4A1 Western Sky Region Preview
Apollo looks like the team to beat in 2010 after going 10-2 and making a strong playoff run. Surprisingly, they did not win the region in 2009, Independence did and while they lose some quality players, expect them to be in the mix. Shadow Mountain welcomes in a new HC and the rest of the region seems wide open.
5. Moon Valley
6. Shadow Mountain
Apollo- The Hawks will look to emulate last season’s great start of 8-0 as this season is set to get underway.
It will be hard to repeat the start they had last year and HC Zach Threadgill knows his team will not sneak up on anyone. First order of business will be replacing dynamic running back Kyran Smith. It looks as though their JV RB from last year is the front runner for the job. But easing the pain is the return of dual-threat QB Jon Brown. He was spectacular last year as a sophomore and surprisingly was not an all-region pick. He will have one of the state’s top receiving duos in the state to throw to with David Gonzalez and Chrisdeon Ayiyi back.
Ayiyi also is a force on defense and the Hawks return defensive back Aaron Burnett who led the team in tackles with 111 last season.
A loss to Independence kept them from winning the region title last year but the Hawks are loaded and look like the favorite in 2010.
Key Losses: Kyran Smith (RB), Malcolm Trevino (LB)
Key Returners: Jon Brown (QB), Chrisdeon Ayiyi (WR/DB), David Gonzalez (WR), Aaron Burnett (DB) and Kyle Eleveld (OL), Zach Wilson (DL)
Glendale- The Cardinals will be looking to bounce back after a horrific ending to last season where they lost their last eight games.
They lost Donald McGruder who carried the load offensively for them but have a solid offensive linemen in Edward Khunen back; who will be desperately needed to help their new running back.
Defensively they will need a huge team effort to fix the problems they had last season where they gave up 40+ points six times.
Key Losses: Donald McGruder (RB), Victor Radakovic (K), Marlo Gunter (DB) and Alex Villegas (LB)
Key Returners: Edward Kuhnen (OL)
Independence- The Patriots got hot last season going on a six game winning streak that got them into the quarterfinals and helped them win the region crown. They were stopped by Saguaro and will be trying to get back to the playoffs despite losing many players key to last season’s success.
They lost three 1st Team All-Region selections from a year ago but returning for them is Shai Harris at defensive back, who was a ball hawk for them last year and will be the key to their defense.
Also returning for them is linemen David Aguilar who will look to make big impacts on both sides of the ball as a two way starter.
Not many expected the Patriots to do what they did in 2009, can they do it again?
Key Losses: Tyler Peoples (QB), Brandon Kelly (LB), Martin Woods (OL), Chris Baker (RB) and Travis Parker (DB).
Key Returners: Shai Harris (DB), Ryan Esposito (WR), David Aguilar (OL/DL)
Moon Valley- The Rockets will look to start this season off better; after they started the last season off rough going 1-4 with one of those losses coming at the hands of a team from the lower 3-A division but did manage to finish with two strong wins against conference opponents.
The offense will look to lineman Vi Teofilo to lead their team. At 6-3 and 295 pounds he is a big man who can make some great holes for their running attack to take advantage of. He was the state’s heavy weight wrestling champ and holds two Pac 10 offers.
Defensively they will have Carlos Chiang returning to the defensive backfield. He is returning after a season that got him 50 tackles, 1 interception and being named a 1st Team All-Region last year.
Key Losses: Randy Gomez (DL), Sherrode Simmons (LB), Joachim Sogn (K), Mike Dewitt (LB)
Key Returners: Vi Teofilo (OL) and Carlos Chiang (DB)
Prescott- The Badgers will look to new leaders to carry the team as last years offensive weapons are gone.
They have lost the Western Sky Region offensive player of the year in Brian Scates as well as offensive weapon Aaron Gronwald. They will have to look to unproven talent offensively but I am long time head coach Lou Beneitone will be ready to reload.
Defensively they are returning a stud at linebacker, Luke Berve who racked up 87 tackles last season.
Prescott went 5-5 last year and had several close losses, this is a team that could surprise in ’10.
Key Losses: Brian Scates (RB), Aaron Gronwald (WR) and Vince Coladowns (OL), John Vicente (DL)
Key Returners: Luke Berve (LB)
Shadow Mountain: Long time Scottsdale Community College assistant Mike Giovando takes over for Josh Secoch, now the DC at Valley Vista. Giovando was the OC at Desert Mountain last year and is partly responsible for their great ’09 season. He will have a big test in his debute as a HC against Notre Dame Prep that should give him a good measuring point for 2010.
Ian Talbot is a name you should be prepared to hear often at Matador games. He had the second most tackles for the team last year with 94 and will be in on plenty of plays this year as he looks to be the anchor to a defensive unit that will need to hold opponents to minimal points.
There is a lot of work to do here and wins will not come easy but I like what I saw from this team in the off-season and beating last season’s 2-8 record is a distinct possibility.
Key Losses: Sam Hefner (RB), Josh Sekoch (HC)
Key Returners: Ian Talbot (LB), Cameron Bailey (OL), Ian Juede (ATH), Sean Murray (K)
Sunnyslope: The Vikings will look to their quarterback to guide them to a much improved record from a season ago. The Vikings went just 2-8 last year and four-year varsity starting QB Ben Maraz is undoubtedly the leader of this team
The strong-armed Maraz was named to the Western Sky All-Region 2nd Team last season after he completed about 55% of his passes and will look to have fewer interceptions than last season (10) in order for his Vikings to have a chance at reaching the playoffs.
Sunnyslope lost quality linemen on both sides of the ball and will be in need of someone to protect Maraz on offense and to stop the run on defense if they plan on playing in the post season.
Key Losses: Jesse Milleson (DL/TE), Sam Montini (DL) and Michael Bolinger (RB), Jesse McGrath (RB)
Key Returners: Ben Maraz (QB), Daniel Ascensio (P)
Coach of the Year- Zach Threadgill – Apollo
Offensive Player of the Year- Jon Brown – QB Apollo
Defensive Player of the Year- Aaron Burnett – DB Apollo
Top 5 Players
1. Vi Teofilo – OL Moon Valley
2. Jon Brown – QB Apollo
3. Ben Maraz – QB Sunnyslope
4. Chrisdeon Ayiyi – WR/DB Apollo
5. David Gonzales – WR Apollo