Head coach: Dana Zupke
2006 Record: 4-7
Region: 5A2 Central
Week of August 20th- Scrimmage v.
8/31- @ Ironwood Ridge
9/7- @ Westview
9/20- Mt. Ridge
10/5- @ Marcos
10/19- Desert Ridge
11/2- @ Horizon
Key Losses: OL Erik Smith, OL/DL Alex Licano, LB Kevin Caughlin, P Brett Nicholas, DL Bryan Quenneville, DL Joe Ivejaz, DL Matt Dennis
Key Returners: WR Jonathan Crist, QB Evan Johnson, WR/DB Max Zemezonak, OL Danny Troup, DB Jake Gibson, DB Kevin Jaramillo, K Cole Atwell
Pinnacle went 4-7 last year and they move out of the 4A Desert Sky and into the 5A2 Central Region along Desert Ridge, Horizon, Marcos and Skyline. Last year six of their regular season opponents went to the playoffs and things don't get much easier as eight of this year's opponents went to the playoffs last year.
The good news is that Coach Zupke returns a boatload of players from last year's team. An amazing 35 of 47 players from last year's team were underclassmen and the rest of their team will be filled with players from their 4-4 JV squad. It all starts with pass-catch combination Evan Johnson to Jonathan Crist. Johnson finished the year with over 1700 (506 rushing/1220 passing) yards of offense and accounted for 14 TDs. Zupke says that Johnson, "Looks polished" and is a "much better decision maker". 404 of Johnson's passing yards went to Crist and Crist caught 8 of his 12 TDs passes. Johnson returns as their leading rusher as does #2 rusher, RB Bryan Karraker. Zupke says to keep an eye out for junior RB Taylor Stib, he could be a good one in year's to come.
Big losses will be felt on the defensive line where four players that received all region honors graduate. This will put some pressure on safety Max Zemezonak. Max led the team with 6 INTs and took 3 of those to the house. Zupke also points to junior DB Mike Tommassino as future standout for the Pioneers.
The off season focus for Pinnacle according to Zupke was "discipline" and which showed in Johnson, Zemezonak and OL/DL Dereck Raymond, as they all made significant strides this off season.
The Pioneers looked solid in
passing league, making it to the quarterfinals in Surprise, losing to
Most people see the move up to 5A2 as a challenge and it will be. They open up with four tough games early but Pinnacle has some winnable games on their schedule and with an upset or two along the way, they could see themselves in the playoff hunt come November.