5A1 Central Region Preview

24-7Football.com kicks off region preview this week and we start with the 5A Central. We include a complete breakdown, the top returning players, do an all region team and pick a player of the year.

5A1 Central Region




This region will be tougher then most people will give it credit for. Three of the four teams made the playoffs last year and the one that didn't (Mt. Pointe) had a chance if they wouldn't have lost two of their last three games. I think this region could go a number of different ways and definitely will go down to week 10 to decide the region champion.




1. Desert Vista

2. Basha

3. Corona del Sol

4. Mountain Pointe




Desert Vista- I might take some flack for picking the Thunder as my preseason favorite but let me explain my thought process. DV went 7-5 last year and many have said they have underachieved in recent years. Take this into consideration; they went 7-5 with 31 of their 52 players being underclassmen. That means Coach Hinds has a battle tested group capable of doing some big things. It also means that they return those 31 players that include division-one talents DE Devon Kennard, WR Allante Battle, WR Luke Matthews and TE Steve Figueroa. Throw in Mt. Pointe transfer Zeb Togiai and you have a formidable core group of players.


The Thunder's 7-5 finish included 8 of their 12 opponents making the playoffs (6 of 10 in the regular season), four of those games were decided by 14 points or less, so a couple of breaks here or there could have led to a much better season. Some things DV has is speed and talent, no one will deny that. If they can find a QB to replace Mark Lund, they could be very good. I call for a breakout season from DV this year.


Key Losses: RB John Trujillo, K Jordan Litke, QB Mark Lund, DB Avory Battle, OL/DL Steve Lambe, OL Jeff Melrick, RB Mario Abbadessa, WR Brian St. Cyr, DL Tyler McClellan, DL Robbie Peterson, DL Matt McGuire


Key Returners: WR Allante Battle, WR Luke Matthews, DE Devon Kennard, TE Steve Figueroa, DL Zeb Togiai, P Brock Jolly, LB Mike Sadoway, RB Chris Jones, OL Connor Wilson, LB Mason Stanley, DB Cole Pembroke


Basha- Don't get me wrong, Basha was a very good football team last year and will be good again this year. The Bears had a lot of close calls go their way last year and it will be tough to repeat their performance again. Examples: Of their 11 wins, 7 were decided by 14 points or less, 9 of their 14 games were decided by 14 points or less, they scored 14 points or less 8 times, meaning their defense kept them in a lot of games. That defense took heavy losses including their man in the middle Kyle Flannery and sack master Joe Frias. They return only 25 of 58 players from last year's roster not including Hamilton transfer Quinn Evans. The Bears are very well coached and do return a solid group of players including QB Troy Graham and a massive o-line that includes center John Fontes and tackles Stave Sabin and Trevor Bingham. I am not calling for a down year for Basha, just stating that it will be tough to win 11 games again this year.


Key Losses: LB Kyle Flannery, DE Joe Frias, OL Adam Benjamin, WR JD Blake, RB Matt Baldenegro, OL Chris Gardner, RB Will Ewing, TE/LB Steve Yena, TE Braiden Seiver, WR Greg Freeman, DL Rudy Perez, DL Nick Hartung, DB/K Logan Myers, DB Mike Malone, DE Kodi Otero, DL Nate Ervin, LB Will Craghead, DB Erroll Tucker


Key Returners: OL John Fontes, OL Steve Sabin, QB Troy Graham, DB Ra'Shad Mason, CB Quinn Evans, P Colby Denton, OL Trevor Bingham


Corona del Sol- Corona quietly went 7-3 last year in the regular season with two of those losses being by 7 points or less to two playoff teams (St. Mary's and Desert Vista). They lose 21 of the 41 players off of last year's roster, the biggest possibly being LB Corey Benson. They might return the most experienced secondary in the entire state with Elijah Chaing, Lucas Starkey, Alex Tripp and Eric Benson all getting all region nods last year. RB JR Hamm and OL/DL Trevor Stapp are two of the region's top performers at their respective positions. The group they return is solid and battle tested with over half of last year's opponents making the playoffs. The Aztecs could surprise some people in this region, don't sleep on them.


