High-SchoolFootball: Chaparral

The Huddle: Learning to be a leader

September, 12, 2011
Connor Brewer, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has been leading the way since his freshman year.Tom Hauck/ESPNHSConnor Brewer, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has been leading the way since his freshman year.
The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Quarterback Connor Brewer of Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) holds a 4.1 GPA and plans to go to law school. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has committed to Texas and plans to graduate high school this upcoming December.

Football players are tested each time they put on their uniforms, but as the starting quarterback for his junior varsity team three years ago, Brewer guided the Firebirds through an unbeaten season. He was rarely sacked or hindered from doing his job.

"As a freshman, I was kind of more a kid who led by example. With a loss, the team morale would have probably been down," Brewer told ESPNHS. "I wasn't the loudest guy, didn't get in people's faces, wasn't the outspoken guy, and wasn't necessarily the team leader who would kind of talk to you and tell you that it's okay."

Two games into Brewer's senior season that changed. His Firebirds have split games -- including a season-opening loss to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.).

"That was a good game to start out with and to learn from. It will keep us humble, so it's great to get that out of the way," Brewer said. "Once you get to the varsity level, you have to step up your leadership qualities. When your team is down, you've got to rally the troops. You've got to tell them, 'The offense is going to go out and score if the defense stops them right here,'" said Brewer.

Brewer said he has learned in defeat and has become more "proactive, accountable and vocal" toward encouraging teammates to do the same -- this, despite already having been "sacked a couple of times."

"You're a leader on and off the field, so when you get sacked, that's the time when you're talking to your linemen. You've got to ask what happened and ask what they're going to do to change it. You've got to take more of an approach where you're trying to make things better," said Brewer.

"You have to take the positives from a loss by learning and assessing what you did wrong and what you did well and you try to build on those things. Definitely being a leader has evolved throughout the years. Going from freshman to senior is like night and day. But with the hard work we've done as a team, I'm just happy to be a role model for my team that others can follow."

ROLE MODELS: Robert and Deborah Brewer, parents.

"They pushed me to the level that I've gotten to. They helped me training-wise, taken me places, given me the chance to be successful, provided me with the opportunities to play the sport that I love. Just my family being so supportive and helping me to become the person that I am today. Helping me with the college decisions."

Mr. Football USA Week 1

August, 30, 2011
One of the biggest individual honors a high school football player can receive is Mr. Football USA, the title bestowed upon the nation’s most outstanding player each fall by ESPNHS.

Below is a look at the top pre-season candidates in the chase for the 2011 Mr. Football USA. Every Tuesday during the regular season we’ll update the totals of many leading contenders as well as examine some of the new names that are emerging as strong contenders.


RB Johnathan Gray, Aledo (Aledo, Texas)

This week: Ran 26 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns, but was stopped on a two-point conversion with under two minutes remaining as preseason FAB 50 No. 18 Aledo was stunned by Stephenville 48-47.

Stock – Slightly Down: Gray doesn’t play defense, so his culpability in Aledo’s loss is minimal, but the two-time state champs losing their opener doesn’t help his cause.


ATH Stefon Diggs, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)

This week: Good Counsel opens its season with a big showdown vs. FAB 50 ranked Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) on Sept. 2.

Stock – Same

DE Mario Edwards Jr., Denton Ryan (Denton, Texas)

This week: Edwards, the top-ranked recruit nationwide by ESPNU, showed out in his televised opportunity Saturday night, recording two sacks and forcing a fumble that was recovered for a TD in Ryan’s 25-9 win on ESPN2.

Stock – Up: Edwards made plays and made the most of his showcase game. He’ll need to keep doing the same as Ryan plays better competition later in the year.

QB Bart Houston, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)

This week: Houston and DLS open Sept. 2 versus Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, Calif.)

Stock – Same

RB Alex Ross, Jenks (Jenks, Okla.)

This week: Ross will start his senior year this Friday night as Jenks opens with Bixby (Bixby, Okla.).

Stock – Same

RB/DB Shaq Thompson, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)

This week: Thompson ran for 120 spectacular yards and three scores, two in the pivotal third quarter before missing the fourth with cramps, as Grant rallied from 16-7 down at the break to crush Folsom (Folsom, Calif.) 43-16 in a matchup of two of the top teams in Northern California. The two teams split two meetings a year ago with Folsom eliminating the Pacers in the playoffs.

Stock – Slightly Up: The Folsom game and now this week’s test against Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) are Grant’s two major tests until the playoffs, and Shaq passed the first one with flying colors.


WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)

This week: Green-Beckham can’t control the level of competition, which was suspect Saturday night and will be all year long, but like Mario Edwards, he made the most of his spotlighted ESPNU-televised game. The nation’s top wide receiver caught 18 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns in Hillcrest’s 48-20 win over Seneca (Seneca, Mo.).

Stock - Up: His talent is undeniable and it had folks around the country buzzing on social media Saturday night. Maintain big numbers year-long and there could be a very strong case for Mr. Football USA.

