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1A Top Returning Players



An ongoing series of Smallball articles

football: running backs

2019 Arizona AIA 1A Top Returning rbs

July 23, 2019

The 2019 returning running backs are one of the best groups since we started doing smallball football going back to 2006.

#1 Williams: RB Sr Chance Pearson: RB Jr Alex Garrett These young men are as talented as they come for the 2019 football season! This is a huge reason why we have Williams as the Pre-season #1 spot this year. With both of these players on the same team causes many issues for other teams and this isn’t even talking about the HUGE returning class of seniors they have coming back. The key for Williams will be finding a way to get both of these talented young men the ball.

#2 Bagdad: RB Sr Carson Jeans: Many may have overlooked Carson for his past years mainly because of the talented Israel Loveall who gained tons of attention when Jeans was an underclassman. However, in 2018 Jeans quietly amassed over 1,000 total yards of offense and kept his team in the hunt even after injuries hurt the Bagdad team. There is no doubt he is the player that defenses must stop which will allow the other many talented players a chance to shine in Coach Mills offensive sets. I look for Jeans to put up some HUGE numbers this year.

#3 Mogollon: QB Sr Rhett McLaws: Look for McLaws to increase his workload in 2019. He is known as more of a defensive player but I see him being a huge player in the Mogollon offense. (No pics were sent so will update later)

#5 Superior: RB Sr Gabriel Otero: Playing alongside Ybarra for so many years it is easy to get overlooked but I guarantee you Otero is a very good running back. He quietly put up modest numbers on offense but his 9 TDs is actually quite impressive being in the shadow of Ybarra. However, with Ybarra gone I expect Otero to be showcased big time in HC Palmers explosive offense schemes.

#6 Salome: RB Sr Octavio Martinez: Octavio is just plain EXPLOSIVE! He is one of 3 players on the Salome offense who gained over 1,000 yards in 2018! With near 1,200 yards of total offense which includes 17 TDs look for Martinez and company to steamroll past offenses in 2019.

#7 Ft. Thomas: RB Sr Zack Walker: HC Walkers offense could be plain SCARY this season and one of the reasons is Zack Walker. He is a player who will cause DC to wake up in the middle of the night sweating! How do you defend him? His near 1,300 yards of total offense was gained evenly between the run and receiving yards making him one of the most dangerous running backs in 8man football!

#12 Duncan: RB Sr Lucas Basteen: What you see is what you get when facing Basteen and none of it is nice! He had near 900 yards of total offense and it was all hard-nosed BEAST MODE in your face rushing yards with no apologies after he runs defenders over! Duncan always has tough running backs and now add Lucas Basteen to the mix. The key in 2019 for Basteen is to stay healthy as he carries the load for his team.

Unranked PDSD: RB Jr Brian Lynch: Lynch is a relatively unknown running back that many have not heard about but he is the real deal. If this young man was on a ranked teams roster his numbers could break records in the state.



An ongoing series of Smallball articles

football: Quarterbacks

2019 Arizona AIA 1A Top Returning QBs

July 22, 2019

When you look at the top teams that will contend for a state title in 8man football in 2019 look no further than our top returning QBs and you will see one of these young men on one of those teams.

#1 Williams: QB Sr Kolby Payne: This young man is not just a talent but he has been here before as his Vikings have been a title contender for many years. Last year they were on their way before Kolby was injured and this dramatically hurt the team. They are once again loaded and Kolby Payne is the QB to lead them to the state title if he can stay injury free. He is another duel threat QB who can hurt you with his arm or his legs. Even though Williams is loaded with top talent they need Payne to be back to his healthy self to win it all in 2019.

#2 Bagdad: QB Soph Connor Watson: Watson had the hard job of taking over after the Loveall era had ended which was very difficult for any person let alone an incoming freshman. Although Connor had his struggles he was able to play within the system to help them get back to the playoffs. But this year he will be looked upon for more leadership and also for more on the field as he is one of the most explosives players on the team.

#4 Hayden: QB Jr AJ Castillo: Castillo led his team to a state runners-up trophy as a sophomore. He will be counted on to do the same thing and more now that he has the experience of being a leader for the Lobos. HC Estrada is smiling knowing Castillo will be around for a few more years.

#6 Salome: QB Sr Pedro Velasquez: Pedro will be leading one of the most dangerous offenses in 1A this year as they have 3 1,000 yd rushers coming back in 2019. With near 1,800 yds of total offense Pedro will be a dangerous weapon for the Frogs while hoping to lead them to the title game.

#7 Ft. Thomas: QB Sr Todd Stringfellow: With a total offense of near 2,900 yards and 36 TDs in 2018 you can now see why Todd is seen as one of the most feared QBs for DC across the state especially with the weapons at his disposal. If the team can stay focused Stringfellow has the talent and leadership abilities to contend for a state title in 2019.

#8 Arete Prep: QB Soph Matt McClelland: Yes you read the stat sheets correctly! Nearly 2,700 yds total offense and 34 TDs as a frosh in 2018! Add to that he was name to our All-State team and this young man has a bright future ahead of him after leading his team to the playoffs. Look for more big things this year as he has weapons galore to choose from.

#10 JC: QB Sr Latrell Kinlicheenie: Latrell is one tough QB! If he doesn’t pass over you he will run you over! This is a DC nightmare and he has the talent to carry the team on his back!

#14 St. David: QB Jr Logan Davis: Coach Davis knows Logan had to come in when his teams were very young. But now Logan has two years under his belt and now all the young players are older and now the Tigers will have a veteran heavy squad with the young QB Davis and the improvement under his leadership should take a huge step in 2019.