Brock Farrel Highland

Highland coach Brock Farrel is the offensive genius behind the Hawks' success.

The saying, “defense wins championships” has always reigned true, but great football teams play both sides of the ball and Highland football has a mastermind behind its offensive schemes. 

Head coach Brock Farrel has been all around Arizona high school football. He coached for Chandler from 2010-2013 and then Shadow Mountain from 2014-2017 before finding his way into Highlands program. Farrel has been with the Hawks for five years and is currently at a record of 40-14, with one appearance to the 6A State Championship. 

Farrel played quarterback at Liberty University in Virginia. Farrel believes that a lot of his coaching styles have come from his early mentors. He also believes that he has been able to help each quarterback he has coached. 

“Especially meeting Frank Rocco out at Liberty, he was the offensive coordinator at the time and then he became the head coach at Liberty Christian Academy … I coached with him after I was done, and he was a really big influence on my life and mostly how to coach teenagers,” said Farrel. “Every player is going to be different,” 

For Farrel’s last three years he has been able to work with someone very similar to him. Gage Dayley is a 5-foot-10 quarterback who understands the game. Dayley is small for his position, but Farrel does not fear that because he was small for his position as well. Not only are they both small, but their football IQ is through the roof. 

“We are both small quarterbacks which is funny, but we work well together,” said Dayley. 

Farrel found his niche in being an offensive coordinator while also being a head coach. Farrel enjoys being the play-caller, but he lets Dayley have freedom under center. 

“It is hard to be a play-caller and a quarterback. Gage is still a teenager, he doesn’t have to do the research I do yet, but I will sometimes give him two plays and he picks one based on what we learned in practice that week,” said Farrel. 

Dayley would agree with Farrel, as he believes that he has his freedom as a leader of the offense. 

“If we have a fourth and five and I call a play he rarely hesitates to call it,” Dayley said. 

Farrel has been side-by-side with defensive coordinator Jason Lyons for all five of his years at Highland. Lyons has had the pleasure of going against him everyday in practice and learning how his brain functions when play-calling. 

“Beautiful mind,” Lyons said. 

Lyons likes to describe Farrel as the main character of this 2001 film. In comparison to Russell Crowe playing John Nash in the movie, Farrel has a mind that works differently than any other offensive coordinator Lyons has seen. 

Farrel is a genius. He chooses to draw up plays according to each film session he takes part in. Watching film has always been apart of the game of football. Farrel takes this more seriously than most high school coaches. 

“He watches film an hour a day with the players,” said Dayley. “He is probably in double digit figures for hours of film watched a week.” 

Understanding opposing teams film allows Farrel to find ways to completely break down defenses. He likes to keep them guessing and every person in their system knows this. 

Lyons mentioned the pleasure of playing a, “22-man chess match,” each practice. 

“We will shift one tackle or one tight end and we will have the defense where we want it,” Dayley added. 

Farrel has the intelligence to completely dismantle the opposition. This comes from watching endless amounts of film, but he is gifted with more than a hard-working determination, he is genuinely brilliant when it comes to football. 

“The way he understands opposing defenses and the way he can line up our offense to get the look he wants the defense to show so that we can run a certain play is just mind-blowing with how smart he is with that,” Dayley said 

“A lot of coaches adjust their schemes year to year. Coach Brock will sometimes adjust week one to week three and week four to Week six… He can adjust play to play,” Lyons explained. 

     Coaching for many years, Farrel has learned what worked in his system and what does not. Farrel runs a belligerent offense. However, he does not run plays without thinking. Farrel takes what is given to him week to week. Whether that means he is pushing their running backs to run for 150 yards and two touchdowns, or he is calling for Dayley to throw for 300 yards with no interceptions.     

“His play-calling is aggressive for sure, but its calculated.” Lyons said.

Each year is going to change based on the Hawks roster, but that does not stop Farrel from playing the game how he wants to. Farrel is a risk taker, but he has the brains to do it.

Highland has seen its fair share of defenses, and it changes year to year. Though around Arizona, most offenses stay the same based on the head coach and offensive coordinator in that program. That is where Highland stands out. 

“We like to joke around, but I think over 5 years, Highland has ran 19 different offenses,” Lyons exclaimed. 

As every coach does, Farrel studies how the offense does each week. However, Farrel rates their offensive performance based on the players in the trenches and how they block. 

"I think we have one of the best o-lines in the state,” Farrel said. 

Farrel has been presented with a young team in the 2021-2022 season. His offensive line, is being held down by one senior, Cooper Stevens. Both tackle positions are juniors, as well as the left guard. Now one of the most important positions in football, is being played by a sophomore, Gunnar Riggs. 

“He gets the ball to the quarterback, every time,” Farrel said. “It helps he has a senior guard right next to him, so he does not have to be the vocal leader all the time.” 

Though youth is usually a factor in mishaps and tragedy, this Highland football team finds itself being smarter and converting more often than not. 

Farrel is the offensive coordinator and head coach, so he oversees both sides of the ball. He knows that the Hawks defense is what they pride themselves in. He knows that their schedule to end the year is gruesome, and though his strong suit is offense, Farrel believes his defense is what is going to hold them in the games where they go against high-powered offenses. 

The Hawks find themselves 6-0 on the year, but if you were to ask Farrel where they stand, he still believes they have a lot of room for improvement. 

Though Farrel is a coach and an offensive wizard, he is a man and a leader first. It is not all X’s and O’s and its not always about the wins and losses for Farrel. He cares about his team.  Farrel sticks his foot out for his players and will always preach to them, you become a man before you become a football player. 

“I am so grateful that he is my coach… he is just overall a great guy, to him its more than just football, football, football,” Dayley said. 

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