Read More »

POWERADE FAB 50 Regional Scoreboard

August, 28, 2011
EAST Region Top 20
1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) season starts Sept. 10
2. Pittsburgh Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.) season starts Sept. 4
3. Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) season starts Sept. 2
4. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
5. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) season starts Sept. 2
6. Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) 1-0 def. Maryland Christian (Bel Air, Md.), 68-9
7. Allentown Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
8. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) season starts Sept. 2
9. Holy Spirit (Absecon, N.J.) season starts Sept. 9
10. Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) season starts Sept. 9
11. Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) season starts Sept. 1
12. Everett (Everett, Mass.) season starts Sept. 9
13. St. Anthony's (Melville, N.Y.) season starts Sept. 9
14. North Penn (Lansdale, Pa.) season starts Sept. 3
15. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) season starts Sept. 3
16. Piscataway (Piscataway, N.J.) season starts Sept. 1
17. St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) season starts Sept. 2
18. Martinsburg (Martinsburg, W. Va.) 1-0 def. Sherando (Stephens City, Va.), 7-0
19. Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Central Valley (Monaca, Pa.) season starts Sept. 2

SOUTHEAST Region Top 20
1. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 1-0 def. Prattville (Prattville, Ala.), 34-31
2. Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
3. Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 1-1 def. Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 70-6
4. Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) 1-0 def. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 20-17
5. Prattville (Prattville, Ala.) 0-1 lost St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 34-31
6. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) 1-1 lost Hoover (Hoover, Ala.), 24-13
7. Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
8. Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.) 0-1, next game Sept. 2
9. Cocoa (Cocoa, Fla.) 0-1 lost Colerain (Cincinnati), 17-7
10. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 2-0 def. Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.), 49-21
11. Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 1-0 def. Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), 14-3
12. Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) 1-0 def. Ballard (Louisville, Ky.), 68-0
13. Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.) 2-0 def. Alcoa (Alcoa, Tenn.), 26-19
14. Miami Norland (Miami, Fla.) season starts Sept. 1
15. Hoover (Hoover, Ala.) 1-0 def. South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), 24-13
16. West Monroe (West Monroe, La.) season starts Sept. 1
17. Alcoa (Alcoa, Tenn.) 1-1 lost Maryville (Maryville, Tenn.), 26-19
18. Daphne (Daphne, Ala.) 1-0, def. Bryant (Irvington, Ala.), 41-14
19. Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Plant (Tampa, Fla.) season starts Sept. 2

MIDWEST Region Top 20
1. St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 1-0 def. Glenville (Cleveland), 17-14 OT
2. Harrison (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 1-0 def. Cass Tech (Detroit), 43-7
3. Trinity (Louisville, Ky.) 2-0, def. Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), 66-21
4. Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.) 1-0 def. Warren (Gurnee, Ill.), 40-12
5. St. Xavier (Cincinnati) 1-0 def. Springfield (Springfield, Ohio), 30-7
6. Warren Central (Indianapolis) 2-0 def. Indianapolis Cathedral (Indianapolis) 27-24
7. Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) 1-0 def. Wheaton-Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.), 21-7
8. Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) 1-0, next game Sept. 1
9. Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.) 1-0 def. Fordson (Dearborn, Mich.), 42-0
10. Cedar Falls (Cedar Falls, Iowa) 1-0 def. Hempstead (Dubuque, Iowa), 49-3
11. Ursuline (Youngstown, Ohio) 0-1 lost Red Lion Christian (Bear, Del.), 54-18
12. Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.) season starts Sept. 1
13. Austintown Fitch (Youngstown, Ohio) 1-0 def. Harding (Warren, Ohio), 28-7
14. Canton (Canton, Mich.) 1-0 def. Walled Lake Central (Walled Lake, Mich.), 42-14
15. Joliet Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) 1-0 def. Carmel (Mundelein, Ill.), 32-31
16. Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio) 0-1 lost Moeller (Cincinnati), 14-0
17. Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) 1-1 lost Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.), 28-7
18. Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.) 0-1 lost Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), 21-7
19. East Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 1-0 def. Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 21-10
20. Iowa City (Iowa City, Iowa) 1-0 def. Dubuque (Dubuque, Iowa), 28-0

SOUTHWEST Region Top 20
1. Allen (Allen, Texas) 1-0 def. Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas), 28-13
2. Katy (Katy, Texas) 1-0 def. North Shore (Houston, Texas), 34-6
3. Euless Trinity (Euless, Texas) 1-0 def. Robert E. Lee (Tyler, Texas), 30-7
4. Jenks (Jenks, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
5. Aledo (Aledo, Texas) 0-1 lost Stephenville (Stephenville, Texas), 48-47
6. Pearland (Pearland, Texas) 1-0 def. Madison (Houston, Texas) 45-24
7. Union (Tulsa, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
8. Coppell (Coppell, Texas) 1-0, def. Horn (Mesquite, Texas), 20-7
9. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) 1-0 def. Westlake (Austin, Texas), 35-7
10. Denton Ryan (Denton, Texas) 1-0 def. Sulphur Springs (Sulphur Springs, Texas), 25-9
11. Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) 1-0, def. Blue Springs (Blue Springs, Mo.), 35-20
12. DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) 1-0 def. Leander (Leander, Texas), 43-3
13. Stony Point (Round Rock, Texas) 1-0 def. Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Monterrey, Mexico), 16-14
14. Steele (Cibolo, Texas) 1-0 def. Madison (San Antonio, Texas), 35-28
15. Lawton (Lawton, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
16. Lee’s Summit West (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) 1-0 def. Ray-Pec (Peculiar, Mo.), 49-13
17. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.) season starts Sept. 2
18. North Shore (Houston, Texas) 0-1 lost Katy (Katy, Texas), 34-6
19. Cedar Park (Cedar Park, Texas) 0-1 lost Westwood (Round Rock, Texas), 21-13
20. Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) vs. Central Arkansas Chrisitan (N. Little Rock, Ark.), Aug. 29

