We’re at that point in the high school football season when memories are made – and new entries are added to the record books.
There seems to be a two-week block as October closes and November begins when big things happen. Let’s call it “the Halloween effect.”
At this time two years ago, Rathen Ricedorff was capping an incredible career at Show Low High School, adding still another state record to his impressive resume. As October closed, the senior threw for four touchdowns in a 45-41 win over Payson High, which brought his total for the season to 96 and broke the old record of 94 that was set in 2003.
Ricedorff had already set the state record for TD passes in a single game the year before by throwing nine in a game against Chinle High, and also owned the 3A records for touchdown passes in a season (41) and passing yards in a season (3,014). He would finish out the year by also eclipsing the old record for TD passes in a season with 57 – eight more than the mark set in 2004 by Brian Wriston of Moon Valley High School.
And then last year at this time, Chaparral High quarterback Connor Brewer threw four touchdown passes in a 62-0 romp over Gila Ridge High School in the first round of the state playoffs to reach 94 and equal the record.
About the same time, a couple of rushing records fell. A couple weeks earlier, Joey Counts led his Desert Ridge High School team to a 63-14 win over North Canyon High, rushing for 403 yards to erase the previous single-game record of 380 that had been set three years earlier.
Add to that another first-round record when D.J. Foster became the state’s all-time leader in rushing yardage for a single game by piling up 508 yards on 20 carries. The prolific running back at Saguaro High School, who is playing major minutes for Arizona State this season, also tied a couple of state records in that game: 10 touchdowns that included three off receptions and he also reached 51 touchdowns on the season.
And now there’s another new state record, set just in time for this week’s spookfest. Bryce Kinsler, a senior quarterback at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, knocked off one of Ricedorff’s records when he threw for 235 yards last week against Shadow Mountain High School. That gave him 8,679 career yards and a new state record
Kinsler needed just 74 yards going into the game to erase the old mark and got that before halftime on a 12-yard pass to Matt Hartlen – one of 10 Hartlen pulled in on the night to give him 109 yards to help the Falcons post a 50-17 victory to end the season.
Despite Kinsler’s record-breaking season, Cactus Shadows finished just 3-7, due in part to a rash of injuries this year.
In addition to the new career record, Kinsler earlier this season added a new single-game state record when he threw for 639 yards – which also puts him in the top 10 nationally.
After following in the footsteps of some of the state’s best prep players, the 17-year-old will set a different course following graduation. He says he has no plans to continue playing in college, preferring instead to focus his efforts on a degree in business finance at one of Arizona’s universities.
Football’s loss may some day become Wall Street’s gain.
Of course, that doesn’t make today’s college recruiters feel any better about losing this one.