SUNRISE REGION FOOTBALL CAPSULES


SOUTHEAST LEAGUE

BASIC

• Coach: Jeff Cahill, first year

• 2007 record: 5-5 (1-5 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, six defense

• Top players: WR/DE Jeff Pozdol (Sr.); WR/CB Justin Burdno (Sr.); RB/LB Anthony Ireland (Sr.); RB Charles Phillips (Sr.); RB/LB Martell Walker (Sr.)

• Outlook: Cahill takes over for longtime coach Cliff Frazier. Cahill, a 1992 Basic graduate, served as an assistant at Basic since 2002 and will continue using Frazier's spread offense.

Though the Wolves must replace top athlete Greg Henderson and quarterback Josh Ross, the cupboard isn't bare. Receivers Pozdol and Burdno combined to catch more than 50 passes last season and will give new starting quarterback Robbie Faiman experienced targets.

Ireland, Phillips and Walker give the Wolves different looks in the backfield. Walker and Ireland are power runners, with Phillips more of a scat back.

Ireland and Walker also will help on defense as the Wolves try to improve after allowing an average of 29.5 points last season.

Basic's junior varsity team went 8-1 last season, and many of those players will be counted on to help.

CORONADO

• Coach: John Mannion, first year

• 2007 record: 6-5 (4-2 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Not available

• Top players: QB/DB Dane Cooper (Sr.); LB Tyler Tebbs (Sr.); FB/MLB Tao Tai (So.); DE Chris Lyman (Sr.); SS/RB Marcus Garcia (Sr.)

• Outlook: Coronado rallied after a 1-4 start last season to finish third in the Southeast, but Mannion must replace quarterback Brady McManus (1,423 passing yards, 17 TDs) and all-state receiver T.J. Knowles (55 catches, 983 yards, 16 TDs), both of whom graduated.

Also, leading rusher Derek Eamon transferred to Del Sol, leaving the offense with little experience.

Still, Mannion said he thinks the skill positions are a strength. He has gone from last year's spread offense to a two-back set.

Nagging injuries during training camp have hindered the team's progress, but Mannion said Coronado is starting to come together and play as a unit.

DEL SOL

• Coach: Preston Goroff, fifth year (26-19)

• 2007 record: 10-2 (5-1 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Six offense, six defense

• Top players: OT/DE Alex Klorman (Sr.); FB/LB Jon Kirschbaum (Sr.); TE/DE Tim Lawson (Sr.); LB/RB Derek Eamon (Sr.); QB Saei Huihui (Sr.); OL/DL Logan Nester (Sr.); CB/RB Jordan Molina (Sr.); FS Orlando Kelker (Sr.); CB/RB Kenny Lawrence (Sr.)

• Outlook: Though the Dragons lost three all-state linemen from last year's squad, hopes remain high for this season.

Klorman (6-3, 265) and Nester (6-1, 280) give the team plenty of size and experience on the line, and Goroff will look to a stable of running backs to provide offense.

Kirschbaum (661 rushing yards, six TDs) is back at fullback, and Molina (505 yards, six TDs) and Ernest Hall (588 yards, seven TDs) each had strong performances in the second half of last season. Goroff said Coronado transfers Derek Eamon, the leading rusher for the Cougars, and Kenny Lawrence also will see time at running back.

Goroff said he hopes Huihui, who played some tight end a year ago, will make the team a better passing threat. All-state tight end Lawson (31 catches, 579 yards, five TDs) figures to be one of his top targets.

FOOTHILL

• Coach: Marty Redmond, fourth year (20-12)

• 2007 record: 2-7 (2-4 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Four offense, four defense

• Top players: QB Aaron Dupin (Jr.); OT/DE Jake Broyles (Sr.); OG Matt Westover (Jr.); OG Hunter Cano (Jr.); DL Ikaika Dix (Sr.); DE Tyler Harris (Sr.); LB Corey Shaw (Sr.); RB Algernon Sewell (Sr.)

