5A1 Fiesta Region Preview

24-7Football.com continues with our region previews as we move to the 5A Fiesta. We include a complete breakdown, the top returning players, do an all region team and pick a player of the year.

5A1 Fiesta Region




The only change from last year is Desert Ridge has moved out of the region. It is no secret that this is a tough region with Hamilton and Chandler being two of the most talented and athletic team's in the state. Don't forget about Highland who also was a playoff team last year and seems to every year pull off an upset sometime during the season. Remember two years ago when they upset undefeated Hamilton? Gilbert will always be tough and well coached, typical of every Jesse Parker team. Mesquite and Highland bring in new head coaches. This year's region title could be decided when Chandler and Hamilton face off again on ESPN. Last year's game was standing room only and I unfortunately had to stand. Expect another sell out crowd.


The losses in this region are heavy with eight players moving on to the division-one ranks but the Fiesta returns my top three players in the state in Dion Jordan, Covaughn Deboskie and Gerell Robinson. There will be a lot of new faces lining up under center and to compensate, I would expect a lot of pounding the ball early in the season as Hamilton's Deboskie, Mesquite's Luckas Scott, Chandler's Steven Jackson and Harold Bernard are all very talented backs.




1. Hamilton

2. Chandler

3. Highland

4. Mesquite

5. Gilbert




Hamilton- You have to like the defending state champion's odds. They did not lose a game to an in-state opponent last year. Their only loss came in the Kirk Herbstreit Classic to Massillion in Ohio, who I do not include in this breakdown. The Huskies played an extremely tough schedule last year with 11 of their opponents making the playoffs (8 regular season not including Massillion). Even more impressive was that their closest game was an 11 point win over Gilbert. Hamilton loses a ton of very talented players that many other programs would struggle to replace but D1 talents Covaughn Deboskie, Patrick Jamison, Gerell Robinson and Elliott Harper will make the Huskies serious contenders again.


Much of Hamilton's very talented offensive line returns to help pave the way for star RB Deboskie. Look for Hamilton to rely on a strong run game until QBs Justin Peters and Gerell Robinson get comfortable. Expect both QBs to see significant minutes as head coach Steve Belles will surely use Robinson in creative fashions to keep opposing defensive coordinators guessing.


Key Losses: RB Tony Sims, QB Brad Gruner, WR Kerry Taylor, TE JT Dixon, LB Matt Sanford, WR Trey Peacock, DB Glenn Love, DB Colin Parker, DB/P Andy Workman, CB Quinn Evans, DE Kurt Magnum, DE Chris Schaan, DL Kory Boxberger, K Brent Blaylock


Key Returners: RB Covaughn Deboskie, QB/DB Gerell Robinson, OL Pat Jamison, OL Kyland Resor, OL Jason Meyer, DL Justin Artis, QB Justin Peters, LB Zach Moore, LB Elliott Harper


Chandler- Chandler rattled off nine straight wins and entered week 10 with a head to head match up with Hamilton to decide the region title. Hamilton won 35-14 and took home the Fiesta region and state titles.


The Wolves do suffer some heavy losses especially on defense where they must replace their entire linebacking corp. But there are few teams in the state that can run as well as Chandler and they return quite possibly the best set of skill position players in the state.  No less then four players hold major division-one offers and Dion Jordan and Marc Anthony are amongst the top players at the position in the country.


Until unseated, Hamilton is still the champs but you know the regular season match up between the Wolves and the Huskies will have some fire and intensity.


Key Losses: DL/OL Cameron Jordan, OL Joey Gomez, OL Brandon Van Norman, QB Kyle Hess, RB Byron Warren, DB Mikhail Barton, DL Kyle Benjamin, LB Tony Pawlak, LB Lucas Mellage, LB Shaefer Wall, LB George Wells, DB/WR Brandon Trowbridge, P Hatton Updike


Key Returners: TE Dion Jordan, RB Steven Jackson, WR Archie Woulard, CB Marc Anthony, DB Harold Bernard, LB Kurt Mangum, OL Damien Edwards


Highland- Highland went 6-5 last year and lost to Basha by four in the 1st round of the playoffs. That was the story of their season as a few more breaks here and there and the Hawks could have had a much better record. Four of their five losses were by 14 points or less with their only blowout loss being to state champion Hamilton. On the other side of the coin, if 1 point wins over Paradise Valley and Gilbert had gone the other way; they would have been 3-7. A major loss is DE/TE Naku Latu who signed with Colorado State.


All that being said, not a lot of "star power" returns for Highland as kicker Mike Digangi and long snapper Granger Haviland are the Hawks only returning all region performers. The biggest loss may be head coach Preston Jones but he left a roster with 33 returning players including seven sophomores who played varsity last year. QB Jeremy Fuhst will be called upon to lead the offense and LB Mike Madrid returns to lead the D.


