4A2 Gila Region
Sahuarita moves up from 3A, Amphi moves down from 4A1, winless Santa Rita gets a legendary coach and the other teams hovered just under .500 last year. I think Palo Verde is the clear cut favorite to win this region but I think anything can happen with the other teams. I will not be bashful and say that my predictions could be way off by the year's end.
1. Palo Verde
2. Santa Rita
Palo Verde- PV went 7-4 and undefeated in region play last year. With 16 lettermen returning, all expectations are for them to repeat as region champs. Two of those 16 are my top two players in the region in DL Jon McCroy and WR Adam Hall. Both were first team all region last year. They face a schedule in which less than half of their opponents were playoff teams last year and matching last year's 7 win totoal would not surprise me.
Key Losses: RB Ronnell Grant, OL Ahmad Taleb, DB Josh Robinette
Key Returners: WR Adam Hall, DL Jonathan McCroy, DB Andric Queen-Booker, OT Durrell Palmer, TE Mike Rodriguez, DB Robert Grant
Santa Rita- Santa Rita had some hard luck last year and went 0-10. Only two of those losses were by more than 30 points though (Sahuaro and Sabino). New head coach Jeff Scurran is no stranger to building programs. He helped Sabino to three state titles and started the program at Pima CC.
SR returns 12 lettermen and has a good mix of upper and lower classmen to play with. Will they make it to the playoffs? That is a pretty lofty idea but I think Scurran will show these guys how to compete and do a good job here. They could push .500 as the schedule is not too difficult.
Key Losses: RB Jesse Sarabia, DB Gary Short, LB Billy Miller, HC Louis Nightingale
Key Returners: HC Jeff Scurran, QB Chris Johnson, RB Joe Chuisino, OL Paul Perez, LB Troy Smith
Sahuarita- Sahuarita was a solid 3A program last year. They went 7-4 and lost in the 1st round of the playoffs to Wickenburg. Fourteen lettermen return from that squad. This region isn't all that tough with PV being the only squad that had a winning record last year, so that will help ease their transition into 4A2. I think they can be competitive and surprise some people.
Key Losses: HC Bill Baker
Key Returners: HC Bernie McCall, RB Johnny Bessett, TE Keith Bradley, DT Brian Mansker, WR Jason Goben
Catalina- Catalina went 4-6 and lost three of those games by 10 or less points. They will be young and will turn WR/DB James Eichenberger. He can really run and will be one of the region's top players. I think they can match last year's win total as only 3 teams on their schedule made the playoffs last year and one of them was in 3A.
Key Losses: OL Albert Abalos, RB Cory McQuin, DB Devin Houston, LB Adam Sandoval,
Key Returners: WR/DB James Eichenberger, P Andrew Grant
Douglas- Douglas won their last three straight to salvage an ugly season. They went 4-6 and lost some close games early. They must replace 1000 yard passer Jerry Acosta and 1200 rusher Jacob Tadeo. Senior Gali Aguirre will get the first crack at replacing Tadeo and they will start a sophomore QB. With quite a few sophs and juniors on the roster, this team is young and could have trouble reaching last year's win total.
Key Losses: RB Jacob Tadeo, OL Francisco Eribes, K Jesus Garcia, DL Galo Amavizca, DB Jerry Acosta
Key Returners: TE Charles Hill, OT Aaron Hill,
Amphi- Amphi drops down to 4A2 and they
have been one of
Their schedule looks a little more favorable and I think they will snap their losing streak.
Key Losses: DL Michael Maestas, OL John Hall, DB Tyler Hayden
Key Returners: K Jose Atilano, RB Ronald Hopper, QB Andy Humphries, LB Orson Lor, LB Bobby Vargas, WR Emilio Viramontes, DB Sammy Flores
Key Losses: OL Albert Dauz, WR Keith Jacobs,
Key Returners: DB Robert McCarty, P Garrison Dewitt
Coach of the Year- Todd Mayfield- Palo Verde
Offensive Player of the Year- Andy Hall (JR)- WR- Palo Verde
Defensive Player of the Year- Jonathan McCroy- DL- Palo Verde
4A2 Gila Region Top 5 Players
1. Jonathan McCroy- DL- Palo Verde
2. Adam Hall (JR)- WR- Palo Verde
3. James Eichenberger- WR- Catalina
4. Robert McCarty (JR)- DB- Rio Rico
5. Andric Queen-Booker- DB- Palo Verde