4A2 East Sky Region
Five of the six teams that will play varsity this year made the playoffs last year, Each team has heavy losses and I would not be surprised to see any number of teams walk away with the region crown.
2. Queen Creek
5. Seton Catholic
7. Perry- no varsity
8. Williams Field- no varsity
Higley- Higley had a nice year last year and not many people expected it. They went 11-3 and two of those loses came to Queen Creek and one of those was in the state title game. The other loss was to a very good Apache Junction team. They will get a rematch with QC in week one.
Higley benefited from some good breaks, they won 9 games by 14 points or less and while they don't lose a ton, they do not have a lot of star power returning. Tito Gonzales was an all region linebacker and also was effective in the backfield last year. He looks to be the leader on both sides of the ball.
I don't know if they can win 11 games again but they have a number of winnable games on their schedule and they will push for the region title. A week 10 match-up with Queen Creek should be for the title.
Key Losses: OL/DL Gannon Conway, TE Nic Serrano, WR/DB Jake Gaylord, DL Derek Villegas, RB Hector Hernandez, OL Mike Blue
Key Returners: LB Tito Gonzales, DB Alex Jentzen
QC faces a difficult schedule that could be hard on all of the new faces.
Key Losses: RB/LB David Hollis, QB Dayton Jones, DB John Reed, DE Casey Lincoln, WR Jesse Hanna, DL Derek Buttars
Key Returners: OL Ian Spencer, DL Neal Peterson, LB Tod Workman, LB Jake Goddard
Coronado- The Dons went 4-6 in the regular
season and almost played spoiler to
Depth may be the biggest concern as they will field a team of under 30 players. But of those 30, they return to of the region's top players in RB Travis Huff and QB Skylar Glessing. Huff rushed for 1400 yards last year and will be counted upon heavily to eat some clock and give his defense a rest.
If they can stay healthy, I think
Key Losses: OL Chris Berry, WR Nolan Lamb, DB Gerald Delacruz, LB Eddie Trujillo, LB Jared Schembri, DE Robert Dail, K/P Tyler Bair, DL Vail Cloar, RB Matt Beltran
Key Returners: RB Travis Huff, QB Skylar Glessing
Arcadia- Arcadia is another team that was
very good last year. They went 9-3 and lost their three games by a total of 21
points. But they lose the vast majority of their offense in RB Chip Sivak and QB
Alec McDuffie, in fact
Coach Bevell is a very good coach and I am sure that he will have the Titans on track. But can they win 9 games again? That will be tough with all of the newcomers but I would not doubt if they have a winning season.
Key Losses: RB Chip Sivak, QB Alec McDuffie, OL/DL Alex Lopez, WR Joey Dickinson, DB Phil Carroll, DL Charlie Simon, LB Tommy Demichelle, DB Jon Colton, WR Steve Hill, DT Chris Lopez
Seton Catholic- Last season Seton went 11-1 and
lost to Wickenburg in the playoffs. This year they move up to 4A2 and the move
itself is difficult as it is but they also drew a tough schedule with over half
of their opponents making the playoffs last year. Former head coach Pete
Wahlheim took the job at
Coach Schenks says this about making the jump to 4A2, "I look forward to the jump to 4A, and we have the right attitude going into the season. The players are excited and look forward to the challenge in front of them."
Schenks sites discipline and work ethic as the strengths of his team and feels that LB Jon McDonald and DB Nick Gleisner are two of his top players. Both made all city by the Tribune.
Schenks also feels that his team was competitive against bigger schools in passing league this summer and looks for OL Justin Hendrickson, WR/DB Chris Baker, QB/DB Lucas McCarville and RB/LB Corey Vaughn to be pleasant surprises.
This has been a quality 3A team in the past and although they face a tough schedule, I expect Seton Catholic to be competitive.
Key Losses: K Eric Keilty, RB Nick Samuels, P Joe Koestner, DL Pat Sullivan, DL Matt Polowski, HC Pete Walheim
Key Returners: LB John McDonald, DB Nick Gleisner, HC Rodger Schenks
Tempe- No one will deny it,
Coach Rodriguez says, "We will still be young, but at least we return about 14 players who all received quality time for us last year. We are in much better shape overall as the majority of our kids lifted this winter, spring and summer."
Back on offense will be QB Pedro Rubio. Rodriguez says that Rubio had a "great off-season". His main target looks to be junior Jacob Miranda. What hurts is the Buffaloes top three rushers are gone as well as their top OLs Forrest Decuir and Sean McPhearson.
The defense returns some players and Rodriguez points to his d-line as being one of the strengths of the team. LBs Billy Hammel and David Johnson combined for 105 tackles and DE Jordan Wilson pitched in a couple of sacks last year as a sophomore.
Key Losses: WR/DB George Whittle, OL/DL Forrest Decuir, TE Darrell Johnson, RB Brandon Ford, RB Isaac Smith, OL Sean McPhearson, LB Reggie Lopez
Key Returners: DL Dayne Darden, LB Billy Hammel, QB Pedro Rubio, TE/DE Bernis Berber, LB David Johnson, WR/DB Jacob Miranda
Perry- Have named former
Williams Field- Former McClintock head coach Steve Campbell has been named their first head coach but they will not play varsity either.
Coach of the Year- Jim Beall- Higley
Offensive Player of the Year- Travis Huff- RB- Coronado
Defensive Player of the Year- Tito Gonzales- LB- Higley
4A2 East Sky Region Top 5 Players
1. Tito Gonzalez- LB- Higley
2. Ian Spencer- OL- Queen Creek
3. Travis Huff- RB- Coronado
4. Skylar Gessing- QB- Coronado
5. Trey Gray- QB- Higley