Former Pro Cornerback Takes Over North Canyon

The revolving Arizona high school football coaching carousel took another turn Monday when North Canyon named Airabin Justin as their new head coach. He replaces Jose Lucero who resigned in early December.

“I excited for the opportunity,” Justin said to Sports360AZ.com. “I am familiar with the kids at North Canyon so I just want to help them succeed on and off the field.”

Justin served as Chaparral’s defensive backs coach last year and is no stranger to the Valley coaching scene having held different positions at several schools, including North Canyon.

The 35-year-old Justin played football at NAU and Utah. The defensive back also spent time in the Canadian Football League and had a brief stint in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens.

“The numbers [of players] are not 100% where we want them to be,” Justin explained. “But the past two coaches did a good job in certain things to add to the numbers of the program. I believe that they will continue to grow.”

North Canyon finished 6-4 in 2016, marking their first winning season in five years. The Rattlers lose decorated offensive lineman Austin Jackson, as well as steady quarterback Trevor Leinstock. 1,000-yard receiver Solomon Enis is back for his senior season after scoring 14 total touchdowns last fall. Playmaking linebacker Tre O’guinn returns on the other side of the ball in 2017.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.