5A2 Central Region Preview

24-7 moves on to the 5A2 ranks with our previews. We start with the 5A2 Central. We include predictions, top 10 players and an all region team.

5A2 Central Region




This is a brand new region completely compiled of teams that were in other regions last year. Desert Ridge was in the Fiesta, Horizon in the Desert Valley, Marcos the Central, Pinnacle moves up from the 4A Desert Sky and Skyline played in the East Valley. No real rivals here, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. Marcos, Desert Ridge and Horizon went to the playoffs last year and they should be solid again but with the forming of this new region anything can happen. It gives everyone new life and a chance to start from scratch. I call for Marcos to be the early favorite but I strongly feel this region is up for grabs.




1. Marcos de Niza

2. Pinnacle

3. Horizon

4. Desert Ridge

5. Skyline




Marcos de Niza- Did anyone expect Marcos to be a semi-final team last year? They went into the playoffs with a 5-5 record and beat Ironwood and North Canyon in the first two rounds. They ended up losing to Sunnyside by seven to keep them out of the championship game. Speaking of close game, of the 14 games they played, 9 were decided by 14 points or less. Talk about your cardiac kids!


Looking at next year's schedule, Marcos has some winnable games that could get them back into the playoffs again. And I would give them a chance in any game as long as stud RB Harrison Evens is healthy. He accounted for nearly 2000 yards of offense and was the region offensive player of the year last year.


The Padres lose quite a few all region players and biggest losses may be multi-position all region performers Jimmy Klingensmith and Shaun Deisler but with 28 of their 49 players back, including their top two QBs and OL Michael Greer and DB Quinton Baker back, I call for Marcos to be the early favorite to win this region.


Key Losses: OL Cole Parker, WR/DB Ben Matuz, TE/P/DE Jimmy Klingensmith, FB/LB- Shaun Deisler, RB Adrian Moreno, OL Steve Shahin, DL Bobby Ramirez, DL Sam Hoffman, LB David Oros, DB Aaron Dixon, DE Billy Place, DB John Pike, K Patrick Markis


Key Returners: RB Harrison Evens, OL Michael Greer, QB David Viel, QB Mario Moreno, OL Shaumik Torres, DE Ben Swanson, DB Anthony Rose


Pinnacle- A 4-6 record could have been much better last year had a few balls bounced Pinnacle's way last year. They lost three of those games by four points or less to three playoff teams. The good news is that the Pioneers only lose 11 players from last year's roster, the biggest being along the defensive line where all four players earned all region honors last year. The return key players on offense at QB, WR and some young hungry guys are looking to carry the football. On defense, they return an experienced secondary but stopping the run will be a priority as always.


The bad news is they have a very tough schedule. Eight of this year's ten opponents made the playoffs last year. I would not count Pinnacle out of anything. They have the players to have success and if they win the games they are supposed to and pull off some upsets, they could find themselves in the playoffs.


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


Horizon- The Huskies took some lumps early in the year starting off the season 1-3. They recouped and played much better in region play going 4-1. A victory over Kofa gave them a 6-4 record and was good enough to get them in the playoffs. They upset Red Mountain in round one but lost to eventual champions Hamilton the following week. I would call last season a success as not many people expected them to make it that far, especially after a 1-3 start.


That all being said Horizon does have some significant losses. They will be breaking in a new QB for the third time in three years. Coach Casey can only hope he will be as successful as the previous two (Crum and Djinis). They lose their top wideout and 3/5ths of their o-line. On D, their top players Steve Parker and Logan Sullivan, who is headed to 1AA Butler, are gone. They do return possibly the top two way player in the region in OL/DL Joe Riccio.


We will find out early where the Huskies stand as the travel to Mesa in week one and then play host to Brophy in week two. I expect them to be solid again this year despite their losses and they could push for the region crown.


