Antony Lucas is massive at 6 feet 6, 285 pounds, one of the most sought after defensive linemen in the nation in the 2022 football class.
But on Saturday at Fear Farm Sports & Entertainment Complex in Phoenix, during the Gotta Believe 7-on-7 passing tournament, Scottsdale Chaparral turned him loose on offense as a slot receiver and tight end.
His athleticism was on display in the biggest Arizona high school football passing tournament during the Memorial Day weekend with more than 0 teams playing on 12 fields.
Quarterback Brayten Silbor went to the big man often. And he was making big catches. Over and over.
Can we see the defending 6A champions utilizing Lucas this way when the pads are on and the games count on Friday nights in the fall?
“I’m going to go out there and help them out a little bit,” said Lucas, The Arizona Republic’s No. 1 recruits in the Big 150 2023 class. “I did a little bit last year, but I’ll probably be rotating in more this year.
“I like hitting people and scoring touchdowns.”
Coach Brent Barnes said that Lucas probably won’t be in the slot position much during the season. But in the 7-on-7s, he can use him all over to catch passes.
“He’s gotten a lot more athletic and he can run a little better,” Barnes said. “He slimmed down a little. He can really play that position at our level.”
Silbor loves having Lucas on offense.
“We’re going to use his big size, any matchup is great,” he said.
Quarterback in waiting
Phoenix Pinnacle has turned to senior-to-be Zach Wren to be its next quarterback after junior-to-be Devon Dampier transferred this spring to Scottsdale Saguaro. Dampier became the starting quarterback late in his freshman season.
Wren looked good Saturday, leading the Pioneers to 3-0 in pool play.
He fired a rope on the run that was caught by 6-7 Duce Robinson for a touchdown. Robinson is among the top 2023 recruits in the state. He believes in Wren.
“I love him,” Robinson said. “Spring ball he looked really good. And out here he’s looking really good.”
Wren is ready to emerge. It helps to have guys like Robinson, Myles Libman, Chris Cappellini and Baylor Adams.
“Best receiving corps in the state,” Wren said.
Chandler coach Rick Garretson led his team in the tournament Saturday, but he said “it’s hard,” coming out only a couple of days after run-game coordinator and strength coach Chris Chick died at age 42. Chick has been a big part of Chandler’s success, winning six state championships in the past seven seasons.
“It’s hard for me,” Garretson said.
Chandler could have pulled out of the tournament and everybody would have understood.
But Garretson said, “He would want us here.”
“It’s good for our boys to come out,” Garretson said. “They’ve worked so hard and so long to compete. (Mesa coach) Chad DeGrenier (the tournament director) did a great job putting it together. Everybody is here, because we weren’t here last year (due to the pandemic).
“It’s a blessing. (Chick) is upstairs watching us. I do know that.”
Garretson still is not ready to name his starting quarterback. There are so many to choose from. Ethan Moore, Blaine Hipa and Kenneth Cooper are among six competing for the job. They all looked good Saturday, throwing their share of touchdown passes. Garretson rotated a different quarterback each series.
“See what happens,” Garretson said. “They’re not bad.”
New coach, system
Phoenix Horizon tight end Matthew Klopfenstein, 6-5, 230, is happy with new coach Andy Litten, who replaces Ty Wisdom, who replaces Dan Hinds at Desert Vista as head coach
“We’ve been working really hard in the weight room and in our field work with sprints,” said Klopfenstein, who has offers from Arizona, Iowa State and Michigan State. “I’m loving what I’m seeing so far.
Klopfenstein said he’s not sure how different Litten will be from Wisdom.
“He just knows a lot about the football game, and I love it,” he said.
Thomas ready to emerge
Glendale Cactus, expected to make at the Open Division if not the 4A title, went 5-2 on the day with its only losses against Chandler and Hamilton, two of the best teams in 6A.
Wide receiver Chris Thomas Jr., stood out making played exceptionally well. Watch for Division I offers to come in soon.
“Chris looked amazing today,” coach Joseph Ortiz said. “Fast and can go get it. He’s about to explode. Already with one D. I offer.”
There is a chance that Ortiz could move quarterback Willy Galvan to slot receiver, and also play him on defense with his speed and athleticism. Galvan was the starting quarterback last year when the Cobras reached the 4A final and nearly beat Mesquite for the title.
On Saturday, Ortiz had Galvan at receiver with Braiden Lagafuaina and Danny Avila sharing time at quarterback.
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