Who’s going to wear No. 99 for Phoenix Brophy at tonight’s 5A Division I state championship is anyone’s guess, including the guy who’s supposed to wear it.
Brandon Bayardi was a key part of the Broncos’ championship run on defense last year, and the senior linebacker was on his way to being one again when he suffered torn tendons in his foot against Scottsdale Horizon in mid-September.
Part of a nucleus that includes standouts Trent Murphy, Adam Holzmeister, Mike Tree, Matt Padilla and Oluseyi Adebayo, Bayardi has been on crutches ever since, though he’s on the sidelines for each game.
His teammates have also rotated his jersey around the defense, with a different player wearing it each week.
Players determine who wears Bayardi’s number each week, though a decision wouldn’t be made until close to kickoff tonight.
PICK YOUR POISON
Chandler Hamilton’s offense is so balanced and the weapons so numerous it’s almost futile to try and key on one facet or player.
In its 13 games to date the Huskies have had four different rushing leaders in a game (Zach Bauman, Dante Alexander, Zak Hambsch and Michael Allen). Via the pass its been another quartet (Alante Wright, Drew Terrell, Ethan Kipili’i and Bauman) who have been the top yardage producer in a game.
The Huskies’ depth at the skill positions also protects them in case of injury. They’ve had enough blowouts to be able to get reserves ample playing time. Players such as Steven Hansen, Kiplili’i and Allen have stepped up in the receiving and running game, respectively. And backup quarterback Travis Dean is 33-for-51 for 430 yards and five touchdowns in limited work.
SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKTHROUGH
Hamilton didn’t return a kickoff or punt for a touchdown during the regular season. The Huskies have two touchdown returns from the kicking game in the postseason.
Safety Ryan Milus took one the distance on a kick return vs. Phoenix North Canyon in the first round and Terrell did the same last week in the semis against Mesa Red Mountain.
Terrell got a third less opportunities to return kicks and punts this year. Returning four (two kickoffs and two punts) for touchdowns last year may have had something to do with that.
It’s been a mixed bag for sophomore quarterback/safety Jordan Morgan this week.
He had surgery to repair injured tendons in his right (non-throwing hand) after taking a hit against St. Johns in the 2A state semifinal game three weeks ago. Morgan had a pin and several screws put in his hand, and hopes for a full recovery in 4-6 weeks.
He’s hoping it’s closer to four weeks because he’s also been invited to the U.S. Army high school football combine in San Antonio next month to showcase his abilities. By attending this select combine he would gain a possible opportunity to play in the U.S. All-American Bowl Game when he’s a senior.
Four Hamilton players have already given verbal commitments to play football next year at Division I schools. All are headed to Pac-10 schools. They are wideout Drew Terrell (Stanford), linebacker Anthony Jones (ASU), safety Ryan Milus (Arizona) and linebacker Rueben Robinson (Oregon State). Brophy defensive end Trent Murphy is also Pac-10 bound having committed to Stanford.
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