Mountain Ridge Preseason Preview

24-7Football.com's next preseason spotlight is on Mountain Ridge.

Team: Mountain Ridge
Mascot: Mountain Lions

City: Glendale

Head coach: Bobby Green

2006 Record: 5-6

Region: 5A1 Desert Valley

 

Schedule

 

8/23- Scrimmage vs. Sunrise Mountain

8/31- Sunnyside

9/7- @ Chavez

9/14- @ Skyline

9/20- @ Pinnacle

9/28- Tolleson (Homecoming)

10/5- Yuma

10/12- Mt. Pointe

10/19- Desert Mountain

10/26- @ St. Mary's

11/2- @ 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

 

Breakdown

 

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 got them into the playoffs and they lost to state champion Hamilton in the first round.

 

Coach Green has some tools to work with; he has a young team that he thinks progressed well over the off-season. "I am proud of the way the team worked out this summer. They worked extremely hard.  We should be stronger and quicker in all areas this year", states Green. The team showed well in passing league, they participated at NAU, UofA, San Diego State and at the Surprise Tournament.  They lost to a talented Desert Vista team in the semis at NAU, lost to Hamilton in the finals at UofA and lost in the championship game of the loser's bracket at SDSU.

 

Mt. Ridge was pretty young last year and they return 22 players off of last year's roster including 11 sophomores. They also will benefit from the players from their 4-2-2 JV team. That team went undefeated as freshmen and still managed to win 4 games with 11 of their top players up on the varsity.

 

The Mt. Lions 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. The staff hopes they can open holes for speedy RB Giorgio Giurdanella and protect QB Kevin Yost. Yost will only be a junior but he has shown that he will be one of the state's top QBs already. His main target looks to be Jeff Locke, who may be more known for his kicking abilities but also caught over 20 passes last year. And if the offense can manage to get the just past midfield, they will have a shot to score every time with Locke's cannon for a leg.

 

Defensively, all three linebackers are back in the starting lineup and all will only be juniors. All region DE Mike Brown is returns and Niutei also plays along the d-line. The secondary loses ball hawk Jon Ott but he was out quite a bit with injuries last year and Ryan King stepped up and was an all region pick.

 

Coach Green adds, "I think we have the potential to be a very good team this year. We return 7 starters on the defense and 7 on the offense.  Both lines will improve and we are deep at key positions both offensively and defensively. I think that we are better balanced this year, a year older and we should be able to play well against all of our opponents. If we can stay healthy, we have as good a chance as anyone this year."

 

We will know exactly where Ridge stands in week one as they open up with an always tough Sunnyside team. I am also looking forward to their week 10 game at Brophy. Mt. Ridge returns enough players at key positions that they could push Brophy for the region title and be a force in the 5A ranks.


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