It has been a spring of adjustment for the football program at Phoenix Paradise Valley.
The Trojans’ long-time coach and PV alumnus Donnie Yantis left to start the NAIA program at nearby Arizona Christian University from scratch.
Not long after, in mid-February, it was announced that Greg Davis would be taking Yantis’ place after three years as the field boss at Cave Creek Cactus Shadows. Davis will remain as a teacher at Cactus Shadows through the end of the school year, then become a teacher at PV in the fall.
This week marks the third and final week of spring ball for PV and Davis has been encouraged by what he has seen.
“Things have been going great for us,’’ said Davis. “It is bittersweet to leave a place that you enjoyed for a rival school. But the kids here have embraced the ideas the coaching staff has brought in and we have had good numbers.
“We have about 82 kids out and we are excited to see how hard they are working and the pride they have in their school.’’
Davis faces a different kind of situation than others who are taking over a program.
In most cases, the predecessor leaves for another high school, with not a lot of information shared with the new man.
But in this case, Yantis is not going to a high school, but to a university and has offered Davis words of encouragement in the early going.
“Donnie and I are good friends and we have had many conversations about football the last few years,’’ Davis said. “When I was at Cactus Shadows, we game-planned for PV, so we know a little bit about the players already. It is good to have that prior knowledge. Donnie is a great resource to have.’’
That doesn’t mean that Davis’ schemes will be a carbon copy of what Yantis implemented.
Davis said he will run a spread offense like Yantis did, but with “a few twists and turns.’’
“Donnie ran the spread with the “air-raid’ formations. We will also run the spread, but be more run-oriented.’’
The defense will switch to a 3-4, and some players who played on offense last season likely will see more time on defense.
Zach Compenstine, a senior-to-be, played mostly as a receiver last season, but this year will be utilized as an outside linebacker. Max Vankempen, a running back, also will play outside linebacker as a senior.
Davis will take advantage of the athleticism of senior Brenden Best.
“He is a great all-around athlete. You can play him almost anywhere,’’ Davis said.
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, who played well at quarterback as a sophomore, will return, and have a speedy, sure-handed receiving target in Jacob Brown.
Paradise Valley will participate in summer passing leagues before the pre-season team camp July 14-19 in San Ysidro, Calf. (near San Diego), where Davis once served as head coach.