Joseph Ortiz has had his fingerprints all over some of the top offenses in the state in recent years. Last year, as Higley’s offensive coordinator, the Knights put up nearly 59 points per contest.
Now, as head coach at Cactus, you can see some similarities in the Cobras’ offense after two games. They can take shots down the field, utilize versatility in the run-game and take advantage when their defense gets them a turnover.
Three key pieces to this offense come from junior quarterback Connor Cordts, senior wide receiver Zaach Cullop and junior running back Anthony Flores.
Cordts and Cullop were on the varsity squad last year, but both suffered season-ending injuries. That time together while their team practiced help them build a chemistry they are using as starters in 2018.
“Because some of the practices, we would be walking around the field together because we were the ‘injured players’,” Cordts said. “We’d talk a lot, and now we have a class together…we’re talking about football and doing our classwork and working on projects together. We’re bonding really well.”
Cullop has been a favorite target of Cordts, specifically on deep passes, and they’ve connected on two touchdowns this year.
Flores served as a change-of-pace back last year behind senior Damaria Norris, who rushed for over 4,600 yards in three seasons with the Cobras. Now, Flores is the main back and off to a strong start through two games, notching seven total touchdowns. He’s already using lessons he learned from Norris now that he’s the featured back.
“He taught me how to be a better person,” Flores said. “He told me I should always put others first before myself and to be selfless. On the field, he told me how to be a better football player. He coached me through thick and thin, no matter what terms we were on.”
When Norris donned the columbia and silver, the running back ran angry, going full-speed on every play and running through defenders as often as he ran past defenders. It’s easy to see the same in Flores and Coach Ortiz feels he can have that similar impact.
“(Flores is) well over a 1,500-yard rusher in my opinion,” Ortiz said. “He’s going to really explode on the scene this year.”
The Cobras are 2-0 and averaging 39.5 points per game. They play Estrella Foothills next Friday.