Hamilton QB Nicco Marchiol thanks former ASU OC Noel Mazzone after winning Doherty Award

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  • Noel Mazzone
    Noel Mazzone
    American football player and coach
  • Ed Doherty
    American football player and coach (1918-2000)

Chandler Hamilton senior quarterback Nicco Marchiol thanked everybody from his coaches to his family to his teammates to the entire state of Arizona after receiving the Ed Doherty Award on Saturday in Scottsdale.

He also profusely thanked Noel Mazzone.

Why the former Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA and Texas A&M offensive coordinator?

He's not the OC at West Virginia, which is where Marchiol is headed a in a couple of weeks to start his college journey.

"Him and my dad grew up in two small towns that are really close to each other," Marchiol said. "He made it out to the league (as an NFL coach), and he's just been a family friend."

So close that Marchiol said to the large crowd in the ballroom at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch during his acceptance speech that Mazzone was the only person he sought approval from after every game.

Marchiol recalled the countless zoom calls and tips he received from Mazzone, as Marchiol made perhaps the greatest transformation of any player in Arizona this high school season. He passed for Hamilton records 2,690 yards and 37 touchdowns with only two interceptions, a year after throwing for 1,400 yards and 11 TDs and seven interceptions as a junior in Hamilton's run to the Open final.

It was Marchiol's first season in Arizona, after he and his family moved from Colorado, where he was making a name for himself at Regis Jesuit High School.

Marchiol said he appreciated the tough love and corrections that Mazzone offered during his development.

"Nothing made me happier than knowing that I improved on just one thing you taught me," Marchiol said. "Coach, words cannot describe how grateful I am to you. You gave me confidence, motivation and preparation I needed week in and week out."

Marchiol was one of four finalists for the Doherty Award, which is given to the top high school football player in Arizona by the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club.

Quarterbacks Brayten Silbor of Scottsdale Chaparral, Angel Flores of Casa Grande and Richard Stallworth of Yuma Catholic were among the five finalists. The only non-quarterback among the finalists was Scottsdale Saguaro Athlete Javen Jacobs, who scored two touchdowns in the Sabercats' 20-15 Open Division state championship win over Chandler last week. Jacobs played receiver, running back and returned kicks.

"I think the biggest thing I'm leaving high school with is how big of a heart of a team it is to trust and love your teammates," Marchiol said. "I think that's how we got as far as we did. I totally trusted my teammates. That just comes with preparation and coaches and building that trust. I'm going to miss high school football and everything it brought."

Marchiol said he will leave for Morgantown in two weeks to start his college career at West Virginia, where he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job next season.

At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Marchiol showed a physical side to him in both of his years playing high school football in Arizona. A tough runner, he turned into a dynamic passer this year, showing off a strong, accurate arm, not afraid to pick up yards with his legs and to trust in his receivers with throws in tight windows.

Marchiol's mental and physical toughness were never more apparent than in the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman game, willing his team to a victory in the last minute after being down by 16 points.

He threw a touchdown pass with just a few seconds to play, before running into the end zone for the two-point conversion, capping a 17-0 run in the last 1:05 that was televised nationally on ESPNU.

Marchiol also led Hamilton to a tough, grind-it-out win over rival Chandler in the regular-season finale that ended the Wolves' 45-game winning streak. That bolted Hamilton to the No. 11 ranking in the nation by MaxPreps. Hamilton's only loss came to Saguaro in the Open Division semifinals, a game in which Marchiol threw two first-half touchdown passes.

"Even though we lost to Saguaro, we know we're not immortal," Marchiol said. "It was a very humbling experience. It was cool to be placed in all these tight-game situations. So we'll know how to deal with things later in life."

Past Doherty Award winners Bijan Robinson, Todd Heap, Zach Miller, Scooter Sprotte and Sam Salts were part of the ceremony.

Before it began, in the green room, those past winners offered encouragement and wisdom to the 59 candidates from across the state who were on hand, chosen from a selection committee throughout the season and given Doherty medallions.

"It's not as important that you did it, it's how you do it," said Heap, who won the Doherty Award in 1998 after a stellar career as a tight end at Mesa Mountain View, before setting records at Arizona State, and enjoying a long, prosperous NFL career, mostly with the Baltimore Ravens. "If you win the award, it's how you act, how you responded. If you don't win the award, it's how you act, how you responded.

"It's always in how you respond, how you work, how you do things. The answer is always in working to get to what you want. It's not getting what you want. It's working to get what you want. That's the answer to everything you want to accomplish in life."

Tucson Salpointe Catholic senior defensive end Davian Miranda Carrasco received the Impact Award by the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club for his community service.

Long-time northeaster Arizona referee Gerald Hancock was inducted into the Arizona High School Officials Hall of Fame for his contributions since the mid-1970s.

And Don Kile, who leads the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club and was instrumental in returning the Doherty Award to Arizona high school football, was honored by the Arizona Interscholastic Association wit the "great contributor" award for his contribut to high school football in 2021. That award was presented by AIA Executive Director David Hines.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Hamilton QB Nicco Marchiol thankful to Arizona after winning Doherty Award

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