My Extra Points are various notes on players, angles and or story lines I find interesting from the week pertaining to high school football in Arizona. Here is what stood out to me from Week Two.
Chandler: Coach Aguano told me that the for first nine plays or so of the Centennial game, the offense’s reads were off which saw them behind early. Bryce Perkins and company was able to collect themselves and came a way with a hard fought win. This week in practice, Aguano made a point of having the team get back to being themselves. They were definitely themselves this week blowing out Buena to move to 2-0.
While the incredible athletes on the offense is most often the main topic of conversation, the Chandler defense is an interesting story. They are replacing nine players on the defensive side of the ball. One of the biggest areas that needed replacing was on the defensive line replacing two interior lineman who are now playing with Division I schools. Cruz Flores now at NAU and Jordan Hoyt at UC Davis. The two that have stepped into that role are transfer from Basha JW Windsor and Thomas Chisholm. Aguano told me that those two have really stepped up. Adding that they were thrown into the fire very quickly and have responded. Coach Aguano joked that to be a nose guard, you have to be a little off. That’s one of the many reasons which make these two so great at what they do and why they have responded so well.
Up next for the Chandler Wolves is a trip to Colorado and a matchup with Valor Christian. Valor has been a powerhouse in Colorado for many years and will be a great test for them to set up the rest of their tough schedule much like the way St. John Bosco paved the way for them to have their first ever victory over Hamilton last season.
The Wolves will have a very memorable week ahead of them. They will be spending the night at the school on Wednesday night before two busses will pick them up at 6am to take them to Sky Harbor on Thursday. All 120 members of the Wolves team, coaching staff and medical staff will take over an entire Southwest flight to Denver. It will almost be like they are taking a charter flight. Aguano mentioned that it will be the first time that some of the players on his team will be on an airplane. Thursday night, they will be having dinner with the Valor football team and then friday during the day before the game, the team will be taken to the movies to see ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ to get them ready for the game that night. Aguano sees this is a trip both he and his players will remember for a lifetime.
Buena: There are many teams that play a brutal schedule this time of year and one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the state what Buena is currently in the midst of. At Salpointe, at Corona, at Chandler, and then finally home the next two weeks against Marcos de Niza and Ironwood Ridge to finish their non-conference. All five teams will be in the post season. They are doing this all under new leadership for their program with Interim Head Coach Brice Bernbeck. He was previously the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2012 and then took over the defense in 2013. Bernbeck has completely put his stamp on the program and changing the schemes of the program on both sides of the ball to better fit their personnel. They have gone from the spread to a “modern” power run which still throws frequently to their impressive receiver Deonte Williams. On defense, they have shifted from a standard 4-3 to the “split 6” which is often seen in college to defend the spread which a lot of teams in the Colts’ section will run.
The Colts are dealing with a grueling schedule will going through substantial changes but in talking with Bernbeck, you can see the focus on growing the program and eventually taking a big leap forward. They buy-in has been there and working through the adversity with this tough schedule will only make this program better.
Desert Ridge: Going into the season there was many questions surrounding the eligibility of reigning Arizona leading rusher Taren Morrison and twin brother Tarek. This week, both wer cleared to play. Taren suited up for the Jaguars for the first time on friday night while Tarek did not. Taren made his presence felt with a 19 yard and a 30 yard touchdown in the game helping The Jags blow past the Gilbert Tigers. Desert Ridge was already among the elite in the state coming into the season with out knowing what the future held for the Morrison twins. With them both back into the fold, they will most definitely make a push for a state championship.
Desert Mountain: It is interesting how history has a way of repeating itself. For three years, we watched Kyle Allen and Mark Andrews come up the ranks together to ultimately become one of the top duo’s the state has ever seen. It is not fair to compare anyone to the two of them and what they accomplished but there is a very similar story brewing with the Wolves starting this season. Quarterback Austin Nuessle and wide receiver Kade Warner (yes that Warner who is the son of Kurt) are a duo to keep an eye on starting as sophomores on the varsity level. The Wolves are a very young team and might take some licks this season, but they are led by these two up and comers who just a season ago led a very good Desert Mountain freshman team. Allen and Andrews growth from their sophomore to junior seasons was jaw dropping and the chemistry that Nuessle and Warner are already forming together this early in their high school careers could lead to similar jumps.
Desert Mountain got their first win of the season this week against Notre Dame Prep. They had an impressive five interceptions in the game.