Note: This article includes schools in the writer’s area of coverage, which is as follows: from Fountain Hills west through Scottsdale, all of Phoenix (except for Ahwatukee), the southwest, northwest and northern sections of the metro area. Other locales include northern, northeast and northwest Arizona. Most of this information was obtained from e-mail questionnaires returned by the coaches.
There is no denying that much of the football power in Division I is located in the southeast Valley. Fifteen of the division’s 29 teams call the SEV home.
That won’t, however, prevent this area’s teams from giving it their best shot.
A good example of that was the defensive opening-night struggle between Phoenix Brophy Prep and Scottsdale Desert Mountain.
Desert Mountain appeared to have all the offensive cards in its favor, particularly with a nationally ranked quarterback and wide receiver. But Brophy Prep kept the air game under control and the Wolves off the scoreboard until there were nine seconds left in the game in a 13-6 victory.
Brophy now continues with one of the toughest schedules in the state by traveling to face D-I defending champion Chandler Hamilton.
Senior Brian Woodward leads the way for Brophy at quarterback and safety.
Desert Mountain’s top players are quarterback Kyle Allen and receiver Mark Andrews.
Keep an eye on Avondale Westview. The Knights opened with a 55-41 over San Diego Westview in California last weekend.
Westview coach Jeff Bowen lists his top players as quarterback/free safety Kordell Provchy, linebacker Richie Miranda, defensive end Cody Carrel and offensive lineman Christian Balderas.
Anthem Boulder Creek had 12 returning starters and played Mesa Mountain View tough before falling 24-19.
The Jaguars are led by junior strong safety/running back Ryan Parenteau, senior linebacker/running back Isaiah Birkel and junior two-way lineman Nathan Eldridge.
Former defensive coordinator Jason Randels takes over as head coach and offensive coordinator at Goodyear Millennium. His first game and the team’s first game in D-I was a success with a 37-34 win over Phoenix North Canyon in triple overtime.
The Tigers are strong up front and with their running backs and have surprising speed, but will need to shore up the defense after several players graduated.
The team’s top players are senior safety/wide receiver Aaron Diggs, senior wide receiver Joseph Pina, senior running back Adam Tomayo, senior linebacker Dillon Burch, senior outside linebacker/tight end Gauge Moody, and linemen C.J. Ruacho, Kahlil Beasley and Dyson Dandurand.
Some of the area’s other top players according to azcentral.com are . . .
Phoenix North linebacker Alex Gutierrez, Surprise Valley Vista wide receiver Terry Juniel, Phoenix Maryvale linebacker Cesar Ledezma, Desert Mountain defensive back Gary McKay, Brophy defensive back Zach Kotoske, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor lineman Larry Alvarez, Phoenix Pinnacle running back Josh Hoekstra and offensive lineman Jake Grant, Glendale Mountain Ridge lineman Troy Kowalski, Phoenix Horizon wide receiver/punter Spencer Marciniak and North Canyon wide receiver Bryant O’Georgia.