High school football players from around Arizona met in Scottsdale Jan. 9 to celebrate their talent and remember a tumultuous season at the 2020 Ed Doherty Award ceremony.
The West Valley had many of the 53 nominees, who received nominations throughout the season for their play in an outstanding single game.
Anthem Boulder Creek senior running back Jacob Cisneros, who scored a state-high 34 touchdowns for the Jaguars in 2020, was one of the five finalists for the Ed Doherty Award. He beamed looking around at all the great players, many of whom he played against or watched at some point in his high school football career.
“I’ve looked at all these guys’ stats, paid attention to what everyone was doing, watched film on a lot (of them) all year. To be here and be in the top five is amazing,” he said.
Gilbert Mesquite senior quarterback Ty Thompson won the top award.
While the Ed Doherty Award was given to individual players, many of the nominees felt their nominations could serve as a team award. Moon Valley senior defensive back and wide receiver Jordan Richardson said his Rockets, who went 2-5 and were far from playoff contention, did not receive a lot of press.
“The guys kind of told me that I feel like I’m putting on for Moon Valley, so I’m trying to represent them,” he said.
Desert Edge senior defensive back Steven Ortiz Jr. and junior quarterback Adryan Lara also were nominated.
The Scorpions went 8-0 in the regular season and reached the Open Playoff quarterfinals for the first time in team history.
“It was probably the most fun season we’ve had,” Lara said.
“For me, I’m leaving because I’m a senior, so this is one more thing for me to remember of this year,” Ortiz added.
The 2020 regular season was delayed and shortened to eight games, with a three-week postseason, and several teams and players had to miss games due to COVID-19. The circumstances getting to the offseason and to an award ceremony were gratifying.
“You see everyone here who dealt with this, and it just makes you feel like you accomplished a lot this year. I want to have another great season again so that I can be back here next year in a more normal year,” added Sandra Day O’Connor junior linebacker Brandon Craddock.
“It makes me so thankful that we got to have a season and that we got to the playoffs,” said Centennial senior defensive lineman DJ Gleash. “None of it was easy, but it was really fun.”
West Valley Ed Doherty Award Nominees:
•Jacob Cisneros, senior, Boulder Creek.
•Kavaughn Clark, sophomore, Centennial.
•Brandon Craddock, junior, Sandra Day O’Connor.
•Logan Gingg, senior, Verrado.
•DJ Gleash, senior, Centennial.
•Christian Johnson, senior, Greenway.
•Adryan Lara, junior, Desert Edge.
•Brock Mast, senior, Liberty.
•Steven Ortiz Jr., senior, Desert Edge.
•Jordan Richardson, senior, Moon Valley.
•Zach Sutton, senior, Shadow Ridge.
•Jachon Thurman, senior, Shadow Ridge.