Quarterbacks can’t take off with it in 7 on 7s, but Chandler senior quarterback Bryce Perkins had fun driving his team down the field, throwing touchdown strikes, leading the Wolves to the Arizona State passing tournament title on Wednesday night.
Perkins’ greatest strength is running the football. But he has been showing tremendous improvement as a pocket passer since leading Chandler to the Division I semifinals last football season.
Chandler beat Mesa Desert Ridge in the final.
On Monday, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, led by senior quarterback Garvin Alston, edged Chandler Basha by one point in the ASU passing tourney final.
Both teams are expected back at ASU on Monday when a full day of games will be played, beginning at 8 a.m.
“Bryce did really well,” coach Shaun Aguano said. “(Receiver) Justin Jan looked really good.”
Aguano said junior quarterback/safety Mason Moran also looked good. Boston College has offered Moran, who is being recruited as an ‘athlete.’
Jan, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, was on the receiving end of many of the 6-3, 215-pound Perkins’ passes.
Chandler ended up beating a Desert Ridge team that was without running backs Taren Morrison and Justin Irby by at least two touchdowns.
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“He looks like he throws on time; he’s not forcing things,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said about Perkins. “He threw some balls in good coverage by our guys and they’d go up and get it. You can’t defend that. He’s so athletic. He’s so good. If he’s not the best quarterback in the state I don’t know who is.”
Perkins has committed to ASU.
“He loves playing on that field,” Aguano said. “He’s an absolute solid commitment.
“He’s in great command now. His improvement has been tremendous. He’ll be a good quarterback. Again, he’s still a huge threat running the ball.”
On Monday, sophomore quarterback Ryan Kelley looked like he was ready to lead Basha into next football season as a passing force.
He hooked up with receivers Jared Schmidt and Doc O’Connor repeatedly for touchdowns, and nearly got the defending state champs in the final.
But Mountain Pointe quarterback Garvin Alston, a big left-hander who was a pitcher on the baseball team, is athletic with a strong, accurate arm. Coach Norris Vaughan is expecting good things from Alston, who replaces two-year starter Antonio Hinojosa, who also is left-handed.
Alston played a little in mop-up last season, completing six of nine passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Mountain Pointe is loaded again, especially with the addition of transfer running back/safety Tyrek Cross, a Wesley Payne-type player.
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“There’s more talent and speed,” Cross said when asked to compare the competition he left in Minnesota, where he was a top running back last season. “Everyone is fast here.”
Mountain Pointe will be able to pound the ball behind what Vaughan calls “the best offensive line I’ve had,” with Cross, Paul Lucas and Brandyn Leonard taking turns carrying the ball and tackle Nick Carman leading the way. Vaughan may use Lucas a lot at receiver next season with his incredible speed and skills.
Basha looks in good hands at quarterback with Kelley, who replaces Zach Werlinger.
Schmidt is coming off knee surgery that cut his season short last year after the third game. Schmidt was leading Bash in receiving before the injury. He said Northern Arizona has shown some interest.
Slot receiver Doc O’Connor will be attending Stanford’s camp this summer.
Basha has a strong secondary, led by senior Austin Williams and junior Lance Johnson.
New Basha coach Gerald Todd likes what he sees from his team so far.
“I’m excited about the things they did,” Todd said after his team beat Scottsdale Chaparral in its first 7 on 7 game at ASU. “The receivers I thought ran good routes. I thought we did great at safety and at the corners.
“This is 7 on 7. When we get on the grass in August, it’s a whole different world.”