4A1 Western Sky Region
The Western Sky makes up a pretty
interesting region. Sunnyslope moves up from 4A2 while O'Connor moves down from
5A2 and while may would probably pick
Prescott- Prescott was a very good team
last year. They went 9-3 and took
On defense, they return possibly the most under-rated DT in the state in Issac Chavez. He recorded 68 tackles and 5.5 sacks from his DT spot. Chavez, LB Lopati Hochee and DB Skylar Branch will be the leaders up front and will need to step it up until replacements on offense can be found.
The Badgers open up with tough
games against Saguaro and Chaparral but I think the rest of the schedule has
some winnable games. A week 10 match-up versus
Key Losses: RB Anthony Guzman, WR/DB/P Jeff Seastrand, QB Dan Trail, OL Clay Bewley, DL Clay Wright, DL Eric Petroff, LB Josh Wederski
Key Returners: DL Issac Chavez, OL Troy Boehm, DB Skylar Branch, K/WR Keith Knudson
Independence- Kelley Moore really had this team on the right track; he had the Patriots winning some games as they were truly a team to watch out for. Last season they went 9-2 and Coach Moore took the head job at Mesa High.
Key Losses: OL/DL/P/K Jose Sanchez, OL Ben Alonzo, DB/RB Derrick Lowe, DL Jarrid Nash, LB Matt Young, RB JaMichael Young, FB Paul Mills, LB Manny Hiles, HC Kelley Moore
Key Returners: DB TyQuan Wilson, WR Kyree Perkins
O'Connor- A move down from 5A2 after a having some success could mean good things for Coach Mey and O'Connor. They play a tough schedule and the road will not be as easy as some may think.
Coach Mey tells 24-7, "This will
be the best team we have ever had at O'Connor. However, the move down to 4A1 may not be
as pleasant as some think. Our non region schedule this season is much tougher
than anything we have seen in the past.
They have some quality player returning and I think O'Connor could vie for a playoff spot.
Key Losses: DB/WR Steve Van Kolen, LB Kyle McElroy
Sunnyslope- Slope went 8-5 last year against a tough schedule. They were competitive and played most of their games close. They move up to 4A1 and have a schedule with half of their opponents making the playoffs last year.
In all, 18 seniors depart and the losses are heavy on defense with tackling machine Matt Schillington departing as well as DL Casey Mahoney, LB Andrew Belew and DB/QB Sean Maraz who is headed to Cal-Davis.
A lot of Slope's players have typically gone both ways here and I expect things to be similar this year. This causes obvious depth concerns and an injury could mean the loss of two starters but if they can stay healthy, Sunnyslope always has a productive offense and should win some games.
Key Losses: OL/LB Matt Schillington, DL/OL Casey Mahoney, QB/DB Sean Maraz, WR/DB Jeff Poland, DB Roby Owsley, LB Andrew Belew, HC Dallas Hickman
Key Returners: HC Tim Mayfield, RB/DB
Thunderbird- T-bird went 3-7 playing against a tough schedule that included 8 playoff opponents. They got wins over two of them (Prescott and McClintock) but lost most of their games by 20 points or more.
The bad news is that last year's squad was senior dominated. They return some solid players in QB Chris Womack and LB Mike Butzine but will they be able to carry the team above .500? They have some winnable games on their schedule and an upset or two could get them to that mark.
Key Losses: OL Ian Smith, OL Ray Shaffer, WR/K/P Zack Richards, RB Darryn Cancel, DL Fabian Becerra, DE Mack Surrell, DB Ryan Azevedo, DB LaVaughn Rylon
Key Returners: LB Mike Butzine, QB Chris Womack, WR PJ Garcia, LB Jason Leos
Apollo- Apollo was very good last year
and Prince was had one of the best seasons in recent history. He takes him game
The Hawks return a couple of all region players in OL Orlando Lara and DB Jason Barnett but can they win 7 games again this year? It won't be easy as they face a pretty tough schedule.
Key Losses: RB/DB Prince Amukamara, LB Aaron Fierros, WR Richie Pieri, LB Jimmie Lee
Key Returners: OL Orlando Lara, DB Jason Barnett
Coach of the Year- Lou Benitone- Prescott
Offensive Player of the
Defensive Player of the Year- Issac Chavez- DT- Prescott
4A1 Western Sky Region Top 10 Players
1. Issac Chavez- DT- Prescott
3. Robert Robbins- OL/LB- O'Connor
4. TyQuan Wilson- DB- Independence
5. Bruce Eisenhauer- QB- O'Connor
6. Mike Butzine- LB- Thunderbird
7. Chris Womack- QB- Thunderbird
8. Jason Barnett (JR)- DB- Apollo
9. Troy Boehm- OL- Prescott
10. Kyree Perkins- WR-