• Outlook: The Falcons long had been the team to beat in the Southeast but struggled through a dismal 2007 campaign.

Redmond said he thinks this year's team can re-emerge as a contender, especially as teams focus on Silverado and Del Sol in the league. Improved team speed could be the key for the Falcons.

"We have some more athletic kids," Redmond said. "And character-wise, these kids are top notch."

Redmond said Dupin has improved at quarterback, and the line should be a strength led by the 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound Broyles. Redmond called Broyles "one of the best we've had come through in a while."

GREEN VALLEY

• Coach: Matt Gerber, third year (9-13)

• 2007 record: 4-7 (3-3 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Seven offense, seven defense

• Top players: QB Nick Libonati (Sr.); WR Kyle Larimer (Sr.); DB Derrick Stevens (Sr.); DB Dallas Halasz (Sr.); K Nolan Kohorst (Jr.)

• Outlook: Gerber said he expects to see improvement this season from a Green Valley team with plenty of starting experience and added depth.

The Gators had more than 60 players on the field as practice started, and that added depth has meant better competition in practice. The offensive line should be much improved with four starters back to help protect Libonati.

Libonati, who passed for 833 yards and six TDs as a junior, will need to take a bigger role as the team tries to replace all-state running back Frank Satterfield (1,769 yards, 16 TDs). Larimer (22 catches, 287 yards, four TDs) is back to provide an experienced target, and Gerber said he expects three or four running backs to continue to work into the rotation to start the season.

"I think the talent level is there, it's mentally do we put in the effort the whole season," Gerber said. "There's many teams that fail with great talent. It's teams that constantly put in the extra effort that are going to be the winners and the champions."

LIBERTY

• Coach: Lou Markouzis, sixth year (10-30)

• 2007 record: 1-8 (0-6 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, four defense

• Top players: FB/LB Sage Nua (Sr.); RB/LB Carlos Tautoto (Sr.); RB/LB Ian Jackson (Sr.)

• Outlook: The Patriots have yet to have much success, but Markouzis said he thinks this could be the team's year.

"It's the best that Liberty High School has looked since we've opened," Markouzis said.

The team has more experience than in past years, especially on defense, where Markouzis will lean on linebackers Nua, Tautoto and Jackson to start the season. That trio will need to provide leadership as well as production, defensively and offensively.

Markouzis said the team hopes to complete the first winning season in school history and make the playoffs for the first time.

SILVERADO

• Coach: Andy Ostolaza, second year (10-1)

• 2007 record: 10-1 (6-0 Southeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, six defense

• Top players: RB Terran Madu-Jules (Jr.); WR/DB Michael Wadsworth (Sr.); FB Akeem Saint Victor (Sr.); DE Keenan Graham; LB T.J. Alofipo (Sr.); SS Alex Jones (Sr.); QB Trenton Tipton (Jr.); LB Marcus Mata'u (Jr.); OG Stefano Retis (Sr.); Alex Castellon (Sr.)

• Outlook: The defending league champs return plenty of firepower, especially on the defensive side of the ball. All-state defensive end Graham should lead the Skyhawks, after recording 131/2 sacks and 72 tackles last season. Ostolaza said Graham has scholarship offers from more than 30 schools.

Alofipo, a first-team All-Sunrise pick last season, returns at outside linebacker, and first-team All-Sunrise defensive back Michael Wadsworth also is back. Alofipo has orally committed to Hawaii, and Ostolaza said Wadsworth has offers from Hawaii and Arizona, giving the defense a trio of Division I-caliber players.

On offense, cousins Tipton and Madu-Jules will be the key as the team tries to replace all-state running back Telvin McMillian, who rushed for 1,765 yards last season.

Ostolaza said he thinks Tipton's speed and arm strength will give the offense a new dimension this season and that depth will be key. No players are expected to start both ways.

NORTHEAST LEAGUE

CANYON SPRINGS

• Coach: Chris Littmann, first year

• 2007 record: 9-2 (6-0 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Three offense, three defense

• Top players: WR DeShaun Stewart (Sr.); RB Curtis Davis (Sr.); OL Jimmie Board (Sr.); OL Daniel Samora (Sr.); LB Timmarie Randolph (Sr.); LB J.P. Podmeyer (Sr.)

