5A Northwest Region Preview
While Sandra Day O'Connor looks to repeat its 2009 playoff appearance, look for Boulder Creek to have a huge say as to who wins the region.
Boulder Creek returns several key performers, including standout RB Mike Contreras while Sandra Day O'Connor returns has double digit starters coming back from the stellar 2009 squad.
If PJ Sparks is touching the ball for Mountain Ridge, something he will do numerous times a game, the opposition better have their collective heads on a swivel or it will spell trouble.
Deer Valley ushers in the Joe Kersting era, while Barry Goldwater will be doing battle with a plethora of highly talented underclassman.
Valley Vista and Kingman have key offensive weapons returning with experience to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
1. Boulder Creek
2. Mountain Ridge
3. Sandra Day O'Connor
4. Willow Canyon
5. Deer Valley
6. Barry Goldwater
7. Valley Vista
Barry Goldwater: Goldwater lost a lot to graduation, but the cupboard seems to be restocking with a number of underclassman like stud offensive lineman Andrew Torres. Kayler Ray will lead his troops at the quarterback position, while running backs Chris LaCorte and Phillip Lang will surely add some fire power.
Key Losses: DB Matt Perez, DL Andrew Braslawsce, LB Garrett Parenteau, RB/LB Cody Lambson, DB Nick Cleland, LB Andrew Cleland
Key Returners: OL Tyler Martin, OL Andrew Torres, QB Kayler Ray, RB/LB Chris LaCorte, RB Phillip Lang
Boulder Creek: This team is primed for big things. Mike Contreras is back for his 3rd varsity season at running back, teaming with quarterback Trevor Bonifasi and RB Phillip Bayus to form what will likely be one of the more explosive offenses around. And with Zack Brown, Austin Farnlof, Tayler Reber and company on the defensive side of the ball, scoring points will be very difficult for the opposition this season.
Key Losses: OL Mario Lugo, OL Brandon Diep, DB Tristan Draper
Key Returners: DL/TE Zack Brown, LB Sean Pratt, OL/DL Austin Farnlof, RB Mike Contreras, LB Tayler Reber, QB Trevor Bonifasi, RB Phillip Bayus
Deer Valley: Legendary coach Joe Kersting hopes to bring his past success from Glendale Community College, to a program that produces great athletes year in and year out. This season is no different, as track standout Trae Armstrong will utilize his gift of amazing speed at running back this season. Armstrong will team with quarterback Austin Hillman to create a one-two combo that will keep the opposition on their toes. Defensively, Austin Finley (LB) and Stephen Arnold (DL) will anchor what will be a very stingy defense.
Key Losses: RB Hayden McClellan, OL Scott Brueckner, WR Jacob Doyle, DB Erik Sanchez, LB Brandon Witkowski, LB DeAndre Daniels, DB Jamar Allah, OL Travis Seefeldt
Key Returners: RB Trae Armstrong, QB Austin Hillman, LB Austin Finley, OL/DL Stephen Arnold
Kingman: This once storied program has been on the downswing for a number of years but their luck looks to be changing soon. With an offense led by seniors Dylan Smith (quarterback), Danny Gonzalez (wide receiver) and Jesse Hollingsworth (running back), this team should be highly competitive every game. But it is the dedication at the lower levels, especially the incoming frosh class that has the future looking very bright.
Key Losses: OL Josh Campbell, DL Zack Clough, LB Jeremy Alder
Key Returners: DB/WR Danny Gonzalez, RB/DB Jesse Hollingsworth, QB Dylan Smith
Mt. Ridge: Anytime you start your offense with an electric player such as P.J. Sparks, you are already ahead of the game. This is the starting point for Mountain Ridge. Add in quarterback Hunter Young and some very talented receivers in Joshua Skadeland and Jonathan Matter and headaches loom for any defense. And it doesn't end there. Defensively, Lucas Gardona (DB), Cameron Fortuna (DB), Jesse Brown (DL) and standout Spencer Hammitt (LB) key a defense that will very tough to score on. This balanced offense and defense recipe sets the state for a possible region champion.
Key Losses: OL/DL Marshall Kabat, WR/DB Calvin Martin, OL Wade Wright
Key Returners: RB P.J. Sparks, QB Hunter Young, DB Lucas Gardona, DB Cameron Fortuna, DL Jesse Brown, LB Spencer Hammitt, WR Jon Matter
Sandra Day O'Connor: Johnny Rodriguez shocked the state last year, turning in one of the best performances of the 2009 season. Gone is region offensive player of the year Dexter Bethers and do it all back Blaze Almon. Replacing those two is key but Rodriguez benefits with the return of all-region performers Richard Little, Matt Mcelroy and Eddy Beuerlin.
Repeating 2009 will be difficult but this is a team that could still contend for a region crown.
Key Losses: QB Dexter Bethers, DB/WR Blaze Almon
Key Returners: OL Richard Little, RB George Krastev, DL Tom DeVito, LB Eddy Beuerlein, LB Matt McElroy, QB Brendan Erickson
Willow Canyon: With arguably the two best offensive weapons in the region in stud running back Garrick Shelton and kicker extraordinaire (and quarterback) Jordon Stangler, it would be a major mistake to count out Willow Canyon in any game. Both of these skill guys are joined by a number of other athletes to form one of the better up and coming programs in the West Valley.
Key Losses: OL Devin Dashnaw, DB Derek Garcia, DL Steve McIntosh, LB Adrian Dew, TE Jason McAuley, LB Blaine Pinkman
Key Returners: QB/K Jordon Stangler, RB Garrick Shelton, C Taylor Hurst, DB Streeter Turner, WR Andrew Perez
Valley Vista: At first glance, observers might not give the Monsoon much of a chance to win this very tough region. But observations are in the eyes of the beholder and a new season breeds new confidence.
Valley Vista returns QB Diante Richardson (back up last season), as well as some key linemen and that is just for starters. They will be young, no doubt, but the chances of improving on last year's 4-6 record seem very realistic.
Coach of the Year: Dan Friedman - Boulder Creek
Offensive Player of the Year: Garrick Shelton - RB Willow Canyon
Defensive Player of the Year: Zack Brown - DL Boulder Creek
Top 10 Players
1. Garrick Shelton - RB Willow Canyon
2. Zack Brown – TE/DE Boulder Creek
3. P.J. Sparks - RB Mountain Ridge
4. Mark Grant – DE Valley Vista
5. Phillip Bayus – RB Boulder Creek
6. Mike Contreras - RB Boulder Creek
7. Trae Armstrong - RB Deer Valley
8. Jordon Stangler - QB/K Willow Canyon
9. Streeter Turner – CB Willow Canyon
10. Trevor Bonafasi – QB Boulder Creek