Key Losses: WR Ryan Berg, QB Greg Djinis, OL Tommy Ohmart, DB Logan Sullivan, LB Steve Parker, OL Dan Pela, OL Jarron Clinton, DB Ryan Dennehy, RB Oscar Alvarez


Key Returners: OL Lee Sisk, OL/DL Joe Riccio


Desert Ridge- The Jags started the year 4-1 and looked in pretty good shape. But they did not win again, dropping all five region games. The strength of the Fiesta Region got them into the playoffs despite a 4-6 record and they lost to Sunnyside in the first round.


Over half of their roster returns but they lose their top QB in Clay Busch and top WR in Justin Murray, who accounted for over 1100 yards in the air. Busch was also their #1 rusher. This will be their hardest and most vital replacement as DR throws the heck out of the ball. Their defense losses their top tackler (Brandon Fronc) and top two sackers (Fronc and Brad Prescher), who amassed over 21 sacks.


A few things go in the Jaguars favor despite the significant losses. They face only four playoff teams from last year and they play host to three of them. They return 25 players not including top notch CB Chris Jamison who transferred from Tolleson and their #2 rusher and #2 and #3 receivers. If replacements can be found for Busch and Murray, DR could push for a playoff spot again.


Key Losses: OL Brad Prescher, QB Clay Busch, WR Justin Murray, OL Jeremy Horvath, DB/K Kyle Cenatiempo


Key Returners: WR Chris Heldore, DB Chris Jamison, OL Michael Cota, WR Carl Curtis, OL Tali Sili,


Skyline- Skyline struggled last year no doubt about it. They went 2-8 and their average loss was by 22 points. But like I spoke of earlier, there is new life in this new region. I think the competition they faced in the tough East Valley last year could play a factor. They play only four teams that made the playoffs last season. The Coyotes also have very winnable games against Valley Vista, Alhambra, Carl Hayden and San Luis. This region looks like it will be pretty competitive and Skyline might surprise some people.


Key Losses: LB Ted Kock, P Jonathon Bailey


Key Returners: OL Marcos Bermudez, DL Lance Hyer, DB Bryce Albertsman, RB Elijah McPherson, OL Louis Kolonics, DB Matthew Ditsworth, LB Tommy Brown


24-7Football.com Preseason All 5A2 Central Region Team


QB- Evan Johnson- Pinnacle

RB- Harrison Evens- Marcos

RB- Taylor Stib (JR)- Pinnacle

WR- Chris Heldore (JR)- Desert Ridge

WR- Jonathan Crist- Pinnacle

TE- Jason Barkac- Marcos

OL- Joe Riccio- Horizon

OL- Michael Greer- Marcos

OL- Marcos Bermudez- Skyline

OL- Lee Sisk- Horizon

OL- Tali Sili- Desert Ridge

K- Cole Atwell- Pinnacle

Return- Harrison Evens- Marcos


DL- Joe Riccio- Horizon

DL- Ben Swanson- Marcos

DL- Lance Hyer- Skyline

DL- Dereck Raymond- Pinnacle

LB- Ben Amerson- Desert Ridge

LB- Tommy Brown- Skyline

LB- John Jones- Pinnacle

DB- Max Zemezonak- Pinnacle

DB- Chris Jamison (JR)- Desert Ridge

DB- Quinton Baker- Marcos

DB- Kevin Jaramillo- Pinnacle

P- Kelly Myers- Pinnacle


Coach of the Year- Roy Lopez- Marcos de Niza

Offensive Player of the Year- Harrison Evens- RB- Marcos de Niza

Defensive Player of the Year- Joe Riccio- DL- Horizon


5A2 Central Region Top 10 Players


1. Harrison Evens- RB- Marcos

2. Joe Riccio- OL/DL- Horizon

3. Quinton Baker- DB- Marcos

4. Max Zemezonak- DB Pinnacle

5. Chris Heldore (JR)- WR- Desert Ridge

6. Chris Jamison (JR)- DB- Desert Ridge

7. Michael Greer- OL- Marcos

8. Lee Sisk- OL- Horizon

9. Marcos Bermudez- OL- Skyline

10. Chris Jaramillo- DB- Pinnacle

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