Higley 50, Mountain Ridge 14: Chilly Bowl Roundtable Review
Yesterday the Higley Knights defeated the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions 50-14 in the post-season East vs. West Chilly Bowl, orchestrated by our very own @JustChilly.
We had a large contingent of the #TeamAZV staff out at the game, and here were their takeaways from the action.
See Andy Silvas photo gallery HERE:
Who are a couple players that stood out to you, and why?
"Higley 2021 DE Stephen Louis stood out tonight, coming away with a sack and a number of QB pressures. As Zach Alvira tweeted, he was the last player to leave the field, stopping at the logo to take in the sights of the stadium for the last time. For Mountain Ridge, 2021 ATH Tyler Strow had himself a night. Not sure of his final stats, but he seemed to be the top receiving threat for the Lions. The entire first drive was his and the senior is capable of playing TE as well." - Andrew Morgan
"For Higley, Offensive Tackle Jacob Danielson looks like a really interesting sophomore. He’s a tall, big-framed young man who moves pretty well. Danielson did a nice job protecting Millner’s blindside. I think he’s got an interesting two years ahead. For Mountain Ridge, Running Back Jacob Kelley was another sophomore that stood out. He showed off his speed on his kickoff return for a touchdown and really was to key to the Mountain Lions offense moving the ball down the field, running between the tackles. Special shoutout to Mountain Ridge’s QB Brendan Anderson for taking a heck of a hit and walking off under his own power. That was no small feat after the vicious hit he took." - Sande Charles
"This is the second time I’ve seen Kai Millner play. I saw his first start last year against Bishop Alemany and last night his final start in the #ChillyBowl. The kid is a big time competitor on the field, and has had a great career at Higley. Super glad to see him have a huge night in his final game." -JJ Digos
"I thought sophomore Jacob Kelly had a solid game, despite Mountain Ridge's inability to move the ball much. He had the Mountain Lions' play of the game on a 95-ish-yard kickoff return for a score, and was able to make plays in the running game even when the Higley defense stacked the box. I think this game showed a lot of potential for him in the coming years. Higley senior Nik Reick was pretty much unstoppable for Higley. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who will write about him in this article, though, so I'll leave that analysis up to them" -Eric Newman
"- Kai Millner, 2021 QB, Higley - We all expected Millner to have several pass attempts against Mountain Ridge in the last game of his high school career. And, for the most part, we saw him air it out. Most of his passes were shorter routes than the long-ball we saw early on in the game but he was still efficient. He finished 27-of-34 for 271 yards and four total touchdowns. Not a bad way to go out.
- Truitt Robinson, 2021 WR, Higley - One of the top pass catchers for Higley, Robinson finished with a couple of touchdowns to end his prep career. - Branson Heywood, 2021 WR, Higley - Like Robinson, Heywood had a nice outing to wrap up his career. He caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.- Ian Seare, 2023 WR, Higley - Not only was he on the receiving end of one of the most wild two-point conversion plays I've ever seen, he racked up 91 yards of receiving and had a touchdown." -Zach Alvira
"Higley's entire offensive line. Kai Millner had so much time to figure out what to do with the ball that it's hard not to think of the entire unit as the true standouts of this game." -Ralph Amsden
What was your favorite part of the environment and events surrounding the Chilly Bowl?
"The pre-game hype and media coverage was nothing I’ve ever seen before. The team did such a great job covering all aspects of the game tonight." -Andrew Morgan
"I really enjoyed all the media support to tell the players’ stories and give them coverage; to highlight one game. Hats off to Zach and Eric for their multiple written pieces this week. Shout out to both head coaches for taking the time to speak with me before the game! I appreciate your time." - Sande Charles
"I felt that both coaching staffs and their teams were very excited to get one more opportunity to play this year. With everything that has happened in 2020 from a coaches perspective, to get one more chance to get another game in, and give their kids an opportunity to compete, you can’t ask for more. For the seniors, you could see many embracing one last chance to play together in a unique and fun environment. Shoutout to Chilly and the crew for putting this game together. And hopefully it’s something that we can potentially do in the future even bigger and better. Maybe an all star game Chilly Bowl?" -JJ Digos
"I would have to say my favorite part about the environment was how relaxed it was. Sure, the two teams wanted to be competitive, but overall you could tell it was more of a laid back type of game. And the hospitality toward media members from both programs was great. " -Zach Alvira
"Seeing my friends all come together to support Chilly's vision to find new ways to support the Arizona prep sports scene. It is such an incredible privelege to be part of this group of people and in a year like this one, it will go down as a true highlight." -Ralph Amsden
Kai Millner is headed off to Cal, and had a stellar high school career. What do you see in store for him at the college level?
"Kai Millner is a stud of a QB. Going off to Cal, he’s got a chance to turn the tides of the Pac-12 North and give the Golden Bears a shot at a conference title. The kid has a great arm with the ability to maneuver the pocket and gain yardage in a plethora of ways. One thing that stood out to me tonight was his leadership abilities. Millner has the character that every college coach wants on his team." - Andrew Morgan
"He’s dynamic both in his play and how his teammates are drawn to him. He’s going to be a leader. I could watch that quick release all day too." - Sande Charles
"I think Kai Millner will have a very successful career as a PAC-12 QB. This is a QB who has all of the tools. He has a quick release, with a nice and easy throwing motion. He's a quarterback who can make all of the throws. He's elusive in the pocket and he throws tremendously well on the run. Millner is a gifted athlete on the field, but his leadership and will to get better every single day stands out when evaluating him in person. I'm really excited to see him lighting up defenses on Saturdays in the near future!" -Cody Cameron
"I truly believe we see Kai become the next great quarterback from Arizona at the next level. Now, I don't know when exactly because Cal has Spencer Brasch, another Higley alum, waiting to take over the starting job. But Millner has the skillset to make an impact whenever his number is called." -Zach Alvira
"I was at his first varisty start, his first varsity playoff win, and his last varsity start. The progression is undeniable. I want him to be in a situation where he has the ability to learn and grow without being thrown into the fire, and I think that Cal is a perfect place for that to happen. He'll be surrounded by Arizona products, and they're likely set at QB through at least next year. When he's ready I think you'll see a solid Pac-12 starter, and if they get him the right weapons to go along with a running game, you might see a star." -Ralph Amsden
What was your favorite single play from the game, and more specifically which one of the two 2-point conversions Higley converted was your favorite?
