Thatcher’s Jones, Napier take Region Coach, Player of the Year

Photos By Steve Carter/Special to the Gila Herald: Thatcher head coach Dan Jones, left, and QB Brandon Napier, carrying the ball on the right, were named the 3A South Coach and Player of the Year, respectively. 

By Jon Johnson

PHOENIX – After finishing the regular season with an unbeaten record, the 3A South Region Championship, and overall 3A Conference No. 1 seed, Thatcher head coach Daniel Jones and quarterback Brandon Napier have been named the 3A South Region Coach and Player of the Year, respectively. 

3A South Coach of the Year – Daniel Jones

In his third year at the helm of the Thatcher Eagles, head coach Daniel Jones has his team poised to make a run for the state championship. The Eagles defeated Valley Christian on Friday, 56-35, to move into the semifinals against No. 4 Show Low. 

3A South Player of the Year – Brandon Napier

The standout senior wears many hats for the No. 1 ranked Eagles, including leading the helm as its quarterback as its last line of defense in the backfield. 

Napier is a dual/threat quarterback who can chuck it downfield but more often than not feels for openings and scrambles for big plays.

Photo By Steve Carter/Special to the Gila Herald: Brandon Napier completes a pass during a 35-7 win over Sabino earlier in the season. Napier was selected as the 3A South Region Player of the Year.

Rounding out the main all-region awards was Cameron Hackworth, of Sabino, for Offensive Player of the Year, and Tyler Mustain, of Pusch Ridge, for Defensive Player of the Year.   

3A South All-Region 1st Team: 

Koye Farris (defensive back), Jacob Rasumussen (defensive lineman), Jackson Conrad (defensive lineman), Brett Jones (linebacker), Scott Ambler (offensive lineman), Derek Cameron (offensive lineman), Kody Bingham (punt returner), Ayden Bingham (running back) – Thatcher; Chris Shatto (receiver) – Safford. 

3A South All-Region 2nd Team:

Christian Carter (defensive back), Tyler Swapp (defensive lineman), Zachary Salazar (defensive lineman), Hunter Saline (defensive utility/flex), Kody Bingham (kickoff returner), Damien Oriero (running back) – Thatcher; Brenden Gunnett (defensive lineman), Anthony Garrobo (linebacker), Tanner Emery (offensive lineman)Aidan Arbizo (offensive lineman), Chris Shatto (punt returner), Monster Rios (running back) – Safford. 

Honorable Mention: 

Carter Bryce, Koen Henry, Daniel Jones, Bryce Larson, Tanner Rios, Gavin Rogers, Conner Woods – Thatcher; Brandon Aguilar, Carlos Arbizo, Bernardo Carrillo, Micah Chaplin, Michael Chavez, Noah Dominguez, Cole Goodman, Collin Gunnett, Noah Paul, Jojo Ruelas, Trever Sanchez, Zayden Sanchez, Brigham Tobias, Sylis Welchman – Safford.