5A Fiesta Region Preview
Absolute brutal region that borders on unfair. Every week these teams are playing in playoff-like games in what is likely the toughest region in the state once again. Hamilton seeks paydirt once again, but it's path will be quite a bit rockier with a very talented Chandler squad waiting to dethrone the defending 5A1 state champs. Brophy will be very young, but very talented. Another run to the state title game by Mesa this year would be even more shocking as they have suffered key losses. Desert Vista and Red Mountain are never programs to look past or you could tagged with a loss. All six of these teams could make the playoffs
4. Red Mountain
6. Desert Vista
Brophy- A combination of graduation, and smaller than usual numbers among the senior and junior classes, has opened up the door for a host of sophomores to compete for varsity jobs for the 2010 edition of Brophy.
And they aren't just any sophomores.
The group, headlined by quarterback Tyler Bruggman and standout receiver Devon Allen, are coming off a 10-0 freshman campaign that ended with several being elevated to varsity for the final contest and the playoffs.
Competition between Bruggman and junior incumbent QB Chase Knox was been neck and neck but Know decided to transfer after Burggman was named the starter.
Opposite Allen will be Josh Dennard. The duo will form what could end up being one of the best WR tandems in the state when all is said and done. Both Kevin Malloy and sophomore Marche Dennard will try to fill the shoes of the departed Princeton bound Max Leonesio.
Defensively, linebacker Ethan Cooper will anchor a defense that was hit hard by graduation but will still have plenty of athleticism. Dennard and Joe Maggi will lead the secondary while sophomore Robert Relf brings huge intensity to the linebacker corps.
Key Returners: WR/DB Josh Dennard, QB/WR Chase Knox, WR Devon Allen, OL Kevin Harris, LB Ethan Cooper, RB Kevin Malloy
Chandler- While quarterback Brett Hundley is the definite key to the Wolves' chances of finally leapfrogging their pesky neighbor Hamilton; he won't be a lone wolf this year.
Hundley's legs and arm figure to attract most of the attention from Chandler's opponents, but if they sleep on his teammates, there will be a price to pay.
One of those big checks that could get cashed regularly will be by the speedy Oshae Hatcher. After an injury early in his junior year limited him to very few reps, the senior is ready to take a huge load off of Hundley and stress all future defenses the Wolves' will face (written prior to this week's season ending injury). Michael Okonkwo figures to be one of Hundley's favorite receiving targets after an above average junior season.
Hundley, whose national reputation skyrocketed after a very productive junior year, appears to have narrowed his college choices down to Washington and UCLA. He will announce his decision on Sept. 6th.
Hundley's sense of urgency to win the big one this year is much the same as head coach Jim Ewan's goal. The longtime coach is retiring after the season, so this will be the last shot at knocking off Hamilton and hopefully winning that elusive state title in the process.
As dangerous as the Wolves' will be offensively, their defense will be vastly improved from a year ago. Defensive end bookends Terrell Patton and new transfer Kisima Jagne (from Ceasar Chavez) are set to wreak havoc in the opposition's backfield, while Jamal Vargas returns from a productive junior year to patrol the secondary.
Key Returners: QB Brett Hundley, RB Oshae Hatcher, DL Terrell Patton, DL Kisima Jagne, WR Michael Okonkwo, OL Zach Hemmila, DE Ijeoma Idigwe
Desert Vista- Much like region foe Brophy, the Desert Vista program is loaded with talent on the sophomore level. Unlike the Broncos, however, the program will likely struggle with a lack of depth this upcoming season while coach Dan Hinds gets his kiddie corps ready for future state championship runs.
While they are not deep, the team does possess some great athleticism with speedy Mike Ingrassia set to play both ways (safety and receiver) along with junior stud linebacker Michael Arredondo and Sean Coffinger (defensive end).
Arredondo will also play a key role on offense as a running back, behind Jalen Bibbs (OL/DL) and crew. Coffinger will double as a tight end.