Key Losses: QB/K Gavin Rodriguez, TE Justin Kelly, WR/DB/P David Coxe, QB Ryan Howard, RB Donovan Connor, RB/DL Scott Orr, OL/DL Ryan Kelly, OL/DL Bill Kirgis, WR Josh Lange, DL Drew VanderWerf, LB Corey Benson, DL Eric Williams, LB Tyler Blum, LB Erik Lorenz


Key Returners: RB JR Hamm, OL/DL Trevor Stapp, OL Tyler Giannonatti, OL/DL Wyatt Cahill, RB Kyle Schmella, DB Elijah Chaing, DB Eric Benson, DB Lucas Starkey, DB Alex Tripp


Mt. Pointe- The Pride started off the year strong with a 4-1 record but fell apart in the last five, dropping three of five. They went one and three against playoff opponents in that stretch. One thing that stands out to me is they only return 23 of the 60 players from last year's roster, the biggest losses being bazooka foot kicker Spencer Thompson, DT Zeb Togiai and all region MLB Kyle Drake. The cupboard is not completely bare with the return of the dangerous Wheaton brothers Marquese and Markus returning at RB and WR and big OL Gage Gorman returning up front. This team has some talent but I think they would fare better in a different region because as I stated earlier, the Central Region is pretty tough this year.


Key Losses: OL/LB Cameron Kastl, TE Alex Romero, LB Kyle Drake, DT Zeb Togiai, DB Chris Stamps, K/P Spencer Thompson


Key Returners: WR Markus Wheaton, RB Marquese Wheaton, RB Ben Smith, OL Ricky Dennis, DL Trevor Dennis


24-7Football.com Preseason All Central Region Team


QB- Troy Graham- Basha

RB- JR Hamm- Corona

RB- Marquese Wheaton- Mt. Pointe

WR- Allante Battle- Desert Vista

WR- Luke Matthews- Desert Vista

TE- Steven Figueroa- Desert Vista

OL- Trevor Stapp- Corona

OL- Steve Sabin- Basha

OL- John Fontes- Basha

OL- Gage Gorman- Mt. Pointe

OL- Tyler Giannonatti (JR)- Corona

K- Brock Jolly- Desert Vista

Return- Allante Battle- Desert Vista


DL- Devon Kennard (JR)- Desert Vista

DL- Zeb Togiai- Desert Vista

DL- Trevor Stapp- Corona

DL- Wyatt Cahill- Corona

LB- Mason Stanley- Desert Vista

LB- Mike Sadoway- Desert Vista

LB- Brian Rheault- Basha

DB- Quinn Evans- Basha

DB- Allante Battle- Desert Vista

DB- Marquese Wheaton- Mt. Pointe

DB- Elijah Chaing- Corona

P- Brock Jolly- Desert Vista


Coach of the Year- Dan Hinds- Desert Vista

Offensive Player of the Year- Allante Battle- Desert Vista 

Defensive Player of the Year- Devon Kennard- Desert Vista


Central Region Top 15 Players


1. Devon Kennard (JR)- DE- Desert Vista

2. Allante Battle- WR- Desert Vista

3. Steve Figueroa- TE- Desert Vista

4. Luke Matthews- WR- Desert Vista

5. Quinn Evans- CB- Basha

6. Zeb Togiai- DL- Desert Vista

7. Trevor Stapp- OL- Corona

8. Marquese Wheaton- RB- Mt. Pointe

9. JR Hamm- RB- Corona

10. Steve Sabin- OL- Basha

11. Troy Graham- QB- Basha

12. John Fontes- OL- Basha

13. Markus Wheaton- WR- Mt. Pointe

14. Elijah Chiang- DB- Corona

15. Mike Sadoway- LB- Desert Vista

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