By Brett Manney
1. Jake Heaps, Jr., QB, Skyline Spartans (WA): Heaps was the catalyst for the two-time defending Class 4A state champions. The 6-2 195-pound junior signal-caller piled up the hardware this season, including Gatorade state player of the year and a commitment to the 2010 U.S. Army All-American game. In 2008, the strong-armed Heaps threw for 2,888 yards and 38 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Perhaps the most impressive stat on his resume is his 28-0 record and two state championships as quarterback. Regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in his class, Heaps will have a long list of colleges to choose from when he makes his decision sometime before the '09 season.
2. Jesse Parker, Head Coach, Gilbert Tigers (AZ): Parker made history on Oct. 24 when Gilbert defeated Gilbert Highland 21-0. The game gave Parker his 309th overall win, which made him the winningest coach in Arizona state history. However, because the Tigers failed to win another game after that, Parker is now tied with current Tucson Amphitheater head coach Vern Friedli at 309 victories each. Parker resigned as football coach in early December and hopes to still coach but his future is still up in the air.
3. James Boyd, Sr., QB/DE, Jordan Bulldogs (Calif.):
The ultra-athletic Boyd was a nightmare for opposing coaches all season long. The 6-5, 225-pound dual threat was virtually unstoppable at times. The USC recruit led the state with 4,266 yards passing and 44 touchdowns. Yet he is recruited to play defensive end where he had 104 tackles and eight sacks for Jordan. The Los Angeles City Section player of the year hopes to continue his success next year as a Trojan.
4. Adam Hall, Sr., WR/RB, Tucson Palo Verde Titans (AZ): The Arizona Republic state player of the year was a jack of all trades this season. The natural 6-5, 205-pound wide receiver converted tailback rushed for 25 touchdowns and caught five on offense. On defense -- where he played four different positions -- he returned three interceptions for touchdowns and one fumble for a touchdown. And on special teams, he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and one punt for a touchdown. His 38 total touchdowns make his achievements even more special. Still undecided on college, the stud athlete should have his pick of the litter when he makes his mind up.
5. Timpville Thunderbirds (Utah): They completed their second undefeated season and their third straight state championship in '08. The Thunderbirds' last two games were won by a combined eight points, but the squad still found a way to win the Class 4A championship. The dominant Thunderbirds scored fewer than 30 points just once back in week one and continued their reign in Utah while establishing a dynasty. With a 36-game winning streak, the Thunderbirds head into '09 with a target on their backs.
To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.