Chaparral vs. Liberty: What You Need to Know

Chaparral (7-2) takes on Liberty (6-3) this Friday in the final game of the regular season.

Chaparral is coming off a huge win against Pinnacle last week. The Pioneers had not lost to an Arizona team this season, but the dynamic duo of Firebirds’ quarterback Jack Miller and wide receiver Tommy Christakos couldn’t be contained and Chaparral got the win 28-21.

Miller and Christakos have just recently gotten in their rhythm for the 2019 season after Miller missed all of September with a shoulder injury.

“He’s alright, only kinda makes my job easier,” Christakos joked about having Miller back. “I’m kidding. We have a blast out there, wouldn’t want to have anyone other than him throwing me the ball.”

Chaparral has been missing key pieces of their roster all year. They will be healthier this Friday against the Lions, but will still be without some key players to finish the season.

Check out the players to watch ahead of Friday’s matchup. Kick-off is at 7pm PT/10pm ET on YurView AZ and yurview.com/live.

LAST TIME THEY MET

Liberty got the win last season 51-21. Brock Mast had a big game for the Lions in his sophomore campaign passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 23 yards and three touchdowns.

Miller missed this game because of a knee injury. It was the first Varsity action that then-freshman quarterback Brayten Silbor saw for the Firebirds. He completed five of seven attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Silbor stepped up big for the Firebirds this season in Miller’s absence. In five games, Silbor passed for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“We knew what he was capable of, but even still the growth that he had from then (Liberty) until this year was huge,” Chaparral head coach Brent Barnes said. “What he did in the time that he was out there was really impressive.”

The Firebirds will have Miller back under center this year against the Lions, but know if needed, they have a reliable player in Silbor.

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Sr. QB Jack Miller, 6’4” 205 – Chaparral

Miller is committed to play at Ohio State next year. He is rated as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 5 overall player in Arizona by Rivals.

While he was out with a shoulder injury in September, Miller said he learned to see the game from a different perspective and believes it has helped him in his return.

“I feel like I’m better than I was before I got hurt,” Miller said. “I feel like coaching up Brayten (Silbor) and looking at everything he did helped me a lot too.”

In his three games back, Miller has tallied 729 yards and seven touchdowns. Last week’s game against Pinnacle was his best game in over a year.

“We put it all out on the field on Friday night,” Miller said of the Pinnacle win. “The execution was there, we still need to clean up a few things and get off to quicker starts, but we got it rolling and we couldn’t get stopped.”

Sr. OG Frank Thompson, 6’3” 285 – Liberty

Thompson is a Top 100 offensive guard in the country and is rated as the No. 38 player in the state of Arizona by 247Sports. The 6’3″ 285 pound guard committed to play at ASU this past summer.

“He’s got good feet and good hands,” Liberty head coach Mark Smith said. “He’s extremely strong, he’s a large individual and he loves the game of football.”

Sr. WR Tommy Christakos, 6’4” 210 – Chaparral

Christakos missed the first three games of the season with a hip flexor injury. He began easing back into things in Chaparral’s game against rival Saguaro.

“Each week I’ve stepped it up more mentally and physically,” Christakos said. “I’m 100% and I know this team is 100% after a win like that last Friday (Pinnacle). We’re just ready to carry that momentum on to the playoffs.”

The wide receiver is committed to play at Cal next year. He is rated as the No. 43 receiver in the country and No. 23 overall in the state by 247Sports.

“I visited (Cal) for the North Texas game a couple months ago and felt the same vibes that I did on my official, welcomed at home,” Christakos said. “I have a great relationship with all of the coaches and I hope I can step in there early and make an impact for the team.”

With Christakos and Miller both healthy and back in the groove, keep an eye on this duo to have another big game on Friday against Liberty and into the playoffs.

Sr. LB Isaiah Pittman 5’11” 180 – Liberty

Pittman leads the Lions in tackles for loss with 13. He has 47 total tackles, 28 solo.

“Isaiah is such a coachable kid,” Smith said. “(He’s) a heck of an athlete. He plays the game with great passion. He’s really come in to his own this year and made a name for himself. He plays every down for us, never comes off the field on defense. He can do a lot of different things.”

You can catch the action LIVE on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET on Cox (Ch. 1004 PHX, Ch. 1007 Tucson) or at yurview.com/live.