As Arizona high school football games kick off this week, let’s take a look at five players whose teams are dependent on their successes on both sides of the field
They hardly ever leave the field, are counted on to lead in so many ways with more responsibilities heaped on their shoulders than anybody else in the state.
As they go, so goes their teams.
They are the indispensable two-way players.
Here is the Fab Five of 2015 football:
Byron Murphy, Scottsdale Saguaro, 6-0, 170, Sr.
He is being recruiting nationwide as a lock-down cornerback, but watch how the Sabercats roll him out on offense this season. Murphy made All-Arizona last year at wide receiver and he was supposed to complement Christian Kirk on offense. Now Murphy sort of steps into the Kirk role, where Saguaro will move him around and get the ball out to him in space.
Isaiah Pola-Mao, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6-4, 191, Jr.
Last year, Pola-Mao made an immediate impact in the secondary as a long, rangy, athletic safety who finished with eight interceptions and a spot on azcentral sports’ All-Arizona team. This year, Pola-Mao not only will be back at safety, but a game changer on offense at wide receiver. And he’s got the quarterback, UNLV-commit Jack Smith, to get him the ball. Watch how Mountain Pointe takes advantage of his size and skills on offense, much the same way it did with Jalen Brown his last two years with the Pride in 2012 and ’13.
Roy Lopez III, Gilbert Mesquite, 6-2, 290, Sr.
Lopez, a state champion heavyweight wrestler, will do the grunt work this season on the offensive and defensive lines. He is being recruited by colleges on both sides of the line, and for good reason. He is as valuable on one side of the ball as he is the other. He has his dad working with him and he doesn’t take it easy on the big guy. Lopez’s motor is always going, and this will be his season to break out big on both sides of the line.
Arizona high school football preseason practices:
Isaac Steele, Peoria Centennial, 6-2, 180, Sr.
Centennial will have a few key two-way players who will make impacts on both sides, but Steele is their leader – a mobile, strong-armed quarterback who will be assigned to opposing teams’ No.1 receiver. Steele cherishes the challenge. He has made tremendous strides since his sophomore year at quarterback. His skills have never been doubted at cornerback, the position at which he could end up being a big-time college player.
FIND A GAME: Arizona high school football schedule
Justice Summerset, Marana Mountain View, 6-4, 170, Sr.
He is the man at quarterback, free safety and punter for a team hungrier than ever this season. Mountain View will be a challenger to the title this season, mainly because of Summerset. He can do it all. He makes plays with his arm and legs on offense. He is a tremendous presence in the secondary. If any hang time on passes, he will get it and he will take it back.
Reach Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert, Listen to the Which Wich High School Football Preview Show every Friday from 6-7 p.m., on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with Dan Manucci and Richard Obert.
10 Arizona high school football predictions: