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The 2023 All West Valley Preps football team

Posted 1/8/24

For the 14th straight year, West Valley Preps honors the best football players from schools in the Northwest Valley.

Adding Canyon View and O’Connor brought our roster to 23 teams so now …

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The 2023 All West Valley Preps football team


For the 14th straight year, West Valley Preps honors the best football players from schools in the Northwest Valley.

Adding Canyon View and O’Connor brought our roster to 23 teams so now we have a third team all West Valley Preps.

All three offenses include an all-purpose player who lines up and does damage from multiple positions. 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.


All players are seniors unless noted

QB – Navi Bruzon, Liberty
AP – Isaiah Thomas, Paradise Honors
RB – Jon Wilson, Liberty
RB – Markhi McKinnon, Desert Edge
WR – Braylon Gardner, Liberty
WR – Josh Morales, Paradise Honors
WR – Nikko Boncore-Montoya (junior), Cactus
OL – Brady Bakke, Centennial
OL – Jalayne Miller (sophomore), Desert Edge
OL – Kaden Haeckel, Liberty
OL – Sean Tripp, Millennium
C – Jace Gardner (junior), Liberty

DE – Deshawn Warner, Desert Edge
DT – Trace Teague, O’Connor
DE/DT – Caden Branston (junior), Liberty
DE – Noah Carter, Centennial
LB – Keaton Stam, Liberty
LB – Jaylen Dawson, Desert Edge
LB – Aaden Ngyuen, Centennial
LB – Zane Tallman, Liberty
CB – Kenny Worthy III, Centennial
CB – Aundre Gibson, Desert Edge
S – Iverson Small, Centennial
S – Junior Chavez , Kellis

Special Teams
K – Jason Weston, Millennium
P – Gage Baker, Paradise Honors
KR – Gibson, Desert Edge
PR – Boncore-Montoya, Cactus
LS – Brody Johnson (junior), Liberty

Paradise Honors senior quarterback Gage Baker drops back to pass during a late second quarter drive in the Panthers' Nov. 10 home 3A playoff quarterfinal game against Morenci. (Courtesy Gilbert Hermosillo/Gilherm Photography)


QB – Gage Baker, Paradise Honors
AP – Ronald Coty (junior), Kellis
RB – Marquez Smith, ALA West-Foothills
RB – Nate Bayus, O’Connor
TE – Ryan Wolfer, Liberty
WR – Kezion Dia-Johnson, Desert Edge
WR – Gunnar Penzkover, Northwest Christian
OL – Andrew Ochoa, ALA-West Foothills
OL – Carter McWilliams, Northwest Christian
OL – Jalen Cox, Paradise Honors
OL – T.J. Millsap, O’Connor
C – Trey Bohm, Canyon View

DE – J.J. Brutus (junior), ALA-West Foothills
DT – Ami Moala (sophomore), Cactus
DT – Shaun Aletor, Desert Edge
DE – Ezra Edmond, Millennium
LB – Hudson Dunn (sophomore), Liberty
LB – Marshall Gilette, Northwest Christian
LB – Bryce Bacon, Kellis

LB – Jonathan Kamara, Desert Edge
CB – Jamar Beal-Goines (junior), Desert Edge
CB – Jackson Barton, O’Connor
S – Diego Aguirre, Millennium
S – Hayden Allen, Centennial

Special Teams
K – Samuel Parks, ALA-West Foothills
P – Max Cauley (junior), Shadow Ridge
KR – Thomas, Paradise Honors
PR – Carter, Centennial
LS – Connor Foulke (junior), Sunrise Mountain


QB – Evan Tarasenko, Northwest Christian
AP – Kye Brown, Dysart
RB – Jalen Dupree, Millennium
RB – Javon Bell (sophomore), Peoria
TE – Coleman Burkhart, Paradise Honors
WR – Jermaine Patterson, Canyon View
WR – Jeramichael Hernandez, Valley Vista
OL – Ivan Olivas, Centennial
OL – Nicholas Spence (junior), Liberty
OL – Andrew Harris, Sunrise Mountain
OL – Ryan McPherson, Peoria
C – Blake Kellar, Estrella Foothills

