Each week, we'll take an in-depth look at our All-State preseason football team and let you know how a few of those athletes are faring as the season progresses.
This week, we're going with a new and improved format. We'll highlight a blue-chipper (a first-team player), an OTP (other top player) and an under-the-radar pick (someone who didn't make the squad but is making a case to be on the team).
Blue Chip: Blake Martinez, Canyon del Oro, LB
After losing its first two games, Canyon del Oro has righted the ship and won three straight, and it's the versatility of Martinez that's really helped the team break out. Martinez made our All-State team as a linebacker, and he's still a huge part of the Dorados' defense. But it's what he's contributed on offense, lining up at both tight end and running back, that's helped CDO get back into the playoff discussion.
OTP: Marcus Farria, Centennial, DL
How's this for a stat — Centennial has given up 42 points this season, and of those 42 points, 28 came to one opponent. In the other four contests, the Coyotes' defense has allowed just 14 points, pitched two shutouts and caused one team to forfeit midway through, literally taking its ball and going home. Farria, a junior, has had a breakout season — he's already got 5.5 sacks on the year. Opposing quarterbacks are seeking him out on every play pre-snap. He's on pace to be one of the state's top prospects next season.
Under the Radar: Cam Larson, Saguaro, FB
Fullbacks don't usually make headlines. Neither do Saguaro players not named D.J. Foster. But Larson had a game to make fullbacks proud on Friday, catching three touchdown passes from quarterback Luke Rubenzer as Saguaro stayed perfect on the season with a 62-24 win over Cactus. Larson has 215 yards rushing and 215 yards receiving this season, and he's scored seven total touchdowns. And yes, we are excited for this weekend's tilt between Saguaro and Desert Vista. Look for coverage on Friday.