The teams at Arcadia High School, Brophy College Preparatory and Veritas Preparatory Academy have already started training for football season, with the hope of bringing the community the high-energy games they’re used to watching from the stands – which they should be able to do this year.
According to the head coaches at each school, the plan is to play the entire season. Last year, football was cut short, as teams were only able to play around six games rather than the usual 10 or 11.
“The Arizona Interscholastic Association has informed us a full season is the plan,” Ray Brown, head coach at AHS, said. “However, we all are aware of the possibilities, especially because of the events of last year. With that, policy and common practice are things we try to do for our team.” As of now, each school has a set of safety procedures in place.
Jason Jewell, head coach at Brophy Prep, and Jason Black, head coach at Veritas Prep, shared the same sentiments as Brown as they head into this new school year.
“The plan is for a normal season, but as we’ve learned, things can always change, and they are not in our control,” Jewell said.
Arcadia High School
Arcadia’s top goal this season, according to its players, is to have fun and win.
“Our players have an awareness about who they wish to be as a team,” Brown said. “As their coaches, we must help and work with them to achieve their goals. I’m coaching them with their words, with the goal they set.”
Brown’s philosophy involves “practicing the way we wish to play.” He said he is excited to see the continued growth of Arcadia’s team but recognizes that success is a process requiring constant adjustments.
“Success is directly tied to our preparation and practice,” Brown shared. “In the short time we’ve been together, our young men have displayed they are committed to doing it together as a team. We will be a team that embraces the community that we live and play in.”
The heart and leadership of Arcadia’s football program is in the hands of its returning seniors, who Coach Brown said will be the backbone of the team. Look out for QB Spencer Hoos, OLB Gabe Medrano, OL Juan “WonderBoy” Mendez, G/T James Phillips, CB Antonio Sepulveda, DB Jack Spiekerman, C Shawn Rodriguez, WR Lucas Rice, RB Enrique Moreno, and C Jacob Czekalski.
Jewell’s top priority for the team was to have a successful off-season to prepare for the new school year, something they didn’t get in 2020.
“We had a pretty normal off-season, and our kids responded well,” Jewell said. “Attendance was high, and we made huge progress in the weight room. In the end, this is going to help us get back on the right track as far as wins and losses go.”
Headed into this year, Brophy has 45 seniors, 44 juniors, over 60 sophomores, and over 140 freshmen in their program, resulting in a large field of depth and experience.
“We have a lot of talent,” Jewell shared. “We have seven players with division-one offers and double-digit players with four-year offers.”
Athletes to look out for this year: senior corner back Ben Morrison, who has already committed to Notre Dame, and senior defensive end Zac Swanson, who has committed to Texas.
Having made it twice to the playoffs, Coach Black hopes to move the needle once more and win at least one playoff game this year.
“The team improves every week and has remained competitive throughout the years,” Black said. “We have a lot of new faces out on the field looking to make a big impact and leave their mark on the program. There’s a lot of competition in practice that should translate to a competitive team on game nights.”
Veritas has a team of coaches that come with years of experience, according to Black. In addition, their senior quarterback, Gage Lentz, is a devoted player looking to make considerable strides in both offense and defense.
He was also QB last year, with over 2,800 passing yards and 25 interceptions under his belt. Lentz’s brother, sophomore Casen Lentz, joins the team this year as a wide receiver and defense back. The healthy competition with his older brother has increased his athleticism and effectiveness on the field.
Falcons fans should also look out for senior guard/linebacker Eli Ravelo, who wants to surpass his previous benchmark of almost 100 tackles, and senior defensive end John Hamann, who returns for his second and final year hoping to crush it on defense.