Max Massingale Draws Manziel Comparison

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Max Massingale wasn't supposed to steal the show.

When Saguaro (AZ) traveled to Highlands Ranch, CO, to take on Valor Christian before a nationally televised audience last August, viewers were supposed to see star quarterback Dylan McCaffrey -- the next son in the line of succession for one of the sport's most impressive lineages.

Instead, the visitor's little-known signal-caller took the center of the stage. McCaffrey was good, but Massingale was unbelievable, racking up 178 yards on 16 carries, completing 10 of 11 passes for another 159 yards through the air, and accounting for four of Saguaro's seven touchdowns.



In June, the 5-foot-11 Massingale committed to Air Force -- where he would appear to be a natural schematic fit. In the meantime, however, the Sabercats' field general is drawing comparisons to another diminutive quarterback who scrambled to the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M.

"He's a Johnny Manziel-like guy," Saguaro head coach Jason Mohns says. "You put the ball in his hands and let him make plays. He can do it with his arm, and he can do it with his legs."

Indeed, he can. Massingale's dual-threat success against Valor Christian was no aberration. All told, Massingale completed over 71 percent of his throws for 2,291 yards and rushed for 1,012 yards in 2016, leading Saguaro to its fourth consecutive state title.

The following run is not rare for Massingale. In fact, he creates and makes plays like this so often that it begins to feel routine. It's not.



The Manziel comparison is an obvious one. Massingale bears a striking resemblance to the former Aggies star on film. But Massingale isn't a carbon copy of another player. His unique skill set is made even more unique by intangibles that are the envy of coaches everywhere.

"He's the perfect kid to coach," Mohns says. "He has a great personality and great demeanor. He's a tough competitor, and he's a great leader. He does all the things you want a kid to do.

"He's really the total package when you talk about both skills and composition as far as the kind of person he is. He holds himself to a high standard, and the kids respect him and play hard for him as a result. Our guys know that Max is going to give us everything he has. He's going to do whatever it takes to win."

Despite Massingale rushing for more than 1,000 yards last season, Mohns asserts that his quarterback was actually being restrained by play-calling that aimed to keep him upright as often as possible.

"We didn't even cut him loose last year," Mohns says. "After Max, we didn't really have good quarterback depth, so we had to be careful with him. This year, we have two pretty good quarterbacks behind him, so we're not going to bubble-wrap him quite as much."

Both revelations are unfortunate for opposing defenses in 2017. Last Friday, Massingale was dominant in a season-opening 41-13 victory at Tucson (AZ) Catalina Foothills, going 17 for 20 for 254 yards through the air and adding another 67 yards on nine carries.

"He's the perfect fit for our offense with his dual threat ability," Mohns says. "We love him. When we have a kid like him, we can really run our offense to its full capabilities."

On Saturday, Massingale and the Sabercats will travel to Henderson, NV, for a date with Liberty. The game is streaming live on FloFootball.

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