5A2 Desert West Region Preview

In a region full of speed and skill positions, see who 24-7Football.com names the region's top player.

5A2 Desert West Region




This region is basically the same region minus Peoria who moves to the 4A West Valley and Maryvale who moved to the 5A1 Metro. At this point, Centennial is the lead dog and will remain that way until proven otherwise. That being said, the Coyotes will have a target on their back as everyone will be geared up to play them.




1. Centennial

2. Westview

3. Ironwood

4. Tolleson

5. Sunrise Mountain

6. La Joya




Centennial- Let's face it, Centennial ran threw the opposition last year. They went undefeated including beating 5A1 state runner up Mt View. They pitched six shutouts and only one team came within two scores of them. Their offense only scored less then 30 points only one time and a good portion of those players from that explosive unit are back. It starts with QB Scott Burgett. He was efficient last year and made few mistakes. He loses wideouts Alston Umuolo and Warren Johnson and TE Jesse Knaack. The Coyotes do return two of the most dangerous players in the entire state in RB Jeff Hughes and WR Jarrell Barbour. The two accounted for over 2300 yards of offense. The coaches also look for Jerrell Petersen to make plays. The only concern may be up front. They return the state's top OL in Zach Schlink but lose four all region players as Cory Woolery's return is uncertain because of a shoulder injury. Making matters worse was junior OL Bryant Gabbard has gone down with a knee injury. The Coyotes have a strong tradition of producing top notch offensive lines so I am sure OL Coach McDonald has some tricks up his sleeve.


Along the line is where the defense takes their biggest hit as well. Gone is NT Tom Ramsey but a move in from Yuma has the coaches excited. 6-2 270 pound Kendrick McBride had the coaches comparing him to Ramsey during camp and big things are expected from junior DE Jimmie Lewis. Barbour along with the Hughes brothers, Jeff and John, will man the secondary. Adam Shipley returns after recording 90 tackels last year from his LB spot.


Graduation is part of high school football and Centennial took their fair share but with the weapons they have coming, they are the early favorites to win the 5A2 crown. I am looking forward to the Sept. 7th game versus Hamilton and their Sept. 28th game at Desert Vista.


Key Losses: RB/LB RJ Anderson, WR Warren Johnson, TE Jesse Knaack, OL Brett Goetz, DT Tom Ramsey, DL Pedro Ramos, LB Rusty McConnell, LB/WR Alston Umuolo, OL/DL Joey Oliver, P/DB Austin West, OL Zach Castleberry, WR Mark Bell


Key Returners: QB Scott Burgett, RB/CB Jeff Hughes, WR Jarrell Barbour, OL Zach Schlink, RB John Hughes, LB Adam Shipley


Westview- If anyone will challenge Centennial in this region it will be Westview. They may be the only team that can match their skill positions and speed. The Knights went 7-5 last year and you can look at that two ways. One way is, all five of their losses were to playoff teams and four of them were by 10 points or less. The other way to look at it is of their seven wins, only one came over a playoff team and that was Marana Mt. View in the first round of the playoffs. Whatever way you look at it, Westview is battle tested. They return 38 players from last year's team and will add players from an 8-1 JV squad.


One thing is for sure, the Knights will run the ball. They have had one of the most potent running attacks over the past few years. Expect to see a lot of RBs Brian Conley and Reggie Nicholson. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Westview did in passing league tournaments. The run first team made it to the semi-finals at Surprise and NAU. Their linemen also did very well in off season competitions, placing in the top three at Surprise, NAU and ASU.


I like what Westview brings to the table. Their week 8 game at Centennial should be for the region championship.


Key Losses: TE Paul Patino, OL/DL Kris Poindexter, RB/CB Nate Jones, OL Casey Johnson, DL Leo Clark, LB Martin Guzman, DB Mario Perez, OL Fabian Martinez, DL Evander Satterwhite,


Key Returners: RB Brian Conley, OL Guy Reynolds, OL/DL Schuyler Waterhouse, QB Albert Lizarraga, LB Fernando Trevino, RB/DB Reggie Nicholson


Ironwood- Replacing one division-one player is tough for any team, try replacing three. That is what Ironwood head coach Larry Allen is faced with. A lot of their offensive firepower left when Eric Hagg and Leonard Jackson graduated. They return Klusnick at QB and some hogs upfront but they may be relying on their defense to get them through the early part of the season until someone steps up at RB and WR.


It may be tough to get seven wins again may be tough with six playoff teams on their schedule.


Key Losses: DE William Yancy, WR/DB Eric Hagg, K Alex Zendejas, LB Ryan Lapsley, DB Leonard Jackson, DB/QB Jake Long, OL/DL Travis Mullins


Key Returners: OL Fletcher Hunt, DL Caleb McGee, DB Cody Lenhart, QB Randy Klusnick, OL Josh Williams, DB Derek Holmes, LB Gabe Rojas


Tolleson- The Wolverines finished the regular season with a 4-6 record but got into the playoffs and beat Central in the 1st round. They ended up losing to Peoria in round two but not many people would have expected Tolleson to be there in the first place. Rich Wellbrock is building a quality program over in T-town.