• Outlook: The Pioneers were one of the area's top teams a year ago, winning the league title and advancing to the Sunrise Region semifinals.

But Canyon Springs, which averaged 44.1 points, must find a way to replace the state's most exciting offensive duo -- quarterback Devonte Christopher and wide receiver Juron Criner.

Christopher, now at Utah, passed for 3,285 yards and 44 TDs and rushed for 526 yards and eight TDs. Criner, who is at Arizona, caught 58 passes for 1,631 yards and 25 scores.

Littmann said he would stay with the team's spread offense but will focus more on the run with Christopher and Criner gone. Stewart gives the team a big-play threat after topping 1,000 receiving yards and scoring 14 TDs last season.

Littman said defense and special teams need to carry the team early.

CHAPARRAL

• Coach: Fernando Carmona, fifth year (11-30)

• 2007 record: 3-8 (2-4 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, four defense

• Top players: OG Jeff Morgan (Sr.); CB Greg Tucker (Jr.); RB Pierre Jones (Sr.); WR Jermal Turner (Sr.); LB Jordan White (Sr.); C Matt Vaught (Sr.); OT Wade Edwards (Sr.)

• Outlook: Gone is two-way all-stater Quentin McCloud, who rushed for 1,420 yards and 16 TDs and had 225 total tackles from his linebacker position.

Counting McCloud, Chaparral lost 18 seniors to graduation. Jones and Palo Verde transfer Isaiah Washington will try to replace McCloud's production at running back. Junior Bre Onte Griffin takes over at quarterback and has Carmona excited about his arm strength and athletic ability.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 290-pound Morgan is back for his fourth year on the varsity and will anchor the line.

Speed will be the key on defense as the Cowboys rely on several members of the Sunrise Region championship track team.

DESERT PINES

• Coach: Paul Bennett, fourth year (13-19)

• 2007 record: 5-6 (4-2 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, seven defense

• Top players: QB Dalton Leilua (Jr.); FB Dennis Scott (Sr.); RB/FS Eric Tuiloma (Jr.); ILB Genesis Faga (Sr.); ILB Julian Yearwood (Jr.); OLB Duante Holmes (Sr.); OLB Keorris Berry (Jr.)

• Outlook: Bennett said he hopes the defensive unit can carry the team, which lost its top two rushers, top two receivers and much of its offensive line.

"Our defense has to be the pride of our team because of all the losses on offense," Bennett said.

The linebackers, anchored by Faga and Holmes, should key the defense. Faga, who missed most of last season because of injury, could be the difference for a team that allowed an average of 25.1 points.

Running back Michael Ball was the team's big offensive threat and now is at UNR. But Bennett points out that Ball missed much of the season because of injury and returning back Eric Tuiloma nearly matched Ball's rushing output.

Leilua has a year of starting experience and passed for 1,323 yards and 12 TDs last year, but the team must replace its top two receivers -- Josh Williams and Kimani Bullard -- who combined for 68 catches.

ELDORADO

• Coach: Leon Evans, first year

• 2007 record: 1-9 (1-5 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Three offense, five defense

• Top players: RB Tone Gatewood (Sr.); WR/DB Ezaevin Williams (Sr.); OL/DL Brandon Lauria (Sr.); TE/LB Darius Smith (Sr.); WR/ DB Steve Van Orden (Sr.); DB Jordan Harrison (Sr.); OL Chris Eliason (Sr.); LB David Tufele (Sr.)

• Outlook: Evans takes over a program that has had little success in recent years, winning a total of five games in the last three seasons.

Evans led Desert Pines to the state title game in 2002 and said changing the losing attitude is the biggest thing.

"They kind of were defeated before they stepped on the field," Evans said. "Now they believe in themselves."