DE – Bode Joncas, Paradise Honors
DT – Walker Wisley, Northwest Christian
DT – Brandon Robbins, Sunrise Mountain
DE – Gabriel Rodriguez, Peoria
LB – Elijah Alvarado, Estrella Foothills
LB – Tony Romano, Valley Vista
LB – Raymond Jones, Cactus
LB – Seth Goldberg, ALA West-Foothills
CB – Marcus Logan, Centennial
CB – Daveed Umoren, Liberty
S – Gabriel Sotelo (junior), Cactus
S – Antonio Jimenez, Kellis

Special Teams
K – Nathan Hawkins, Liberty
P – Hunter Marcos (junior), Sunrise Mountain
KR – Dontay Tyson Jr. (Freshman), Peoria
PR – Tyson, Peoria
LS – Brogen Mathis, Mountain Ridge


ALA-West Foothills: Hunter Cotten (Soph.), LB, Hudson Mitton (Soph.), QB; Cactus: Antonio Casias (Soph.), QB, Chuy Diaz (Soph.), OT; Canyon View: Jackson McCarthy (Soph.), LB, D.J. Sims (Soph.), RB; Centennial: Myles Joseph (Soph.), OT, Kainan Manna (Soph.), QB; Deer Valley: Paxston Coleston (Soph.) WR/DB, Brady Keith (Soph.), WR; Desert Edge: Zerek Sidney (Fr.), WR; Dysart: Jevon Christmas (Soph.) RB/LB; Donovan Hinchey (Soph.), WR/DB; Estrella Foothills: Dasan Ponce (Soph.), LB, Lorenzo Ruelas (Soph.), DE; Glendale Prep: Joshua McHale (Soph.), QB, Dylan Lincoln (Soph.), CB/WR; Highland Prep: King Covarrubio (Soph.), S/WR, Kalel Pickens (Soph.), RB/CB; Ironwood: Khavontae Paul (Soph.), RB, Chase Tafoya (Soph.), CB; Kellis: Daniel Lozano (Soph.), OT/K, Rocky Warner (Soph.), LB; Liberty: Cannon Garday (Soph.), S, Paz St. John (Soph.), DT; Millennium: Trey Peck (Soph.), WR; Mountain Ridge: Tyke Daniels (Soph.), CB, Rylan Sasso (Soph.), OG; Northwest Christian: Charlie Dumaplin (Soph.), C, Brett Geiser (Soph.), OG; O’Connor: McKylan Howard (Soph.), DE; Paradise Honors: Preston Brown (Soph.), DB, Ethan Lynch (Soph.), LB; Peoria: Brandon Castellanos (Soph.), DE, Dominic Kramer (Soph.), QB; Shadow Ridge: Tyler Burnstein (Soph.), DE, Jayden Pico (Soph.), QB; Sunrise Mountain: Logan Guliford (Soph.), DE, Logan Russell (Soph.), WR; Valley Vista: Sawyer Oliver (Soph.), CB, Ethan Penner (Soph.), C; Willow Canyon: Maurice Morrison (Soph.), CB, Juan Ramirez (Soph.), OG.

Centennial senior Noah Carter returns a punt for a touchdown late in the third quarter of an Open Division quarterfinal against Scottsdale Desert Mountain. That gave the Coyotes a 17-3 lead. Carter is the West Valley Preps overall football player of the year. (Courtesy Ed Russell Photography/For West Valley Preps)


Noah Carter, senior DE/WR/PR, Centennial - In some cases, Carter’s wide ranging numbers were a little better last year. Part of that is attributed to the fact that no player in the state caused opposing coaches to alter their game plans more, particularly offensive coordinators. Carter’s sack total dropped from 14 to 11, but every other category went up as the attention he drew allowed three new defensive line starters to get their bearings against single blockers. This year Carter was a more complete defender, holding up against the run better and causing a fumble. Carter was also far more of a deep threat this year, averaging nearly 21 yards per catch on 33 receptions, compared to 13 a reception on 27 catches in 2022. His eight receiving touchdowns paced the team. Plus he took up punt return duties this year and took two back for touchdowns, including the decisive score in the Open Division quarterfinal against Desert Mountain.

