By Kevin Cloe
Junior running back/defensive back Bryson Alder and senior offensive and defensive lineman Wyatt Grantham both earned double recognition and were joined by junior offensive utility/flex player Clay Watson as Wickenburg High School football team representatives on the 3A West Region all-region first teams selected by the region’s head coaches.
Alder, who started the season as the Wranglers’ quarterback and later was moved to running back, rushed for 1,002 yards as the third-leading ball carrier among the six teams in the region. As the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, Alder completed 17 of his 57 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. His rushing totals at both quarterback and running back amounted to 161 carries for the 1,002 yards — or 6.2 yards per carry, 111 yards per game and nine touchdowns. As a running back, he also hauled in four pass receptions out of the backfield for 49 yards. He amassed 1,280 total offensive yards during the season.
Alder also was recognized as a first-team defensive back after intercepting seven passes to lead the entire 39-team 3A Conference in that category. He also was involved in 52 tackles (21 solos and 31 assists) while recording four pass deflections and one fumble recovery.
Grantham was recognized for his work on both sides of the line of scrimmage — providing protection for his quarterbacks and/or blocking for his ball carriers on the offense. Defensively, he was the third-leading tackler of quarterbacks in the region with his 6.5 sacks during the regular season. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound tight end and defensive end was involved in 71 tackles — second best on the team — averaging 7.9 per game with 27 solos and 44 assists — and also deflected two of his opponents’ passes.
Watson was a selection on the all-region offensive first team as a utility/flex player due to his versatility. Most of his work on the offense was as a pass receiver, catching five passes for 111 yards and one touchdown on a team that focused primarily on a running game.
Watson, though, also received double recognition by being placed on the defensive all-region second team as a linebacker, where he led the Wranglers with 77 tackles (16 solos and 61 assists for a 9.6-tackle average per game), He also had one fumble recovery.
Junior Jett Uldrikson earned double recognition on the second team as both an offensive and defensive lineman. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound center/guard and defensive end was credited with 35 tackles (9 solos and 26 assists) while playing in only seven of the team’s nine games this season.
Joining Watson and Uldrikson on the all-region second team representing the Wranglers were sophomore defensive back Calogero “Ro” DiCamillo, who also ended up as the team’s starting quarterback, and senior utility player Michael Flinn, whose 58 tackles (22 solos and 36 assists) were the third highest on the team. He also had one pass interception and one fumble recovery as a defensive back.
Wranglers who earned Honorable Mention status included senior offensive lineman Juan Estrada, senior running back Tyler Ness, sophomore defensive lineman Kade Roberts and sophomore defensive lineman Korbyn Dowdy.
The Wranglers finished third in the 3A West Region standings with a 2-2 record behind defending region and state champion Northwest Christian and River Valley while ending the full season with a 4-5 mark.
The coaches selected Cameron Adams, wide receiver and defensive back from region champion Northwest Christian as the 3A West Player of the Year.
Northwest Christian running back Austin Young was chosen the 3A West Offensive Player of the Year, while Chino Valley’s Trevor Gianfrancesco was named the region’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The 3A West Region Coach of the Year honor went to River Valley’s Jonathan Adams after the 2014 state champion and 2015 state quarterfinalist Dust Devils finished second to Northwest Christian and returned to the state playoffs after a two-year absence.