For the tenth straight year, West Valley Preps honors the best football players from schools in the Northwest Valley.
Editor Richard Smith picked three running backs for the first team, and an all purpose quarterback for the second since this was the year of the running quarterback. With most teams running a variant of the spread offense, the first team has three receivers and the second team includes a tight end.
Also selected were four defensive linemen and four linebackers for each team.
Players may only be selected for offense or defense, but can earn a secondary nomination on special teams.
FIRST TEAM ALL WEST VALLEY PREPS
All players are seniors unless noted
QB – Keegan Stancato, Mountain Ridge
RB – Michael Clark, Shadow Ridge
RB – Anthony Flores, Cactus
RB – Austin Young, Northwest Christian
WR – Jovon Scott, Peoria
WR – Kyler Stancato, Mountain Ridge
WR – Cameron Adams, Northwest Christian
OT – Isaiah Mercado, Shadow Ridge
OT – Andrew Rumary, Valley Vista
OG – Frank Thompson, Liberty
OG – Matt Johnson, Sunrise Mountain
C – Josh Hovatter, Centennial
DE – Riley Davies (Jr.), Cactus
DT – Andy Belmontez, Centennial
DT – Grant Collins, Liberty
DE – Gabriel Ocampo, Peoria
LB – Tommy Ellis, Mountain Ridge
LB – Isaiah Pittman, Liberty
LB – Nate Quinones, Cactus
LB – Jamarlo Campbell, Millennium
CB – Eric Haney, Centennial
CB – Treydan Stukes, Millennium
S – Jax Stam (Soph.), Liberty
S – Jaydin Young, Centennial
K – Joshua Hubbs, Willow Canyon
P – Jalan Early, Millennium
KR – Nicc Quinones, Cactus
PR – Isaac Moreno (Soph.), Peoria
LS – Hovatter, Centennial
SECOND TEAM ALL WEST VALLEY PREPS
All players are seniors unless noted
QB – Conner Cordts, Cactus
RB – Cameron Mack (Soph.), Peoria
RB – Darvon Hubbard, Willow Canyon
AP – William Haskell (Jr.), Ironwood
WR – Nathan Duran, Sunrise Mountain
WR – Liam Kelleher (Jr.), Valley Vista
TE – Carter Hill, Liberty
OT – Caiden Miles (Jr.), Centennial
OT – Temoc Sandoval, Liberty
OG – Trey Hendrix (Jr.), Peoria
OG – Micah Oxley, Northwest Christian
C – Travis Combs, Cactus
DE – DJ Gleash (Jr.), Centennial
DT – Ethan Price (Jr.), Cactus
DT – Derek Jodarski, Centennial
DE – Ben Strawn (Jr.), Northwest Christian
LB – Brandon Fondong, Millennium
LB – Alaa Barakat, Peoria
LB – Seth Lane, Centennial
LB – Jace Accurso, Liberty
CB – Kaysan Barnett, Millennium
CB – Sebastien Fiery-Hardimon (Jr.), Ironwood
S – Nicc Quinones, Cactus
S – Josh Cano, Shadow Ridge
K – Juaquin Rodriguez, Centennial
P – Brendan James, Centennial
KR – Young, Centennial
PR – Barnett, Millennium
LS – Corbin Hulbert, Northwest Christian
UNDERCLASSMEN TO WATCH
Cactus: Mason Cullop (Soph.), OL/DL, Will Galvan (Fr.), DB; Centennial: Raul Aguilar (Soph.), OG, James Scott (Soph.), RB; Deer Valley: Dylan Henderson (Soph.), OL/DL, Ashton Hill (Soph.), RB/LB; Dysart: Alex Moreno (Soph.), QB, Prince Zombo (Fr.), WR/S; Glendale Prep: Sam Terpstra (Soph.), QB/LB, Jacob Rickey (Fr.), DB; Ironwood: Jailen Reed (Soph.), OL/DL; Kellis: Tristian Felix (Soph.), LB; Liberty: Zaccheus Cooper (Fr.), RB; Mountain Ridge: Deric English (Fr.), WR, Jeffrey Toloa (Soph.), DT/OG; Northwest Christian: Grant Gibson (Soph.), RB, Luke Johnson (Soph.), LB; Paradise Honors: Trey Hermann (Soph.), QB; Peoria: Jeremiah Gossett (Soph.) DB/RB, Richard Cortez (Soph.), LB; Shadow Ridge: Isaac Yates (Soph.), WR/DB; Sunrise Mountain: Easton Black (Soph.), K; Valley Vista: Jaden Lay (Soph.), OL, Jaelin McCullen (Soph.) DE/WR; Willow Canyon: Josiah Gardner (Soph.), OL/DL, Daunte Williams (Soph.), WR.
OVERALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jaydin Young, senior FS/RB/KR, Centennial. It seemed pre-ordained that Young would repeat in this category. In the end it was, though the opposition made a second straight award difficult by simply avoiding him as much as possible. He still had 514 rushing yards on 66 carries, 271 receiving yards on 15 receptions and 220 yards on six kickoff returns. And for the third straight year, he topped the Coyotes in passes defended and paced the secondary in tackles. He spent much of the team’s eight straight blowouts starting at safety and being saved from a full offensive load. But in the big games, he was Centennial’s money man.
Runner-up: Cameron Adams, senior WR/CB/KR/PR, Northwest Christian. Conversely, Coach Dave Inness admitted that in big games Adams needed to be in almost every play. His 66 catches for 879 yards accounted for more than half of the Crusaders’ totals in both areas. Defensively, Adams chipped in 50 tackles and three picks. He tacked on 517 total return yards and a punt return touchdown. Last year’s top cover corner for Northwest Christian had the opportunity for more dynamic playmaking as a senior.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jovon Scott, senior WR, Peoria. If Adams’ share of the Crusaders passing game seems extreme, get a load of this. Scott caught 48 passes for 1,099 yards and 14 touchdowns. Remember that Scott missed a game then consider the totals for the entire Peoria team were 99 receptions for 1,801 yards and 21 touchdowns. Scott’s speed and uncanny ability to go up and get 50/50 balls at 5-6 made him a nightmare to cover and almost single-handedly prevented foes from stacking the box.
Runner-up: Michael Clark, senior RB, Shadow Ridge. From obscurity to the leading regular season rusher in 6A, Clark took the state by storm. He thrived in the Stallions’ old school I formation base offense. Clark’s decisive cuts, body lean and ability to find holes quickly made him the perfect throwback runner for the throwback attack. He also handled contact and frequent use far better than his frame would suggest.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nate “Doodles” Quinones, senior LB, Cactus. It is a treat to watch a high school player take over a game. And it is surreal to watch a 5-9, 160-pound linebacker do it. The Cobras were a streaky team that thrived on momentum. More often than not, Quinones supplied it. In particular, his defensive dominance and blocked punt turned around Cactus’ regular season rivalry game against Peoria, which led Cactus 14-0 at halftime before a second-half spurt sealed a 20-14 Cactus win. He finished with a whopping 132 tackles, six sacks and four forced fumbles.
Runner-up: Tommy Ellis, senior LB, Mountain Ridge. Ellis was the best pure tackler in the West Valley as 83 of his 143 stops were of the solo variety. He also caused five fumbles and recorded 18 tackles for loss. More than anything, the third-year starter kept the young Mountain Lions defense above water in enough games to allow his offense to make the decisive play late. This prototypical middle linebacker also dropped back in coverage well enough to make a couple picks.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Doug Madoski, Mountain Ridge. This award appeared to be an absolute lock after Mountain Ridge’s 39-33 double overtime upset at Liberty Oct. 4. The Mountain Lions did not win another game to finish the season 5-6. But the point was made. In April Mountain Ridge was without a coach, coming off a 0-10 season and reeling from its prior coach’s arrest. Madoski arrived from the disbanded Scottsdale Community College program in late May and coached Mountain Lions and a new junior college team simultaneously. As the Stancato brothers and Ellis quickly showed, this program was not devoid of talent. But for the first time in a decade, a coach and his staff put these players in a position to succeed. Mountain Ridge made its first playoff appearance since 2010, winning as many games in one year as it did in its previous three seasons combined.
Runner-up: Mark Smith, Liberty. If ever a case for a separate regular season and postseason award could be made, this was the year. Liberty finished the regular season 6-4 and underachieved by its own expectations — and anyone else’s. The Lions began the season with realistic open division dreams and crashed to the No. 7 seed in a 6A playoff field after the top four teams made the open. But Liberty was not alone in this fate. Gilbert Perry, Gilbert Highland and Phoenix Desert Vista all saw their open dreams dashed early. Mesa Red Mountain was one of the last teams out. Like those squads the Lions had one shot at redemption. And with Smith guiding the way Liberty swept through the field, knocking off Desert Vista and Red Mountain in thrillers to win the 6A title. Given a second chance, this team reached its potential. Smith refocused the senior-laden group, getting them to reforge their bonds and play the game they loved with abandon again. He hoisted the first trophy in his long career coaching across the Valley.Media: gallery