5A1 Desert Valley Region Preview

24-7Football.com continues the region breakdowns with the 5A Desert Valley. This region losses three teams but keeps alive some of the state's oldest rivalries.

5A1 Desert Valley Region




This region gets a bit of a facelift, losing Horizon, Paradise Valley and Shadow Mountain and adding Mt. Ridge. Even with three of the four teams making the playoffs last year, I will say the region is a bit down with the loss of some quality opponents. I believe the region will be pretty competitive and with fewer region games being possible, every game will count towards that coveted region title.




1. Brophy

2. Mt. Ridge

3. St. Mary's

4. Desert Mountain




Brophy- Brophy was very tough last year, going 9-3 with an amazing seven of their ten regular season opponents making the playoffs (9 of 12 overall). The Broncos two regular season losses were to playoff teams Salpointe and Chandler by eight total points. They play a tough schedule again this year with 8 of 10 making the playoffs last year.


The Broncos have the skill positions to hang with anybody. QB Bryan Berens, RB Ray Polk and CB Anthony Hooks are amongst the top players at their respective positions in the entire state. What concerns me is the heavy losses along the offensive line, defensive line and linebackers. It will be tough finding replacements for three division-one offensive linemen to block for Polk. It may be even harder to replace four LBs that received all region honors. That means young guys will be thrown in the fire early with Hamilton, Horizon, Salpointe and Mesa Mt. View being their first four opponents. Brophy will be without a doubt a contender for the region title but if they can weather the early storm and get a few kids in the trenches to step up, this could be a dangerous team come playoff time.


Key Losses: OL/DL Blake Behrens, WR Aaron Cheatam, OL Shane Peterlin, TE Brett Stires, LB Andrew Serrano, LB Michael Owings, LB Steve Pursley, DL Nate Barlow, WR Chase Taylor, OL AJ Toops, LB Will Moskalik, RB Jonathan Tease


Key Returners: RB Ray Polk, QB Bryan Berens, DB Drew Maggi, CB Anthony Hooks, WR Sean Lieb, DL Trent Murphy, TE Billy Sanders, OL Brock Middleton


Mt. Ridge- The Mountain Lions were up and down last year. They started the year off in a rough way, going 0-4 to start the year with three of those losses coming to playoff teams. They ended up regrouping, winning the next four to get back to .500. A week 10 win over North Canyon go them into the playoffs and they lost to state champion Hamilton in the first round.


Mt. Ridge was pretty young last year and they return 22 players off of last year's roster including 11 sophomores. They will be strong on the offensive line with all region picks Taniela Niutei and Ryan Gardner coming back. 6-6 260 pound Brandon Gabbard is getting a ton of D1 interest and is the team's long snapper. Coach Bobby Green hopes they can open holes for speedy RB Giorgio Giurdanella and protect QB Kevin Yost. If they can manage to get the offense just past midfield, they will have a shot to score every time with kicker Jeff Locke's strong leg.


They return enough players at key positions on defense that they could push Brophy for the region title. I am looking forward to their week 10 game at Brophy.


Key Losses: DL Austin Duty, LB Jacob Jaycox, WR/CB Jon Ott, WR Ricky Fox, DB Bobby House, FB/LB Austin Wales


Key Returners: DL Mike Brown, DB Ryan King, P/K Jeff Locke, QB Kevin Yost, RB Georgio Giurdanella, OL Taniela Niutei, OL Brandon Gabbard, LB Brett Hager, OL Ryan Gardner, LB Mike Chocholusek


St. Mary's- The Knights as always are small in numbers compared to many other 5A programs but they manage to be good year in and year out. That in large part goes to legendary coach Pat Farrell. He has some tools to work with as they return 25 of 43 players from last year's 7-4 squad. Their top player is two-way all region pick James Morrison. If St. Mary's can stay healthy, they have enough winnable games to push for a playoff spot again.


Key Losses: RB Roman Lunsford, OL Frank Hernandez, TE Jason Owens, LB Demarrice Green, OL/DL Paul Donkowski, WR Josh Means, RB Josh Felton


Key Returners: RB/DB James Morrison, TE/DE Klayton Kristick, OL/DL Sean Alvarado


Desert Mountain- The Wolves were actually 3-1 four weeks into the season but that can be a little deceiving as their first two wins were over winless Maryvale and Carl Hayden. They ended up losing the last six games and were never able to muster more then six points in any of those losses. To their credit, Desert Mountain did have seven playoff teams on the schedule and even managed a win over one of them (Casa Grande).


Coach Tabor does return over half of last year's roster and has some leaders coming back on defense, they also have some winnable games but I it will be tough to beat the four proven winners that also occupy this region.


Key Losses: WR Jason Kramer, OL/DL Steve Haley, DB Ryan Frazier, LB Kyle Klein


Key Returners: P Brett Patrick, RB James Rana, DB Matt Galtiero, QB Cory Campbell, LB Austin Flannary, LB Lance Harper


24-7Football.com Preseason All Desert Valley Region Team


QB- Bryan Berens- Brophy

RB- Ray Polk- Brophy

RB- James Morrison- St. Mary's

WR- Jeff Locke- Mt. Ridge

WR- Sean Lieb- Brophy

TE- Billy Sanders (JR)- Brophy

OL- Taniela Niutei- Mt. Ridge

OL- Brandon Gabbard- Mt. Ridge

OL- Sean Alvarado- St. Mary's

OL- Brock Middleton- Brophy

OL- Ryan Gardner- Mt. Ridge

K- Jeff Locke- Mt. Ridge

Return- Ray Polk- Brophy


DL- Mike Brown- Mt. Ridge

DL- Klayton Kristick- St. Mary's

DL- Trent Murphy (JR)- Brophy

DL- Taniela Niutei- Mt. Ridge

LB- Brett Hager (JR)- Mt. Ridge

LB- Lance Harper (JR)- Desert Mountain

LB- Austin Flannary- Desert Mountain

DB- Anthony Hooks- Brophy

DB- Drew Maggi- Brophy

DB- Ryan King- Mt. Ridge

DB- Matt Galtiero- Desert Mountain

P- Jeff Locke- Mt. Ridge


Coach of the Year- Scooter Molander- Brophy

Offensive Player of the Year- Ray Polk- Brophy

Defensive Player of the Year- Drew Maggi- Brophy


Desert Valley Region Top 10 Players


1. Ray Polk- RB- Brophy

2. Jeff Locke- K/P- Mt. Ridge

3. Bryan Berens- QB- Brophy

4. Anthony Hooks- CB- Brophy

5. James Morrison- RB- St. Mary's

6. Kevin Yost- QB- Mt. Ridge

7. Drew Maggi- DB- Brophy

8. Taniela Niutei- OL/DL- Mt. Ridge

9. Brandon Gabbard- OL- Mt. Ridge

10. Matt Galtiero- DB- Desert Mountain

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