Key Losses: OL Mark McCallister, OL Dennis Plzak, OL Dominick Ortiz, TE/DE Naku Latu, WR Chasen Halcomb, DL Oscar Aguilera, OL Josh Davis, RB Anthony Renteria, RB Adrian Ramirez, DL Matt Brenner, LB Gareth Ives, HC Preston Jones


Key Returners: K Mike Digangi, LB Mike Madrid, LB Cord Harris, DB Dylan Jones, LS Granger Haviland, HC Pete Wahlheim


Mesquite- Bottom-line, Mesquite struggled last year. They went 3-7 and albeit they played six playoff bound opponents, they lost six or their games by 14 points or more. Their closest loss was by five points to Gilbert. Maybe new coach Mike Reardon can strike some life into the program. He brings with him former Apache Junction head man Max Ragsdale and a winning tradition after leading Saguaro to the 4A1 state title last year.


The cupboard is not completely bare. Although the Wildcats only return 17 players from last year, Coach Reardon has some solid players to build a foundation on. RB Luckas Scott, DB Fabrice Nolan and TE Trevor Kohl all return after earning all region recognition last year. Expect Scott to get significant carries this year. In the tough Fiesta, it could take some time and growing pains to rebuild the program.


Key Losses: DL Spencer Clevenger, OL Damien Edwards, HC Rich Iverson


Key Returners: TE Trevor Kohl, RB Luckas Scott, DB Fabrice Nolan, OL Nic Soloman, DE Charlie Fahina, HC Mike Reardon, Asst. coach Max Ragsdale


Gilbert- Gilbert had a lot of expectations last year and started the year strong with a 3-0 record that included wins over Corona and Marana Mt. View. They went on a five game skid with all of their losses being to playoff teams. The Tigers squeaked into the playoffs with a week 10 five point win over Mesquite. Jesse Parker's teams are always disciplined and well coached but Gilbert could be in for a struggle. They only return 19 of last year's 48 players and the losses on offense are heavy! They lose their top passer in three year starter Kyle Newhall Caballero. They lose their top two rushers and top two wideouts.  They also lose their top offensive lineman. Their top returning player is LB Chase Beatty but will he be enough to get Gilbert back in the playoffs?


Key Losses: OL Ben Hulse, QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero, WR David Sepulveda, RB Joe Zakhar, TE Canaan Holbrook, LB Taylor Webb, DB CJ Lewis, DL Ryan Bellman, DB Ryan Kinkead, WR Bryan McDaniel


Key Returners: LB Chase Beatty


24-7Football.com Preseason All Fiesta Region Team


QB- Gerell Robinson- Hamilton

RB- Covaughn Deboskie- Hamilton

RB- Luckas Scott- Mesquite

WR- Dion Jordan- Chandler

WR- Archie Woulard- Chandler

TE- Trevor Kohl- Mesquite

OL- Patrick Jamison- Hamilton

OL- Kyland Resor- Hamilton

OL- Jason Meyer- Hamilton

OL- Damien Edwards- Chandler

OL- Nic Soloman- Mesquite

K- Mike Digangi- Highland

Return- Harold Bernard- Chandler


DL- Justin Artis- Hamilton

DL- Dion Jordan- Chandler

DL- Matt Hulse- Hamilton

DL- Charlie Fahina- Mesquite

LB- Elliott Harper- Hamilton

LB- Chase Beatty- Gilbert

LB- Zach Moore- Hamilton

DB- Marc Anthony- Chandler

DB- Harold Bernard- Chandler

DB- Fabrice Nolan- Mesquite

DB- Dylan Jones- Highland

P- Mike Digangi- Highland


Coach of the Year- Steve Belles- Hamilton

Offensive Player of the Year- Covaughn Deboskie- RB- Hamilton 

Defensive Player of the Year- Marc Anthony- CB Chandler


Fiesta Region Top 15 Players


1. Dion Jordan- WR- Chandler

2. Covuaghn Deboskie- RB Hamilton

3. Gerell Robinson- QB- Hamilton

4. Marc Anthony- CB Chandler

5. Pat Jamison- OT- Hamilton

6. Harold Bernard- DB- Chandler

7. Steven Jackson- RB Chandler

8. Elliott Harper- LB- Hamilton

9. Kyland Resor- OG- Hamilton

10. Luckas Scott- RB- Mesquite

11. Kurt Magnum- LB- Chandler

12. Trevor Kohl- TE- Mesquite

13. Chase Beatty- LB- Gilbert

14. Archie Woulard- WR- Chandler

15. Fabrice Nolan- DB- Mesquite

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