489, the number of points Casteel high school football scored this season. 56, the amount of points they allowed. The Jaw dropping, eye-popping numbers don’t exactly tell the whole story behind the remarkable rise of the Colts’ program. Casteel is in its first season of varsity football. They start seven freshman and come into this Friday night’s playoff opener at Yuma Catholic as the dark horse of 3A. “It’s gone much better than I expected”, Colts head coach Spencer Stowers said by phone on Monday. “To be 9-1 and a nine-seed exceeded our expectations.” This is a school that didn’t even have a varsity program until seven months ago. “He’s done a wonderful job.” said Chandler Unified School District AD Marcus Williams said to Sports360AZ.com. ” If you go on their campus, there is great school spirit and a great climate.”
Casteel isn’t like their big brothers in the district. Perry, Chandler, Hamilton and Basha are all traditional 9th grade-12 grade programs. Casteel has students on campus starting in 7th grade which gives Stowers and his staff a leg up. “It’s a definite competitive advantage, we are allowed to work with those 7th and 8th grade kids on campus during school hours. It gives us a little bit of a niche, we have two varsity football coaches coaching the 7th-8th grade flag football team which just won the EVCB title, 2nd semester of their 8th grade year, those kids have access to weight training with the football team.
Summer Paid Off
Stowers and his staff knew that they had the makings of a quick start to varsity this past summer. His players went out on the circuit and competed. “We went to the big school events, the seven-on-seven at NAU and the linemen challenges and our kids were working hard and competing.” Stowers watched his players compete against the best programs in Arizona and felt that it made his team tougher “We are without a doubt, one of the most physical team in 3A.”
The enrollment numbers at Casteel will never be what a 6A school shows. Stowers encourages his players to do more than just one sport. He believes that the growth of the school will plateau out as a 5A program sometime in the next five years though that could change. “Everything has moved so fast, who knows what happens in the next five years.” Could the Colts be a program that competes with Saguaro, Higley, and Marcos De Niza at 4A? Could they stand toe-to-toe with Williams Field, Centennial, and Queen Creek in 5A? When will we see Casteel schedule Basha, Perry, Hamilton or Chandler? Fans would love to see that.
Rematch this Friday
The only loss for the Colts came back at the end of September against Yuma Catholic, 33-7. Ironically, the playoff brackets produced a rematch between the two schools this Friday at Yuma. “On campus everyone wants to be part of what we are doing, we have coaches of other sports who are going to bring their teams to Friday nights game, football season sets the tone, it’s exciting to see.”