Here it comes. When Phoenix Alhambra’s football team lines up on offense, you just know the Lions will run the ball.
The team has averaged about 3,500 yards on the ground the last few seasons, according to long-time coach Frank Lautt.
But as much as Lautt and his squad like to grind it out, they also know that it will help to open things up if they can throw the ball every now and then.
That’s part of the objective in the team’s participation in a passing competition for Phoenix Union High School District schools on Tuesdays in June at Betty H. Fairfax High in Laveen. This week (June 24) will be the final installment, with an actual tournament beginning at approximately 6 p.m.
Lautt’s team wears red jerseys as well as interesting red headgear. It looks like a cross between a Lego figure and a boxer or maybe a hockey player.
The Lions would like to show everyone that they are more substance than style as they get ready to enter the new season in Division III.
“We are improving,’’ Lautt said.
The coach said the team will rely on a pair of junior slotbacks, Lakel Davis and Jesus Velazquez. Incoming senior Eric Lopez has shown improvement at quarterback. Senior running back Marquis Bray is expected to get a lot of carries.
“I think we’re going to be good defensively,’’ Lautt said.
“In the summer, we want to keep it simple but do enough so that everybody knows what to expect.’’
Alhambra’s linemen also have been busy in the weight room and that should help to bring stability on both sides of the ball.
As they have for the last 15 years, the Lions will head to Show Low in late July/early August for their preseason camp.