"The play of the night was Kai Millner’s behind-the-back pass for a 2-point conversion. Millner really payed homage to former WWF wrestler, Mr. Perfect with that one. Talking to him, one of his coaches brought the play to him during the school day earlier in the week. After practicing it a few times, they planned to bring it out on gameday. Definitely was the play of the night." -Andrew Morgan
"I mean it’s hard not to love both 2-pt conversion trick plays. I loved the first which was the Kai over the head no look toss." -Sande Charles
"Special teams had a little bit of everything tonight. Higley had a blocked punt in the first quarter, and Mountain Ridge returned a kick off to the house to get back in the game early on. I know a lot of people don’t think very highly of special teams but it’s still 1/3 of a football game, and when you can mix some fun and creativity in to your special teams packages, it can create a spark of excitement for your team in any game." -JJ Digos
"Both were great, but the behind the back, no look pass from Millner takes the cake for me. Two fake handoffs followed by what many would consider a prayer of a throw. What more can you ask for in the Chilly Bowl?" -Zach Alvira
"I guess I'm the only super-lame person on the staff who liked the quick toss from the center to the up-back the most. I think the over the shoulder throw from Kai was a once-in-a-lifetime hilarious play, but the other one felt more practical, like it could be used in meaningful game situations." -Ralph Amsden
Are there any players from Mountain Ridge that you were looking forward to seeing play next year?
"I’m looking forward to seeing the lethal duo of ‘23 QB Brendan Anderson and ‘23 WR Derick English back on the field next season. This young Lions team has a great future ahead." -Andrew Morgan
"The aforementioned Jacob Kelley, of course." -Sande Charles
"Jacob Kelley for Mountain Ridge was impressive to me. Showed off great speed on special teams in the return game and was the most electric player on the field for the Mountain Lions. Only a sophomore, I have no doubts that the Ridge coaching staff is glad to have his explosiveness for two more years. QB #9 Brendan Anderson also has two more years left, and is one heck of a tough kid. Took a couple of vicious shots that unfortunately knocked him out of the game in the first half, but is an athletic kid who can sling the ball around." -JJ Digos
"Sophomore Deric English was out in this one, as he has been in and out of the lineup with some minor injuries all season. I think fully healthy, the trio of him, Brendan Anderson and Sam Thielen - all class of 2023 - will be a handful for passing defenses to try and stop. It could be as early as next year that they are one of the top trios in Arizona, with a full year available after. On another note, it makes me happy that Mountain Ridge has a junior on defense named Sergio Ramos, the name of arguably the best defender in the world over the past decade for Real Madrid in real "football." -Eric Newman
"Mountain Ridge has a LOADED 2023 class, many of whom did not suit up in the Chilly Bowl. Class of 2023 WR Deric English has a chance to develop into the best WR in the entire state in a few years. The 2023 RB tandem they have with Terrance Hall and Jacob Kelley will create a dynamic duo in the backfield for this Mountain Ridge offense for the next few years. Add Christian Aguilar and Sam Thielen to that 2023 list too, both of those sophomores will develop into very good football players. Lastly, I'm really excited to see how Sophomore QB Brenden Anderson develops down the line. I'm expecting him to have a MONSTER Junior year next Fall." -Cody Cameron
"I personally can't wait to see what Brendan Anderson does next season. Ralph mentioned it on Twitter and Instagram, but he has to be one of the toughest quarterbacks in the country to stand in the pocket and hang onto the ball after a monster hit by Colin Kraemer. That wasn't the first big hit he took, either. He has a bright future ahead of him." -Zach Alvira
"Brendan Anderson. He's a tough kid. I'd rather see him with a clean jersey and a chance to go to work than see how many times he can get up off the turf, but he really showed all of us he's a gamer." -Ralph Amsden
Are there any players from Higley that you are looking forward to seeing play next year?
"For Higley, I’m looking forward to watching 2023 OL Jacob Danielson. Standing at 6-4, 240 pounds, Danielson is an athletic and technical lineman." - Andrew Morgan
"Jacob Danielson, and Junior Running Back Colton Allen looked pretty good. He ran with toughness and showed a nice burst along with agility. Good looking player. " -Sande Charles
"The Knights have a lot of young talent that got a ton of varsity experience this year. 2022 DE Colin Kraemer had two of the biggest hits of the night and was a terror to the Lions backfield. 2023 WR’s Carter Hancock and Ian Seare will have to fill in big shoes with Truitt Robinson graduating. I’m interested to see who steps in behind center next year for Higley. 2023 QB Cash Merrell got a few reps in at the end of the game, is he potentially next gem in line at the Higley Quarterback Factory?" -JJ Digos
"I can't wait to see how much Nijrell Eason develops. He already made a name for himself on varsity starting at cornerback as a freshman, and he has the right mindset to continue to improve this offseason." -Zach Alvira
"I'm with Zach. Nijrell Eason broke up an absolute dime from Brendan Anderson right before Anderson took that big hit that knocked him out of the game. That was one of the most impressive and underrated plays of the entire game, and I'm looking froward to following his development." -Ralph Amsden