Runner-up: Kenny Worthy, senior CB/WR/KR, Centennial - If Carter wasn’t beating a team — which happened to every squad Centennial played other than Liberty — Worthy probably was. He was even more of a big play threat as a receiver, 708 yards and six touchdowns on 30 receptions. He scored twice as a quarterback in the Wildcat formation, most notably on a 92-yard run to begin the scoring in the Open Division semifinal win against Basha. That and 207 kickoff returning yards allowed him to pass Carter on the all-purpose yardage list. And Worthy was the best cover corner in the West Valley — and the heartbeat of the team that returned Centennial football to glory.
Second runner-up: Nikko Boncore-Montoya, junior WR/CB/PR, Cactus - Ironically, Boncore-Montoya is the player most likely to continue the tradition, as he announced his transfer to Centennial in mid-December. In his final season for Cactus, the two-way star piled up 92 catches for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns, threw two more and ran in another two. Boncore-Montoya added 30 total tackles, an interception, 599 total return yards and a punt return touchdown. The most memorable sight of his season? A full-body cramp after sealing an overtime win at Sunrise Mountain.


Navi Bruzon, senior QB, Liberty - The repeat winner had about the same season as last year ... on paper. On the field, Bruzon established himself as the gold standard all future West Valley quarterbacks will be judged by. Liberty worked in four new skill position and three new offensive line starters yet Bruzon helped Colin Thomas crank up the pace and the points all the way to the Open Division title. Liberty broke through as Arizona’s best team this year and the Lions had a great roster full of talent and size. But Bruzon provided the uncommon leadership qualities and the knowledge of the offense and brainpower to operate it at warp speed. Defenses couldn’t catch their breath or get past their base checks. And in the rare cases the Lions were challenged, Bruzon immediately took over the game. Hamilton took a 27-25 lead early in the fourth quarter of the Open quarterfinals and Bruzon led a scoring drive with his arm and legs immediately, then tacked on one more score to make sure. In the Open final, Centennial cut off the Lions screen game and led 14-6, only for Bruzon to answer with a 50-yard bomb to Ryan Jerzioro to start 27 unanswered Liberty points. This player and this team would no longer be denied.

Runner-up: Gage Baker, senior QB, Paradise Honors - Statistically, Baker is the best quarterback in the nation and it’s not even close. Most quarterbacks would love 380 completions for 6,045 yards and 91 touchdowns and 10 interceptions are fantastic career numbers. Some of those video game numbers are thanks to the offense josh Goodloe runs — or throws out there more like, with passes on more than three quarters of the plays. But most of the national touchdown record-tying season is thanks to Baker’s skills, precision accuracy and ability to give his playmakers space to run at all three levels. Forget attaching an asterisk for the quarterback that led the school to its first 3A state final. This guy can star against any level of competition.
Second runner-up: Braylon Gardner, senior WR, Liberty - After moving from tight end to wideout, Gardner quickly became the Lions’ No. 1 option. He put up huge regular season games against Hamilton, Pinnacle and Centennial in the slowdown of Arizona’s top two teams. Then in exorcising the semifinal demon against Highland, Gardner caught a huge 62-yard touchdown pass from Bruzon that put the Lions up 19-0 in the first quarter. He finished the year with 55 catches for 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns.


Deshawn Warner, senior, DE, Desert Edge - Since the summer before his sophomore year, Warner’s immense potential was well known among Division I college recruiters. Before he heads to the University to Kansas, his pass rushing potential came to fruition. From the opening defensive showdown at Centennial to the 5A state final, where he had two sacks and a forced fumble, until the 5A final against Higley where he forced his eighth fumble, Warner was a 6-4, 210-pound terror off the edge. He held up well against the run too, with 30 solo tackles in addition to the 16 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Toss in two interception returns and you have a game planning nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators even in comparison to his talented Desert Edge defensive teammates.

Runner-up: Iverson Small, senior, S, Centennial - The high-wire acts of Carter and Worthy drew more attention but the backbone of another elite Coyote defense was Small. The hard-hitting safety was Centennial’s leading tackler this year with 115, 67 of them solo tackles. He added four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 15 passes defended to cap one of the most complete seasons we’ve seen by a safety in the past decade.
Second runner-up: Keaton Stam, senior, LB, Liberty - The only returning starter for the Lions broke the new guys in with his leadership, but also led with his all-around play. His 64 solo tackles, 9.5 sacks and two interceptions and a touchdown return points to Stam’s versatility. He starred in both games against Centennial. His 25-yard interception return touchdown less than a minute before halftime gave the Lions a 16-3 lead and momentum they would not lose in the second half. Stam added two sacks in the state final and got to hold up the trophy he and his older brother, Jax, have chased for six straight years.


Ben Kullos, Kellis

Runner-up: Colin Thomas, Liberty
Second runner-ups: Richard Taylor, Centennial; Mark and Marcus Carter, Desert Edge; Josh Coodloe, Paradise Honors