Queen Creek football players make Ed Doherty Award watchlist

Devin Larsen (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club has released its 2018 Ed Doherty Award week 3 watch list for the Arizona high school football season and three Queen Creek athletes made the cut.

Gunner Cruz (File Photo)

Forty-seven players from 33 high schools across the state were awarded nominee medallions based on their performances during the first three weeks of the 2018 season, according to a press release.

The three from the Queen Creek area include seniors Gunner Cruz and Zach Nelson from Casteel High School as well as Queen Creek High School senior Devin Larsen.

To be eligible to appear on the watch list, a player must have participated during games, recorded an exceptional performance and be in good academic standing, a release states.

Through three games, Cruz, a quarterback, has thrown 67 completions on 93 attempts for 1,152 yards, 11 touchdowns and an interception. He’s also scored three rushing touchdowns. His top target has been Nelson, who’s reeled in 27 passes for 417 yards and five touchdowns to help the Colts to a 2-1 start.

At Queen Creek, Larsen has thrown 56 completions on 86 attempts for 762 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions. His performance has helped the Bulldogs out to a 2-1 start.

Each week, a selection committee made up of members of Arizona high school sports media, coaches and stakeholders awards nomination medallions to players across the state, thus earning them a spot on the final list from which the 2018 Ed Doherty Award winner will be selected Saturday, Dec. 8.

Zach Nelson (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

“The Ed Doherty Award represents all that is great about high school football in Arizona,” Selection Committee Co-Chair Rob Yowell said in a prepared statement. “The increased profile of football talent in our state warrants highlighting the accomplishments of athletes vying for this award throughout the season.”

Fellow Selection Committee Co-Chair Ward Hickey said the goal of the watch list is to focus on how players perform in the first few weeks of the season, and to not compete with preseason lists.

“The committee fully expects players who are not currently on the list to rise up during the season to earn a spot on the final list,” he said in a prepared statement.

The Queen Creek Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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