Like any team, Tolleson takes some losses. Eric Williams takes his game over to Eastern Arizona, Jacob Bruen is head to GCC and Mark Henry signed with PC. They also lost up and coming corner Chris Jamison as he transferred. Wellbrock will lean heavily on three position all region player Kiefer Fields. Fields is a heck of an athlete, earning all region at WR, DB and P. He is also one of 5A2's best jumpers in track and field.


Wellbrock says that the team focused on playing faster and was very pleased with the team's progress this off-season. He points RB Eric Saenz, WR Jake Elston, Db Gabe Serrato and Gabe Ayala is players who made some good strides.


Tolleson has some young guys to work with, some giant OLs and good "athleticism and speed" according to Wellbrock. If all goes well, they could be back on the playoff hunt. Their schedule will be tough with six of their ten opponents making the playoffs last year.


Key Losses: LB/RB Eric Williams, OL/DL Jacob Bruen, LB Nashaun Theophile, CB Chris Jamison, OL Xavier Larranga, OL Derrick Wagner, LB James Pablo, DE Robert Randles, DE Mark Henry, RB Anthony Tarkington


Key Returners: WR/DB/P Kiefer Fields, OL/DL Kris Davey, DB Darnell Woods


La Joya- La Joya surprised some folks and went 4-6 last year. They did so with 26 seniors on their roster and naturally those players depart. The good news is on offense they return their QB, top three rushers and top receiver. On D their top d-lineman and top DB return. Their non-region schedule has them facing Valley Vista, Carl Hayden, Willow Canyon, Trevor Browne and Kingman, all winnable games. They also get Sunrise Mountain at home whom they beat last year. A .500 record is definitely possible this year.


Key Losses: OL Martin McDonald, DB Ray Coronado, P Jonathan Alvarez, LB Brian Coronado


Key Returners: RB Jeremiah Cornist, DL Christian Upshaw, DB Pedro Olvera, DB Wilmar Cabrera, OL Mitchell Clayton


Sunrise Mountain- Sunrise struggled last year. They were in some of their games but they faced seven playoff bound teams and ended up finishing the year 2-8. The good news is they only lose 17 players from last year's team and they return their top passer, top two o-lineman and top tackler. They have some winnable games on their plate and I think they will improve on last year's record.


Key Losses: RB Matt Sjoerdsma, DE Will Babb, DB Blake Ortiz


Key Returners: OL Darden Zenullahi, QB Jaff Decker, OL Kyle Kwaad, LB Gilbert Galindo, DB Danny Lange



24-7Football.com Preseason All 5A2 Desert West Team


QB- Scott Burgett- Centennial

RB- Jeff Hughes- Centennial

RB- Brian Conley- Westview

WR- Jarrell Barbour- Centennial

WR- Jerrell Petersen- Centennial

TE- Ray Ortega- Westview

OL- Zach Schlink- Centennial

OL- Guy Reynolds- Westview

OL- Darden Zenullahi- Sunrise

OL- Fletcher Hunt (JR)- Ironwood

OL- Schuyler Waterhouse- Westview

K- Adam Garcia- Westview

Return- Brian Conley- Westview


DL- Kendrick McBride- Centennial

DL- Caleb McGee (JR)- Ironwood

DL- Christian Upshaw- La Joya

DL- Vincent Keener (JR)- Westview

LB- Adam Shipley- Centennial

LB- Gilbert Galindo- Sunrise

LB- Fernando Trevino- Westview

DB- Jeff Hughes- Centennial

DB- Reggie Nicholson- Westview

DB- Kieffer Fields- Tolleson

DB- John Hughes (JR)- Centennial

P- Kieffer Fields- Tolleson


Coach of the Year- Richard Taylor- Centennial

Offensive Player of the Year- Zach Schlink- OL- Centennial

Defensive Player of the Year- Jeff Hughes- CB- Centennial


5A2 Desert West Region Top 10 Players


1. Zach Schlink- OL- Centennial

2. Jarrell Barbour- WR- Centennial

3. Guy Reynolds- OL- Westview

4. Scott Burgett- QB- Centennial

5. Brian Conley- RB- Westview

6. Jeff Hughes- RB/DB- Centennial

7. Darden Zenullahi- OL- Sunrise Mountain

8. Schuyler Waterhouse- OL/DL- Westview

9. Kieffer Fields- WR/DB/P- Tolleson

10. Albert Lizarraga- QB- Westview

11. Reggie Nicholson- RB/CB- Westview

12. Kendrick McBride- DT- Centennial

13. John Hughes- RB/CB- Centennial

14. Adam Shipley- LB- Centennial

15. Jeremiah Cornist- RB- La Joya

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