The Desert Ridge Jaguars visit the Higley Knights this week in our Arizona GameTime featured matchup on Friday, October 16 at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm CT..
These two schools are only 10 miles a part, but because of school size and division placement this will be their first meeting.
The Higley football program has moved from the 4A division to 5A and now to 6A in the last four years. With their close proximity, this matchup could turn in to another great Arizona high school football rivalry.
Higley is looking to rebound after a close loss to Casteel last week, 25-24.
Desert Ridge got their senior quarterback, Austin Kolb back in week two after he missed the first game due to injury and came out with a win against Mountain Ridge. They’ll be looking to carry that momentum in to this week.
Check out the Players to Watch ahead of Desert Ridge (1-1) vs. Higley (1-1) – Friday, October 16th at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm CT.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sr. QB Kai Millner, 6’2” 195 – Higley
Millner is rated as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the nation and No. 8 overall in the state of Arizona in the 2021 class.
The dual-threat has 2,739 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns and 469 rushing yards with nine rushing touchdowns in his career.
This season, Millner leads the team in rushing with 143 yards, two touchdowns and has 349 passing yards with three touchdowns through the first two games.
“What’s unique about Kai is how quick he gets rid of the ball and how well he understands defenses and what they’re trying to do,” Higley head coach Eddy Zubey said. “This year he’s been extraordinary in keeping drives alive either by throwing or by using his feet.
“When our protection breaks down, he’s able to extend the play with his legs and look down field for big plays or if he has to tuck and run it, he can. Understanding where to go with the football has been his biggest attribute.”
The pro-style QB committed to play for Cal in April. Millner was the former backup to current Golden Bear Spencer Brasch at Higley.
I want to thank God for the blessing of being in this position. I also want to thank my family, friends, teammates, teachers and coaches for all the support over the years. I am EXTREMELY excited to announce my commitment to the University of California Berkeley! 🐻 #CalGang21 pic.twitter.com/qHivrOzv8D
— Kai Millner (@kmillner5) April 9, 2020
Millner has also committed to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando on Jan. 7.
Sr. RT/DT Dante Smith, 6’2” 290– Desert Ridge
Smith is one of the Jaguars most reliable players, head coach Jeremy Hathcock said.
Last week, against Mountain Ridge, Smith had two interceptions in the 34-14 win for Desert Ridge.
The lineman holds offers from New Mexico, NAU, Northern Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico State.
Last spring, Hathcock tweeted a message to recruiters about Smith’s potential.
Listen up college recruiters. I’m not trying to say I know a lot about anything but Dante Smith our of Desert Ridge reminds me so much of DT williams from Clemson who just got drafted 13 overall. Only a Soph now. 6’2 280. Going to be a problem for offenses this year. Fired up
— Jeremy Hathcock (@CoachHathcock) April 26, 2019
“He runs a 4.8, 40 (yard dash),” Hathcock said. “He’s a freak of nature.”
Smith also wrestles for Desert Ridge and was the State Runner-Up in heavyweight last season.
Jr. DE Colin Kraemer, 6’2” 250– Higley
Kraemer leads the Knights in tackles with 19. In the opening week of the season against Mountain Pointe, he notched 15 tackles, three tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
335 with five second pause pic.twitter.com/xEaZ2gCGb1
— Colin Kraemer (@kraemer_colin) January 26, 2020
“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s quick,” Zubey said. “He’s making plays out there for us and we expect him to do the same this Friday night especially with Desert Ridge probably trying to run the football on us.”
Sr. QB Austin Kolb, 6’5” 225 – Desert Ridge
Kolb is a three-year starter for Desert Ridge. As a junior, he threw for 2,980 yards, 22 touchdowns with a 62% completion percentage.
In the Jaguars scrimmage prior to the season, Kolb sustained a second-degree tear in his knee and did not play the first game. He was able to recover quickly, however and made the start in week two.
— DRHS Jags Athletics (@dridgeathletics) October 10, 2020
Kolb came out and went 10-14 with 152 yards, two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the win against Mountain Ridge.
“Everything he has he’s worked for,” Hathcock said. “When you see him, he looks like a tight end, then he can sling the rock. He’s mentally tough.”