Key Returners: LB/RB Michael Arredondo, DB/WR Mike Ingrassia, LB/TE Sean Coffinger, OL/DL Jalen Bibbs
Hamilton- Any school that loses the talent Hamilton did to graduation last year figures to be in some sort of rebuilding mode.
Hamilton has done just that, rebuilding it's team to be possibly better than the last-- if you can believe that.
Starting with a giant-size offensive line that many believe might wind up being the best in state history, the Huskies look to build on their perfect slate from a year ago and a potential third straight 5A 1 championship in the process.
Having University of Texas-bound Christian Westerman alone makes the front five very formidable. But start throwing in 6-foot-6 Tyler Johnstone and transfer John Archuleta, now you have the makings of something very special.
The one who figures to benefit the most from the massive front is quarterback Kyren Poe, who has the wheels to make plays and will have some time to throw the ball a bit as well.
Defensively, Tyler Rutt (LB), Shaq Jenkins (DL) and Cedric Parker (DB) all performed very well last year but will need to step up even bigger to cover for the huge losses of Tevin Hood (DL), Ben Peters (LB) and Devon Carrington (DB). Getting DB/WR Malcolm Holland back from Chandler is huge.
Finding athletes has never been a problem for Hamilton, and this year figures to be no different.
Key Returners: QB Kyren Poe, OL Christian Westerman, OL Tyler Johnstone, DL Shaq Jenkins, DB Cedric Parker, LB Tyler Rutt, WR Tanner Clay, DB Malcolm Holland
Mesa- The 2009 season was a definite roller coaster but finished nicely for the Jackrabbits. Can we expect a repeat for 2010?
Last year, after finishing next to last in the regular season's standings, Mesa managed to shock all comers in the playoffs, making it all the way to the 5A 1 state title game opposite Fiesta Region foe Hamilton.
This year, Mesa will need to overcome not only losses to graduation, but some other very key losses as well.
A few players that were expected back left the program, while Coach Kelly Moore waits on pins and needles to see if his all state defensive standout Tony Vaitafa will be academically eligible at the start of the season.
Two with giant potential are RB Marquis Pharrams and DE Aulelio Olomua who should have impact on either side of the ball. Olomua tore up 2A ball last year; playing at Red Mesa he recorded 23 sacks. If he can be half as productive, he will be an all-state pick.
Key Returners: LB Tony Vaitafa, RB Geoff Turnbull, DL/TE Aulelio Olomua, OL Fernando Fungia, RB/DB Marquis Pharrams
Red Mountain- Red Mountain started 2009 off right, winning their first five games. They hit hard times and lost the next four and needed a 27-21 win over Desert Vista to get into the playoffs. They lost in the first round to Mesa.
Long time head coach Jim Jones is gone and Ron Wisniewski takes over and has put together a great staff.
They have a three way race at QB and a position change may be in order to whoever doesn't win the job.
Key Returners: WR/DB Jacob Tune, WR Elizha Cordova
Coach of the Year- Steve Belles – Hamilton
Offensive Player of the Year- Brett Hundley – QB Chandler
Defensive Player of the Year- Tyler Rutt – LB Hamilton
Top 20 Players
1. Christian Westerman – OT Hamilton
2. Brett Hundley- QB Chandler
3. Tyler Rutt- LB Hamilton
4. Tyler Johnstone – OL Hamilton
5. Malcolm Holland – WR/DB Hamilton
6. Cedric Parker – DB Hamilton
7. Kyren Poe – QB Hamilton
8. Shaq Jenkins – DL Hamilton
9. Tony Vaitafa – LB Mesa
10. Aulelio Olomua – TE/DE Mesa
11. Josh Dennard – WR/DB Brophy
12. Tanner Clay – WR Hamilton
13. Oshae Hatcher- RB Chandler
14. Zach Hemmila – OL Chandler
15. Michael Okonkwo – WR Chandler
16. Jacob Tune – WR/DB Red Mountain
17. Terrell Patton – DE Chandler
18. Ethan Cooper – LB Brophy
19. Tyler Bruggman – QB Brophy
20. Devon Allen – WR Brophy