Evans said Gatewood and newcomer DeAndre Smith will give the team two solid options at running back. Senior Charles White, another newcomer who was a key player for the basketball team, gives the squad an athletic target at receiver.

A young offensive line will need to improve quickly for the Sundevils to contend.

LAS VEGAS

• Coach: Chris Faircloth, fifth year (46-11)

• 2007 record: 9-5 (4-2 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Four offense, six defense

• Top players: QB Emir Lopez (Sr.); OL Greg Holotik (Sr.); OL Madison Hales (Sr.); RB Reggie Bullock (Sr.); OL Austin Woo (Jr.); DL Alanzi Langstaff (Sr.); DB Johnny Tagle (Sr.); DL Ray Langston (Sr.): OLB Jordan Hamilton (Sr.); DL Jordan Turner (Jr.)

• Outlook: The Wildcats have won the last five Sunrise Region titles, and there's no reason to think they won't contend again.

Las Vegas must replace leading rusher Robert Hackett (1,160 yards, 10 TDs) and starting quarterback Marvin Campbell (1,837 passing yards, 14 TDs), but help came from the west side of the valley.

Emir Lopez transferred from Sierra Vista and will replace Campbell at quarterback. Lopez passed for 1,592 yards and 12 TDs for the Mountain Lions last year and has the arm to thrive in Las Vegas' spread offense, especially if the team's young receivers improve quickly.

Reggie Bullock transferred from Western to give the Wildcats a big-play threat at running back. The speedy Bullock rushed for 1,356 yards and 12 TDs last season, averaging 10.2 yards per carry. Cimarron-Memorial transfer Kevin Cormier (508 yards) should help in the backfield, too.

The return of 300-pound tackle Langstaff, who missed most of last season because of injury, should help bolster a defense that also returns All-Sunrise Region linebacker Jordan Hamilton.

RANCHO

• Coach: Elvin Dick, first year

• 2007 record: 5-5 (2-4 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, five defense

• Top players: WR/DB Dijon Holman (Sr.); WR/DB Zachary Foulkrod (Sr.); QB/DB James Cammack (Sr.): WR/DB Harvey Yarbrough (Jr.); OL/DL Rodrick Tuisavalalo (Sr.); LB/RB James Korte (Sr.); RB/DB Mack Millender (Sr.); LB/RB Tyquin Coleman (Jr.); OL/DL Thomas McCallister (Sr.); OL/DL Marco Martinez (Sr.)

• Outlook: Dick, who coached at Schurr High School in California last year, takes over a program that got off to a fast start last season before faltering.

The Rams started 4-0 but struggled down the stretch, failing to make the playoffs. After the strong start, Rancho was outscored 202-89 in the next five games before beating Eldorado 38-14 to close the season.

Cammack is back to lead the offense after passing for 1,053 yards a year ago and provides an exciting run-pass option. Dick is counting on his senior quarterback for leadership.

Holman, Foulkrod and Yarbrough give Cammack plenty of targets through the air, and Dick said Millender is a tough runner who should provide a solid replacement for the graduated Erique Williams (716 rushing yards).

Tuisavalalo (6-2, 275), a second-team All-Sunrise pick at guard last year, will lead both lines. Dick said his big senior "pretty much dominates anybody else we have."

VALLEY

• Coach: John Elwell, first year

• 2007 record: 2-7 (2-4 Northeast)

• Returning starters: Five offense, four defense

• Top players: RB Kerwynn Williams (Sr.); FB Malcom Wilks (Sr.); OT Charles Huang (Sr.); DT Suki Wilks (Sr.); WR Mitchelle Deas (Jr.)

• Outlook: Speed will be the strength for the Vikings, who return All-Northeast League running back Williams.

"Kerwynn is looking strong," Elwell said. "He's leading the team in practice by example. He's a hard-working kid, and we expect a lot out of him."

Elwell said there's some excitement at practice because of the new system, but he said the players still have plenty to learn.

Though the Vikings won just two games last season, one was against Sunrise Region champ Las Vegas, so the potential is there for the team to compete for the league title.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.