This region brings back some old
rivalries by putting Greenway,
1. Notre Dame
Notre Dame- Scot Bemis has quietly built a nice program at Notre Dame. They have gradually established one of the better 4A2 programs and have now become a regular stop on the college recruiter's path. Last year they went 7-5 and saw WR Mike Greco sign with Army and QB Sean Renfree breakout into one of the top QB prospects in the entire country. Renfree returns but Coach Bemis wants to emphasize that Sean is not the only player on the Saints' roster. TE Austin Briehl returns from injury and has already racked up three D1 offers. Andy Wilder was all region at three spots (DB/K/P) and has been on varsity since he was a freshman. Junior RB Patrick Foley was the 4A2 state champion in the 100 meters and will team up with Andrew Stutz in the backfield.
Bemis says, "We really put a lot of emphasis on our passing game this summer. We put a lot of time into putting a very good offensive line together. We need to protect Sean Renfree and that has been our biggest effort, including bringing in a couple of new coaches to help with the line play. We need to be very good on the O-line." Renfree took some heat last year and will lose all region picks Morgan Uribe, Matt Mees and Steven Gojic. Bemis looks for Pete Zistas and Blair Tushaus to step up.
Replacing Greco will be tough but Bemis likes what he has in three-sport athletes Brandon Hirneise and Wilder.
Defensively the Saints return ten players with starting experience and all region LB Shaun Ramirez, Wilder, DT Sean Lafferty and DE Garrett Riggio will be called upon to make plays.
Overall, NDP loses 18 players from
last year's team but gains players from a 6-2 JV team that had eight players on
their varsity squad. Bemis adds, "The strength of our team will be our QB play
and a defense that returns ten players who started games last season. We should
have a very fast aggressive defense." The Saints also had a strong showing at
Key Losses: WR/DB Mike Greco, WR Joe Mlachak, LB Matt Kirby, OL Morgan Uribe, OL Matt Mees, OL Steven Gojic, DL Charles Gonzalez
Key Returners: QB Sean Renfree, TE Austin Briehl, DB/K/P- Andy Wilder, RB Patrick Foley, DE Garrett Riggio, WR Brandon Hirneise, OL Blair Tushaus, LB Shaun Ramirez, OL Pete Zistas, CB Taylor Malenfant, DL Sean Lafferty, RB Andrew Stutz
Washington- No one expected
Replacing QB Jon Bowman and his 3500 yards passing is the key. Jon Camacho will get first crack at filling Bowman's shoes. The Rams offense has always been able to move the ball and Coach Becktold will be creative once again in getting the chains moving again this year.
Defensively, the Rams are solid with Kharyee Marshall returning to improve on his 12.5 sacks. The LB corps is in good shape with all region pick Miguel Ortiz back. The staff is expecting big things from his counterpart Juan Ramirez.
The Rams will be undersized and
have some depth issues but that will be no different than last year. I think
Key Losses: RB Morris Collins, QB Jon Bowman, TE Zach Moody, DL Kenneth Anderson
Key Returners: WR Victor Gamez, DE Kharyee Marshall, LB Miguel Ortiz, LB Juan Ramirez
Glendale- Glendale lost their first four
games last year, then won six straight to get in the playoffs and ended up
New head coach Ben McIvor inherits one of the region's top players in RB/CB Tyrese McGruder. McGruder had one of the top performances in the state last year. He accounted for 1500 yards of offense and somehow managed to record 70 tackles and 7 INTs. He ran for 14 TDs, caught 1 and even threw 2.
The defense should also be salty with McGruder and two solid DLs in DeShaun Anderson and Andrew Mendez back as well as LB Freeland Wilson.
Questions will always arise when a
new coach comes in but I think McIvor has the talent to keep
Key Losses: RB/CB Michael Chavez, OL/LB David Soto, DE/TE Craig Lacey, DE Marvin Woods, OL Derek Donahue, K Juan Valadez, HC Jason Wilke
Key Returners: RB/CB Tyrese McGruder, DL DeShaun Anderson, DL Andrew Mendez, LB Freeland Wilson, HC Ben McIvor
Greenway- The Demons struggled last year and no one will deny that. But remember that this is a team that has a strong tradition of winning and I do not expect them to stay down for long. They have some things going their way. One is head coach Mike Brown is an excellent football coach, he is a proven winner and will get his team back on track. Two, they were competitive despite going winless. Five of their losses were by 14 or less points. Three, they drop down to 4A2 this year. Four, they had only 15 seniors on their roster and bring back 9 sophomores that played on varsity and 1 freshman. Brown points to those sophomores as one of the things that could help his team. He believes that Corbin Jones (TB/DB), Greg Walton (QB/FS) and Ryan Smith (OT/DE) could be good ones before they graduate.
Team attitude was the focus of the off season and some players that made good gains were Walton, Smith, TE/DE Ben Cox, WR/DB Tyler Gettings, WR/LB Morgan Spears and OT Ryan Harper.
They have some holes to fill from losing their QB and RB but no one should underestimate Greenway, they will not go winless again.
Key Losses: WR Brok Butts, RB Nick Vaden, QB Jimmy Morse
Key Returners: LB/TE
Coach Britson has a senior dominated squad that should beat last year's win total. The losses along the O and D lines are heavy and they also lose 900 + yard srusher Matt Arthur.
MV has a pretty tough schedule ahead of them again but they have some games on their schedule that I expect them to win and I call for them to win more than last year's two games.
Key Returners: TE Robert Chung, DB Blaise Deal, LB Anthony Moya
Cortez- Cortez struggled to an 0-10 record last year. Five of those loses were by 14 or less but the offense was also held to 14 or less in 8 games. They have no where to go but up and they have some quality players coming back but getting above .500 with their schedule will be difficult.
Key Losses: WR/DB Thomas Gray, RB Ethan Felix
Key Returners: DL Chris Groth, LB Anthony Chairez, OL Lorin Mowery, QB Ryan Donelson
QB- Sean Renfree- Notre Dame
RB- Pat Foley (JR)- Notre Dame
RB- Tyrese McGruder-
WR- Victor Gamez-
WR- Brandon Hirneise- Notre Dame
OL- Dustin Freitag- Greenway
OL- Pete Zistas- Notre Dame
OL- Gwaine Little- Washington
OL- Blair Tushaus- (SO)- Notre Dame
OL- Lorin Mowery- Cortez
K- Juan Valadez- Glendale
Return- Tyrese McGruder-
DL- Kharyee Marshall (JR)-
DL- Garrett Riggio (JR)- Notre Dame
DL- Deshaun Anderson-
DL- Chris Groth- Cortez
LB- Brenin Brooks- Greenway
LB- Shaun Ramirez- Notre Dame
DB- Andy Wilder (JR)- Notre Dame
DB- Tyrese McGruder-
DB- Corbin Jones (JR)- Greenway
P- Andy Wilder (JR)- Notre Dame
Coach of the Year- Scot Bemis- Notre Dame
Offensive Player of the Year- Sean Renfree- QB- Notre Dame
Defensive Player of the Year- Brenin Brooks- LB- Greenway
1. Sean Renfree- QB- Notre Dame
2. Austin Briehl- TE- Notre Dame
3. Brenin Brooks- LB/TE- Greenway
4. Kharyee Marshall (JR)-
5. Victor Gamez- WR- Washington
6. Tyrese McGruder- RB/CB-
7. Andy Wilder- WR/DB/P- Notre Dame
8. Garrett Riggio (JR)- DE- Notre Dame
9. Pat Foley (JR)- RB- Notre Dame