The 2019 football season kicks off Friday night and we will take a brief look at each game that involves a local team in our weekly game preview feature:
Snowflake at Safford
The outcome of this game will be interesting. Safford will be missing as many as 6 players from the fallout of the Pinetop camp incident over the summer. They will also be missing Head Coach Eric Hjalmarson as well. The head coaching duties will be “by committee” on Friday as Mike Dorrell, Mike Alba, Bob Park and Clay Cocke will all be on the sidelines Friday.
Snowflake will bring their power run first game to town led by Brig Turley. The 5’10”, 190 pound running back will be the feature in Kay Solomon’s attack this year. He rushed for 821 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Turley also caught 5 touchdown passes last year as well. Quarterback Ethan Ramage returns as well behind his 1650 yards and 12 TD’s last season.
Safford will go with Landon Shurtz at Quarterback in Game 1. This will be the first varsity start for Shurtz. However, he will have two of the top running backs in 3A to handoff to behind him: CJ Scriver and Sam Tobias. Scrivner exploded on the scene last year as a sophomore, rushing for 1200 yards and 14 scores. Tobias rushed for over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. Add in Robert White as well and Safford has a legit three headed rushing attack.
On paper this one looks like a Snowflake blowout but that is why they play the games on Friday nights.
Thatcher at Morenci
Morenci will usher in the Joe Garcia era on the hill Friday night as they host the 3 time 2A State Champion, Thatcher. Last year Garcia’s defense held the Eagles to a season low 15 points and forced 8 fumbles. You can expect to see the same type of defense out of the Wildcats again this year.
Both teams will rely heavily on the ground game this year. For Morenci, they will use the I-formation and run power type plays until they break away or wear the defense down. Thatcher will use the split back look at run the Veer until it breaks or wears the defense down.
For Morenci, expect to see a heavy dose of QB Brandon Blair and running backs LT Morey and Carlos Bray. Thatcher will counter with Bretton Dodge and Gavin Bryce in their backfield and QB Mark Wren calling the signals.
This one has all the makings of a slugfest. Both teams will try to keep the football on offense for as long as possible before scoring, making a low scoring game a strong possibility. Throw in the chance of rain and this could be a great way to kick off football season.
Fort Thomas @ Baboquivari
Fort Thomas is looking to replace WR Drake Olivar and they will get a chance to see who it will be as the Apaches travel to Sells to take on the Warriors. QB Todd Stringfellow should have plenty of chances to try the hands of his new receivers. RB Zach Walker will get his touches early too. Last year Fort Thomas cruised to a 68-16 over Babo. The varsity starters will get their shot early but expect to see the whole roster get in for the Apaches in this season opener.