WEST Region Top 20
1. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
2. Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
3. Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 1-1 def. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.), 22-21
4. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 1-1 lost Armwood (Seffner, Fla.), 20-17
5. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) season starts Sept. 1
6. Mullen (Denver, Colo.) season starts Sept. 2
7. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) 1-0 def. Monterey Trail (Elk Grove, Calif.), 35-6
8. Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 1-0 def. Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Ariz.), 17-7
9. Bellevue (Bellevue, Wash.) season starts Sept. 3
10. Centennial (Corona, Calif.) season starts Sept. 9
11. St. Bonaventure (Ventura, Calif.) season starts Sept. 9
12. Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) 2-0 def. Alta (Sandy, Utah), 21-18
13. Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) 1-0 def. Folsom (Folsom, Calif.), 43-16
14. Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
15. Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) season starts Sept. 3
16. Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) season starts Sept. 2
17. Aloha (Beaverton, Ore.) season starts Sept. 2

18. Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) 1-0 def. Kellis (Glendale, Ariz.), 52-7
19. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) season starts Sept. 2
20. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 2-0 def. Mountain Crest (Hyrum, Utah), 35-14

Bishop Gorman overpowers Chaparral

August, 21, 2011
Why this was big: The showcase game of the Barry Sollenberger Classic pitted the defending 4A state champs from Nevada, Bishop Gorman, versus the defending 5A-II champs from Arizona, Chaparral. Both finished last year in the FAB 50 and entered this season highly-ranked, with the winner figuring to have the inside track to stay inside the top 10 and possibly creep towards the top five nationally by the end of the year in the POWERADE FAB 50. Gorman's 42-22 win is the program's first major triumph over a top team from another state.

What went down: After a back-and-forth, close first half in which Chaparral put together two long scoring drives and capitalized on some Bishop Gorman mistakes to take a 14-7 lead at the break, Bishop Gorman took complete control. Head coach Tony Sanchez's team came out in the second half and ran Shaquille Powell behind a huge Ronnie Stanley-led line and Chaparral had no answer for the physicality of the Bishop Gorman attack. On the flipside, the Bishop Gorman defense shutdown the high-flying Chaparral attack, holding Texas-bound QB Connor Brewer to an 11-for-26 for 197 yard passing performance and keeping the wraps on the dynamic Davonte Neal until a meaningless 82-yard touchdown catch with less than three minutes remaining.

Turning point: With 8:44 remaining in the third quarter and Chaparral still leading 14-7, the Firebirds jumped offsides as Bishop Gorman lined up to go for it on a 4th-and-2 from its own 47-yard line. Two plays later, Powell scored from 45 yards out and then Bishop Gorman recovered an ensuing onside kick and the rout was on.

Tom Hauck/ESPNHSBishop Gorman RB Shaquille Powell
Made a name for himself - Bishop Gorman senior running back Shaquille Powell: The 5-9, 200 pounder wasn’t a no-name coming in. After all, he rushed for 1,292 yards and 17 touchdowns last year and holds offers from ASU, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Fresno State, San Diego State and UNLV. But after a virtuoso performance in which he carried 30 times for 297 yards and five touchdowns while also catching three passes for 32 yards and a sixth score and even intercepting a pass on defense, Powell stamped himself as an early entrant into the ESPNHS Mr. Football USA race.

What it means in the FAB 50: Bishop Gorman has bigger games left on the schedule, including a matchup versus FAB 50 No. 9 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) next weekend as part of the ESPN High School Kickoff Weekend (Friday, 9 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2), but the Gaels showed they should be able to hold their own against any team from around the nation. While there won’t be any adjustments to the FAB 50 until after Gorman battles Armwood, consider the winner top five worthy and as long as the outcome is not one-sided, the loser will still likely be in the top 20. For Chaparral, the Firebirds will now attempt to re-group and shoot for a third consecutive Arizona state title. This game was their lone chance to state a case for a season-long spot in the top half of the FAB 50, and they could even possibly drop out of the rankings entirely depending upon how they show next week and how some other fringe teams perform next weekend when many other states kickoff the season. They can play better certainly, but clearly lacked the size on both sides of the line to compete for 48 minutes with a program as powerful as Bishop Gorman.