Ty Thompson, who led Mesquite to two consecutive 4A state championships, capped off his high school football career by winning the 2020 Ed Doherty Award.
The award, often referred to as Arizona’s version of the Heisman, is awarded annually to a player who excels on the gridiron. Thompson joins the likes of two-time winners Bijan Robinson and Teddy Ruben, as well as former Perry quarterback Brock Purdy, who won the award in 2017.
“It means the world to me, it’s a huge blessing, a huge honor,” Thompson said. “It’s a testament to everything my coaches and teammates have put in and the hard work they’ve done supporting me. I’m just really thankful.”
Thompson thanked his family and others who supported during his acceptance speech, where he was joined on stage by Robinson, Purdy, the other finalists and Don Kile, the president of the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club – which presents the Ed Doherty Award.
“My family is definitely the number one people in my life right now,” Thompson said. “They supported me my whole life and have done nothing but make sacrifices to make sure I am as successful as I possibly can be. I’m very thankful for them.”
Thompson, a five-star recruit who signed to play for Oregon next season, capped off a 2020 season filled with adversity by throwing for 3,431 yards and 34 touchdowns. His pro-style ability helped lead the Wildcats to a 10-1 season that was capped off by a 39-38 victory over Cactus in the title game.
Eric Lira, a senior wide receiver at Mesquite who caught the state championship-winning two-point conversion pass from Thompson, was also one of 53 nominees for the award. The two were joined by head coach Scott Hare at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch Saturday for the award ceremony.
"He's put so much work in. I know there's so many guys with a lot of talent and Ty is a guy with a lot of talent, but really, he's cultivated that talent," Hare said. "Very few are going to understand the amount of time, the amount of hours he's spent wanting to be great. Not just as a thrower but as for whatever the school needs.
"There's so many other aspects to Ty than just being able to sling the football around the field. He's really worked himself into this position and that's what I respect more than anything else."
Thompson was one of five finalists for the award, chosen by a selection committee made up of members of the media from around the state. Chandler senior running back Eli Sanders, Boulder Creek senior running back Jacob Cisneros and Santa Cruz senior running back Hunter Ogle were three other finalists in attendance for the ceremony.
Chandler quarterback Mikey Keene, the fifth finalist, was unable to attend after enrolling early at the University of Central Florida.
Winning the Ed Doherty Award was yet another accomplishment for Thompson in his illustrious high school football career. Along with his two state titles and five-star rating, he was named to the All-American Bowl and named Offensive Player of the Year. He also received other All-American honors from Sports Illustrated and other outlets.
He now plans to head to Oregon, where he will enroll early and begin offseason workouts with the Ducks.
“I’m looking forward to the experience, the acclimation,” Thompson said. “It will be a big change with big responsibilities. It will be a whole lot of fun playing football with some good teammates.
“Hopefully I can bring home the real Heisman for Arizona one day in the near future.”
2020 Ed Doherty Award nominees
Zach Bennett, senior running back, Coconino
Treyson Bourguet, junior quarterback, Salpointe Catholic
Zion Burns, senior running back, Poston Butte
Caden Calloway, senior running back, Campo Verde
Dane Christensen, senior quarterback, Casteel
Jacob Cisneros, senior running back, Boulder Creek
DJ Gleash, senior defensive end, Centennial
Josh Grant, senior quarterback, Bradshaw Mountain
Zach Hammett, junior running back, River Valley
Carter Hancock, sophomore wide receiver, Higley
Logan Hubler, junior quarterback, ALA-Queen Creek
Luis Jaramillo, senior running back, Flagstaff
Kavaughn Clark, sophomore running back, Centennial
Brandon Craddock, junior linebacker, Sandra Day O’Connor
Max Davis, senior running back, Highland
Brock Dieu, senior offensive lineman, Casteel
Jace Feely, senior linebacker/kicker, Gilbert Christian
Logan Gingg, senior running back, Verrado
Joey Jensen, senior running back, Combs
Christian Johnson, senior running back, Greenway
Caleb Jones, senior running back, Basha
Mikey Keene, senior quarterback, Chandler
Adryan Lara, junior quarterback, Desert Edge
Gabe Levy, senior running back, Cienega
Eric Lira, senior wide receiver, Mesquite
PJ London, senior quarterback, Blue Ridge
Evan Lovett, senior athlete, Pusch Ridge
Nicco Marchiol, junior quarterback, Hamilton
Cole Martin, sophomore defensive back, Hamilton
Brock Mast, senior quarterback, Liberty
Matt McClelland, junior quarterback, Arete Prep
Kai Millner, senior quarterback, Higley
Hunter Ogle, senior running back, Santa Cruz
Steven Ortiz, senior defensive back, Desert Edge
Trey Reynolds, senior linebacker, Queen Creek
Jordan Richardson, senior defensive back/wide receiver, Moon Valley
Isaiah Roebuck, senior defensive back, Marana
Howard Russell, senior athlete, Phoenix Christian
Eli Sanders, senior running back, Chandler
Jake Schmitt, senior linebacker, Corona del Sol
Brayton Silbor, junior quarterback, Chaparral
Gavin Smith, junior wide receiver, Notre Dame
Quintin Somerville, senior defensive end, Saguaro
Richard Stallworth, sophomore quarterback, Yuma Catholic
Zach Sutton, senior wide receiver, Shadow Ridge
Ty Thompson, senior quarterback, Mesquite
Jacob Thurman, senior running back, Shadow Ridge
Bram Walden, senior offensive lineman, Saguaro
Seth Wiltbank, junior running back, Round Valley
Demond Williams, freshman quarterback, Basha
Jared Williams, senior running back, Chaparral
Mark Wren, senior running back, Thatcher
Nate Wright, senior running back, Prescott