The search for Mesa High's quarterback is going down to the wire.
Coach Kelley Moore is patiently watching the candidates to take over for graduated Tony Gallegos, who passed for 1,492 yards, 13 touchdowns and completed 65 percent of his passes.
Difficult shoes to fill, to be sure.
The competition is between juniors Brody Skinner and Kyler Fackrell.
Both had the opportunity to call signals for the junior varsity a year ago.
Skinner was the starter when the season began, but an injury knocked him out the second week.
Fackrell, who was playing receiver when Skinner got hurt, was converted to quarterback and finished out the year there.
So who has the upper hand?
Neither at the moment. At least, Moore's not letting on if he does know.
"We'll wait until after the scrimmage (Wednesday at Phoenix Mountain Pointe)," Moore said.
"They are very similar. They're built the same. They run the same. It's a battle."
All that separates them right now, based on the roster, is that Fackrell has 12 pounds and two inches in height on Skinner.
Gilbert High coach Jesse Parker has decided that junior Brandon Bialkowski will be the Tigers' starting quarterback Friday when they host Mesa Westwood in their season opener.
"He'll be the first left-handed quarterback I've had start since I began coaching," Parker said. Parker began his head coaching career at Phoenix Camelback in 1969.
Bialkowski was the junior-varsity quarterback for the Tigers last season.
The Tigers suffered an injury last Friday to wide receiver Shane Matsen in their scrimmage with Mesa Dobson. Matsen has possible ligament damage to a toe.
Thrust into the starting job last year after senior quarterback Dan Hildebrand was injured in the season opener, Colby Kirkegaard performed nobly for Arcadia.
The sophomore completed 52.7 percent of his passes, led the East Sky Region with 1,364 passing yards and connected for 10 touchdowns while helping the Titans to a 6-5 record.
Kirkegaard knows the pressure is on to put together an even better season, but he welcomes the challenge.
"I loved it," he said. "I love the pressure and having the game in my hands. That's why I'm a quarterback."
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder spent the summer traveling around the country preparing for the season. He participated in six camps over the past few months, including two Elite 11 camps, and said his footwork and confidence are both vastly improved.
"I got a chance to look at quarterbacks who are better or the same as me," he said. "I kind of fed off what they were doing."
Local 5A and 4A schools that open their seasons next week will participate in scrimmages this week.
Those scrimmages are as follows:
Mesa Mountain View at Tempe Marcos de Niza, 6 p.m. today; Mesa High at Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Phoenix Central at Gilbert Mesquite, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Phoenix Maryvale vs. Phoenix St. Mary's, 6 p.m. Wednesday at Monterrey Park (across street from St. Mary's); Gilbert Higley at Phoenix South Mountain, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Cave Creek Cactus Shadows at Scottsdale Coronado, 6 p.m. Wednesday; Tempe McClintock at Scottsdale Notre Dame, 7 p.m. Wednesday; Chandler High at Mesa Red Mountain, 6 p.m. Thursday; Phoenix Pinnacle at Prescott, 6 p.m. Thursday; Queen Creek at Glendale, 6 p.m. Thursday; Scottsdale Horizon at Peoria, 6:30 p.m. Thursday; Mesa Skyline at Tempe High, 6:30 p.m. Thursday; Mesa Desert Ridge at Anthem Boulder Creek, 6:30 p.m. Thursday; Scottsdale Desert Mountain at Casa Grande, 7 p.m. Thursday; and Phoenix Desert Vista at Tucson Salpointe, 6 p.m. Saturday.