year, they’re relying on their first-year starter at quarterback, who’s completed nearly 70 percent of his passes (103 for 149) for 1,489 yards and 20 touchdowns against six interceptions to lead the Patriots to a 5-1 start. Hubler also has rushed for 211 yards and seven touchdowns.

Mikey Keene, sr., Chandler

Since taking over the Wolves’ starting job as a junior, Keene has gone 18-0, won an Open Division title and received a scholarship offer to Central Florida. After throwing for 2,835 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, he’s completed almost 70 percent of his passes this fall (71 of 102) for 1,043 yards and 12 touchdowns, going more than 19 quarters before throwing his first interception late in a Week 5 victory over Centennial. He has led Chandler to No. 3 in the SBLive Power 25. “You could see then when he was a ninth-grader that he’d be successful,” Wolves coach Rick Garretson said. “He’s everything you want in a quarterback, but most important, he’s got ‘it.’”  

Nicco Marchiol, jr., Hamilton

Marchiol has been everything Huskies coach Mike Zdebski could have asked for since arriving on campus in March from Regis Jesuit of Aurora, Colo., where he passed for more than 4,200 yards and 43 touchdowns in two seasons. This year, he’s become a more accurate thrower, completing a career-high 74 percent of his passes (80 of 108) for 964 yards and six touchdowns. He was 31 of 35 for 352 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 6 victory over Highland. Hamilton sits No. 24 in the SBLive Power 25.

Nicco Marchiol / Annalisa Masunas

PJ London, sr., Blue Ridge

London was a 3A all-conference first-team pick as a junior who has showcased his dual-threat skills in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 4-1 start. He’s thrown for 1,090 yards and five touchdowns, completing almost 71 percent of his passes (68 of 96), and run for 407 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also recorded 17 tackles (two for loss) and an interception in the secondary. Film doesn’t do him justice, said his coach and father, Bob London. “People really need to see him in person to see his size, his skill set,” Bob said.

Quade Swearingen, sr., Corona del Sol

Swearingen’s improvement from a second-team all-Central 6A selection a year ago into one of the conference’s top signal-callers — he’s completed nearly three-fourths of his passes (65 of 87) for 933 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for four scores — has been a major key for one of Arizona’s biggest surprise teams this fall. The Aztecs are 6-0 for the first time since 2008, which also was the last year they won a playoff game. “Quade is our leader,” coach Jon Becktold said. “Everyone responds to his leadership skills, and he’s gotten stronger and faster from last year.”

Richard Stallworth, soph., Yuma Catholic

A year ago, Stallworth manned the JV squad while senior Gage Reese earned second-team all-conference honors and led the Shamrocks to the 3A quarterfinals. Since seizing the starting job this fall, he has passed for 2,366 yards — behind only Oregon commit Ty Thompson of 4A Mesquite among state leaders — and a state-best 30 touchdowns (seven interceptions) with a 70.7 completion percentage (130 of 184). “There is no one that I get on more than Richard,” said his father and coach, Rhett Stallworth. “It is very important that everyone knows that he is not above the law when it comes to my program.

“There are a couple of players on the team who are great at doing impressions, and when the coaches were not around, those guys did some great impressions of me ripping my son’s butt. Once we heard about this, we had the kids perform their impressions of me getting on Richard in front of all of us. They did a pretty good job.” 

Richard Stallworth / Yuma Catholic High School

Ridge Docekal, jr., Saguaro

Docekal, who served as the primary backup to 4A all-conference first-team quarterback Tyler Beverett last season, has experienced success on the gridiron since his first play as a fifth-grader, when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. He is No. 1A in the Sabercats’ timeshare this fall with senior Xander Warner, receiving the majority of snaps as Warner splits time between quarterback and tight end. Docekal, whose father Richard played basketball in college, has completed 60 percent of his passes (30 of 50) for 564 yards and four touchdowns. 

Rocco Bruney, sr., Glendale

Bruney is another member of a football family. His father serves as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator, and his older brother is the offensive line coach. He threw for 2,136 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 1,056 yards and 13 scores as a junior. Through six games this year, he has completed 63 percent of his passes (60 of 95) for 1,148 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 784 yards (7.3 per carry) and 14 scores. “Rocco is a heck of an athlete and has the ability to play at the next level,” Glendale coach Robert York said. “I am excited to see what his future holds.” 

Seth Gallardo, jr., Shadow Ridge

Gallardo has the Stallions in contention for their first playoff berth since 2013, when they played in Division 3. After beating out three other contenders to take over for all-region second-teamer Kaiden Lansford this fall, he has passed for 1,125 yards and 16 touchdowns and completed 64 percent of his throws (83 of 129).

Treyson Bourguet, jr., Salpointe Catholic

Several years ago, first-year Lancers coach Eric Rogers was in Orlando, where his daughter played for a 14U girls NFL Flag national championship. At the same time, Bourguet was there leading his 14U boys team to a title. Rogers recalls Bourguet throwing a touchdown pass on the last play of the game to win the championship. Fast forward to 2020, and Bourguet hopes to lead Salpointe Catholic back to the Open Division playoffs, where it reached the semifinals a year ago. During a 4-0 start interrupted by a COVID-19 quarantine, he’s passed for 486 yards and eight touchdowns, completing 40 of 71 passes (56.3 percent). “Treyson has always handled pressure situations with complete composure,” Rogers said. “He is fun to watch. There is no game too big for him.” 

Treyson Bourguet / Elena Bernardo – EMB Photoshop

Ty Thompson, sr., Mesquite

After leading the Wildcats to their first state championship last fall with a 28-23 victory over Desert Edge in the 4A final, Thompson hopes to lead them to back-to-back titles before taking his talents to the Pacific Northwest — he has committed to the University of Oregon. He earned first-team all-conference honors a year ago, and he’s the favorite to be named all-Arizona this season, leading the state in passing yards (2,483) while completing 61 percent of his passes (125 of 205) for 26 touchdowns against two interceptions. He has rushed for five scores. Thompson led Mesquite to a wild 47-46 come-from-behind victory over Gilbert in Week 5, throwing for a career-high 548 yards and six touchdowns. “Ty is one of the top guys in the country,” Wildcats coach Scott Hare said. “He does everything you’d expect a five-star kid to do.”

William Haskell, sr., Ironwood

Haskell earned second-team all-Northwest 5A honors last fall, when he led the Eagles to their first playoff berth since 2011. This year, the San Diego State commit has his eyes on the program’s first postseason victory in the past 15 years, and he’s doing his part, throwing for 1,083 yards and 13 touchdowns, completing 66 percent of his throws (64 of 97) and running for 308 yards (13.4 per carry) and six scores.

Willy Roberts, jr., Mountain View (Mesa)

Roberts was off to a hot start for the Toros, completing nearly 63 percent of his passes (62 of 99) for 877 yards and six touchdowns before going down with a shoulder injury late in their Week 4 victory over Desert Vista. In his absence, seniors Owen Jones (vs. Westwood) and Zac Majorczak (vs. Mountain Pointe) have been solid in helping Mountain View reach 6-0 for the first time in the past 12 years.

Willy Roberts / Mountain View (Mesa)

Xander Werner, sr., Saguaro

Werner shares quarterback duties with Ridge Docekal and splits time at tight end, where he was an all-region selection for the Sabercats last year. He is more of a runner under center than Docekal, with more rushes (28 for 222 yards and six touchdowns) than pass attempts (14 of 23 for 282 yards and three scores). His father, Matt, played for UCLA and the Seattle Seahawks, and his uncle (Stanford) and grandfather (Columbia) also played collegiately.

MORE: 2020 ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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