THE WOODY REPORT #4
The West Valley Region has traditionally been one of the state's top producers of individual talent, with the likes of Randall McDaniel, Jon Stoner, Mike Bell, and Lamar Baker, among others, as well as some of 4A's all-time great teams. This year, the West Valley Region looks to produce a team in the state semis for the first time since 1999, and have a team make a state final trip for the first time since 1998:
- MILLENNIUM TIGERS- The Tigers shocked the state prep scene last year by winning the West Valley Region over preseason favorites Agua Fria and Buckeye, capping their season with a first round upset of Catalina Foothills and a near quarterfinal upset of eventual state champ Sunnyside. Former coach Ron Frank left for Texas, but new coach Chuck Horn returns talented veterans like running backs Taryll Galloway and Chazz Miles (both 1,000-yard contributors) and two-year starting quarterback Regan McCarthy.
- TOLLESON WOLVERINES- If Tolleson's defense improves from last year's poor showing, watch out. With 2,000-yard rusher Marcus Thomas returning, the Wolverines have an all-state candidate on both sides of the ball, and all-region picks Levi Brooks (6-4, 225) and Gabino Hinojosa look to help the defense improve.
- AGUA FRIA OWLS- These guys remind me a lot of Centennial-no matter how inexperienced they are, they're always big and fast. The "big" for Agua Fria is filled by guys like Steve Ayala (6-2, 298) and Drew Hopkins (6-3, 268), both all-region picks on the offensive line; the "fast" could be filled by the likes of Corey Kinchion, a junior track star expected to contribute to the Owls' rebuilding process.
- MOHAVE THUNDERBIRDS- Don't let the 1-9 record fool you-the T-birds were competitive in all but one game, and aren't content to returning back to the league's doormat. Tristan Green, a returning all-region running back, could be the best back on the Colorado, while guys like Chris Johnson and Jacob Fowles give Mohave a good start on the line.
- DYSART DEMONS- Whenever a team returns its starting quarterback, they're off to a good start. In junior Paul Martinez, the Demons might have the region's next great signal caller. With two honorable mention backs returning, Dysart could have the most surprising offenses in the region.
- BUCKEYE HAWKS- An all-westside pick by the West Valley View as a junior, senior Nathan "Pappy" Bolden switches from running back to quarterback-he's one of the best thinking players out there. Big guys like Jake Sanders (6-4, 285) give Buckeye hope in the trenches.