State passing record, big scores likely at Pinnacle tonight


History is in the making tonight.

Not only will fans at tonight’s football game at Pinnacle High School likely be treated to a display of high-scoring offense, but they will also get an opportunity to watch a state record being broken.

Pinnacle, located in the far north end of the Valley, will host Sandra Day O’Connor in a game that features two top-5 teams in the 6A Desert Valley region.  SDO (2-3) is sitting in third place behind undefeated Chaparral High and the Pioneers (4-1) occupy the No. 4 position.  In the overall 6A standings, Pinnacle is third and O’Connor is 19th.

O’Connor is a much better team than its record indicates.  One of the Eagles’ losses was to a top-rated team from Hawaii that they agreed to host for their third game on the schedule.  The other two blemishes on the record included a four-point loss to Basha High School, the No. 6 team in the 6A rankings, and a seven-point loss to Perry High, ranked No.5 overall.

And both teams have shown their ability to put up big numbers.  Pinnacle has played four local teams and averaged 51 points over those games (the lone loss was to a California team) and O’Connor has twice posted game totals of more than 50 points, putting up 68 points against Perry and 52 points in the season opener against Mesa High.

Much of that firepower can be attributed to the fact that the teams are being led by a couple of the top quarterbacks in the state.  Ethan Moller, O’Connor’s 6’3″ senior, is on track to pass the 2,000-yard passing mark, with 1,452 yards and at least five more games to play.  He’s also piled up 16 touchdowns so far this season.

But the signal caller who will have center stage tonight is Pinnacle’s Spencer Rattler, ranked by some recruiting services as the top QB prospect in the Class of 2019.  The Oklahoma commit needs just 28 yards to break the existing state high school passing record of 10,489 yards, set four years ago by Emanuel Grant when he was playing for Tempe High School.

Rattler has a special place in the hearts of the Pinnacle fans.  He has been their starting quarterback since his freshman year and now everyone realizes he is playing his final prep season.

Last year was a break-out season for the 5-star recruit, who has been on college recruiters’ radar since his freshman year, when he got scholarship offers from Arizona State and University of Arizona.  Since then, the offers continued to stack up, many from top programs like Alabama and Notre Dame, to name just a few.

He averaged more than 2,500 yards passing in each of his first two years and last year threw for 3,946 yards and 45 touchdowns.

This season, his Pioneer teammates are on a mission to give their nationally-recognized quarterback something he’s missed out on the last three years: a state championship.

Pinnacle was knocked out of the state tournament by Brophy Prep in the first round when Rattler was a freshman.  The next year, the Pioneers scored 42 points and still couldn’t get past the first round, losing again to Brophy.  Last year, they put 52 points on the board in the second round, but lost to eventual champion Chandler High – which scored 77 points.

This season Rattler will probably go into the playoffs with a state record on his resume, and get one more shot at a title.

Hopefully, Pinnacle won’t meet Brophy in the first round.  That has never worked out well for the youngster.