It’s time for the 3A through 1A tiny schools to put on their helmets. They begin their season weakly, ahead of the large schools (6A through 4A), on Monday with their first games. On July 31, the large schools start their regular practices.
These are the top five hot storylines. When Arizona Interscholastic Association football practices officially begin, The Arizona Republic will be there to cover the action as it heats up for the smaller schools.
The dynamic pair of Scottsdale Christian
Jack Atkinson, the quarterback for the SCA, has grown up. Additionally, he has strong ties to wide receiver Andrew Trapp, who last season collected 47 of quarterback Ryan Atkinson’s 87 completions. These two appear to be one of the more exciting teams for the Eagles in the small-school division. Last season Scottsdale Christian Atkinson went 10-3 and lost to Morenci 70-40 in the 2A semifinals. During that time, they only threw two interceptions and 30 touchdown passes. Both Trapp and Atkinson have displayed remarkable offseason play. Behind this powerful pair, a state title run is possible under new coach Mike Sheahan, a former assistant at Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.
Making stops, Paradise Honors
Surprise With Josh Morales as the top target among his top three targets and quarterback Gage Baker returning, Paradise Honors, which was terrific last year, could be even better this year. Last season, the Panthers finished 9-2. They conceded 140 points in their two games, including 77 in the 35-point defeat against Show Low in the 3A playoffs. The Panthers might perform well if Baker doesn’t need to throw five touchdown passes every game to win games. On defense, seven starters are back, and eight on offensively. Coach Josh Goodloe is pleased with the program’s depth and development, seasoned leadership, key returners on both sides of the ball, and other factors.
Battling the heat
It’s quite hot outside. Phoenix native and American Leadership West Foothills coach Chad Mitton claims he can’t remember a July this hot in his lifetime. His crew will therefore begin their workout at 6 a.m. It would be extremely hot if we waited until nighttime, Mitton added. Many schools, including ours, have a turf field that doesn’t cool off unless there are built-in sprinklers.
Teams are taking extra precautions as they begin play on Monday. They might wish to confirm the presence of ice tubs in the area.
Drew Anderson, the new head coach at Phoenix Bourgade Catholic, said he is emphasizing to his athletes the value of pre-activity hydration. Every 20 minutes, “we will take water breaks to ensure rest and hydration occurs,” he said. “In order to prevent the guys from depleting their energy, we will also provide them electrolytes and fruit. Although practicing in helmets in July is difficult, we will make sure to give our boys plenty of opportunities to remove them.
Making the change
Danny Norris is changing schools from Gilbert Christian to Benjamin Franklin, a charter school in Queen Creek, but he isn’t bringing his beloved Double Wing T with him.
He stated in an email, “Offensively, we are implementing a new offense and moving away from the Double Wing. We lack experience at the quarterback position, so our offensive line and running backs will be a huge help in the early going. We will have one of our conference’s greatest offensive lines, if not the best.
Last year in 2A, Norris guided Gilbert Christian to a 9-3 record; the same will be true in 2021. Before that, Gilbert Christian had moved up from 3A. Now that Gilbert Christian (which is in the Metro East, where Norris is once again coaching in 3A),
Blue Ridge recover
Alum Jeremy Hathcock’s Lakeside Blue Ridge had a 5-6 record last year, which was a rare losing year. They finished 5-4 in 2021, his first season as the Yellow Jackets’ coach. But because these youngsters were so young last year, Hathcock understood they would suffer setbacks. not right now.
This year, we’ll actually do okay, according to Hathcock. “This team is incredibly quick for 3A.
“Last year, all of us on the varsity were between 13 and 14 years old; at least today, we average 15 years old and have peach fuzz on our faces.