Eagles Soaring Start for Flagstaff

By Nicholas Welter

The 2017 season has been different for the Flagstaff High football team, different in a good way. The Eagles are 5-1 so far this season, their best six-game start in a ten-year span.

Co-Head Coaches Bobby Castillo and Paul Wolf are proud of their team, but are also wary and acknowledge there are more important things to focus on.

“Obviously we are excited about our start,” said Coach Castillo. “But we are also humbled and cautious because the road gets tougher as we face our region opponents who have also had a good run.”

Flagstaff plays in the 4A Grand Canyon Section, a group that has five teams at .500 or better in sectional play.

Another change that Castillo and Wolf believe have contributed to this season’s success is the coaching staff and team philosophy. In the past ten years, there have been seven different head coaches at the helm, which is something Castillo and Wolf want to change in just their second year.

“Paul and I are trying to create stability by remaining in the program and resurrecting the proud and successful tradition FHS once had,” said Castillo.

flagstaff hs2The Eagles have won four 4A state championships, but the last one came in 1984, and the program has not been to a playoff game since 2012.

Castillo and Wolf also mentioned that their offseason weight and speed programs, student success in the classroom, and newer and better equipment have contributed to a good start in 2017. In addition, Coach Castillo told Sports360AZ.com the new program philosophy has had a positive affect on the players.

“Football serves as a good life tool after high school,” said Castillo. “We want our kids to succeed in the classroom and to apply to work ethic and teamwork in their lives after high school.”

And apparently it is not just the coaching staff and players that has taken notice to this change in the football program. Castillo said that there is a lot of excitement in the community and campus, with hopes that the success only continues for the Eagles.

When asked about the ceiling for this year’s team, Castillo denied to comment about how far he thought the team could go or how many wins he believed his team could win. Instead, Castillo said that he wants his team to take it one week at a time and focus on getting results week by week.

The Eagles play their third sectional game this week at home against a 5-2 Lee Williams team, in a game that could have potential Grand Canyon standings implications.