Division II Sections Projections

Section 1: Betty Fairfax, Camelback, Carl Hayden, Copper Canyon, La Joya, St Mary’s, Sunnyslope, Tolleson, Trevor Browne

Favorite: Betty H. Fairfax. This section looks very different than a year ago with schools like Centennial, Chavez, Apollo and Millennium out of the picture. The Stampede return loads of talent including two-way athlete on the outside, Derron Brown, who is one of the best all-around athletes in the state. They are an undersized team this year but that is nothing new. That was the case last season and they still went 7-4 and they did so with a very young team. Now most of those players are back and have something to prove.


Section 2: Buena, Cienega, Desert View, Nogales, Sahuaro, Sunnyside

Favorite: Cienega. The Bobcats have been among the best teams in Southern Arizona for quite a few years now and that doesn’t look to change. For them it starts with defense and their fierce leader at line backer, Christian Poe. Tight end, Alec Daniels is also a tough matchup on the offensive side of the ball. Keep an eye out for Buena and Sahuaro in this section as well behind running back Dominique Drake at Buena and running back Cole Sterns for Sahuaro. But I like Cienega to take this section’s crown.


Section 3: Apollo, Centennial, Deer Valley, Ironwood, Liberty, Raymond Kellis, Willow Canyon

Favorite: Centennial. This might be the most competitive section in division II. The Coyotes are a powerhouse every year and this year will be no different. The next in line with their great tradition at running back after the departure of Jalen Ortiz is Dedrick Young. He will only be a junior and will be running behind maybe the best offensive line in the state. New man behind center for them is Jordan Suyam who looks to have a breakout season. Apollo led by the playmaking ability of Nico Bayless, Liberty behind a strong defense led by line backer Zack Neill and defensive back Kori Wilson and finally Deer Valley led by quarterback Devon Palomino will make Centennial’s push for the section crown difficult. But I still think they do it.


Section 4: Cibola, Gila Ridge, Kofa, Lake Havasu, San Luis, Yuma

Favorite: Cibola. The Raiders have moved down from division I to division II and will be a force to be reckoned with as a result. The lose running back Jordan Mitchell who had a fantastic career in a Raider uniform but return quarterback Lucky Arvizo and last years’ leading receiver Michael Decorse-Hall. On defense they return their top two tacklers from a season a go in brothers Josh and Jacob Hanson who each had over 100 tackles last season.


Section 5: Ironwood Ridge, Marana Mountain View, Rincon, Salpointe, Tucson, Vista Grande

Favorite: Salpointe. The Lancers are loaded on both side of the ball. On Andy Cota returning at quarterback, transfer from Texas Kaelin Deboskie and of course U of A commit Cameron Denson who will be one of the best athletes on both sides of the ball in every game he plays. Pair that with Brandt Davidson, Jake Casteel and Taylor Powell on defense and you wonder how this team will be able to be outscored. But they do have the defending state champions in their section in Ironwood Ridge who do lose quarterback Tyler Williams, but they proved last season and especially in the state title game that they are a deep team of good football players who are very well coached. This should be an exciting section to watch.


Section 6: Campo Verde, Marcos de Niza, Mesquite, Poston Butte, Westwood

Favorite: Marcos de Niza. The Padres lost a lot of talent from last season including two players that will be playing Pac-12 football this season. But they are also returning quite a bit of talent as well. It starts with quarterback Josh Eckley who is one of the most talented at his position in the start. Pare that with Logan Palmer leading the way on the other side of the ball which will made them a tough matchup on offense and defense. Mesquite will be a load in this section anchored by their two impressive safeties, Jordan Robinson (who transferred from Brophy) and Juan Giraldo. Campo Verde will be solid as well.


Section 7: Arcadia, Cactus Shadows, Chaparral, Notre Dame Prep, Paradise Valley

Favorite: Chaparral. The Firebirds were a young team last year who got better and better as the season rolled along. They return now a core of some of the top players in the state. I think ASU commit Tyler Whiley is a dark horse player of the year candidate with what he can do on both sides of the football. You have Trevor Wood there at tight end, wide receiver transfer from Hamilton, Israel Simpson and Sean Paul Brophy getting another shot at the starting quarterback. One of the biggest threats on this offense though will be transfer from Sunrise Mountain, running back Elijah Castro. On defense they will be lead by Joe Nauert, Marshall Forrest and last year’s leading tackler Robbie Kleifield. Notre Dame and Paradise Valley will also be playmakers in division II, but the section crown will go through Chaparral.


Preseason All-Division II team:

QB: Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza

RB: Elijah Castro, Chaparral

RB: Dedrick Young, Centennial

WR: Tyler Whiley, Chaparral

WR: Kaelin Deboskie, Salpointe

TE: Trevor Wood, Chaparral

OL: Breeon Auzenne, Salpointe,

OL: Kamryn Bennett, Centennial

OL: Layth Friekh, Centennial

OL: Jon Sekona, Apollo

OL: Keenan Walker, Chaparral

DL: Brandt Davidson, Salpointe

DL: Marshall Forrest, Chaparral

DL: Logan Palmer, Marcos de Niza

DL: Brian Calhoun, Deer Valley

LB: Phillip Caniglia, Notre Dame Prep

LB: Corbin Gouby, Marana Mountain View

LB: Taylor Powell, Salpointe

DB: Cameron Denson, Salpointe

DB: Juan Giraldo, Mesquite

DB: Jordan Robinson, Mesquite

DB: Jordan Schlueter, Notre Dame Prep

K/P: Adam Muller, Kellis