From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Football Player of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Senior quarterback, Chandler (Ariz.)
Greatness Present: When star running back Chase Lucas went down with an injury early in Chandler’s 35-14 loss to USA Today’s No. 1 team (Las Vegas, Nev.) Bishop Gorman on Aug. 29, the Wolves might have been in trouble. But quarterback Mason Moran has stepped up in a big way for Chandler (5-1), which has won four straight games with Lucas on the sidelines.
In his last two games, Moran, a first-year starter under center, has thrown for 670 yards and seven touchdowns, including a 375-yard, three-score performance in a 47-14 win over (Mesa, Ariz.) Mountain View on Sept. 25. For the season, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Moran has completed 96-of-148 passes for 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions all while playing with a gash on his right (throwing) hand that required stitches. He’s also picked up the slack on the ground in Lucas’ absence with 456 yards and seven TDs on 52 carries.
Greatness Past: Moran was an all-state defensive back as a junior, recording 52 tackles and two interceptions for the Division I state champions.
Greatness Future: With the Huskies having already produced Arizona State’s highly regarded freshman signal-caller Bryce Perkins and with Moran drawing Pac-12 recruiting interest this past offseason before even playing a down under center, The Arizona Republic recently speculated that Chandler might be the state’s newest QB High. Moran has made a verbal commitment to attend Oregon State. The Beavers were one of the few programs to recruit Moran as a quarterback.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade State Football Player of the Year races aren’t over, and the National POY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for weekly updates on the top contenders making a case.