Big Guys Get Time To Shine In West Valley

Ask football coaches at any level and nearly all will agree great teams are built up front on both sides of the ball. Sure, strong-armed quarterbacks, fast skill players and slick cornerbacks often garner most of the attention but games are frequently won and lost in the trenches. 

Eight years ago then-Desert Edge assistant coach Jose Lucero and his fellow Scorpion staffers had an idea: bring west Valley schools together in the dead of summer for a month-long, once-a-week event showcasing the big guys up front. They coined it the West Valley Big Man Challenge.

“We had a lot of fun the first year and had a good turn out,” Lucero, now DE’s head coach said to Sports360AZ.com Wednesday afternoon. “You get a lot of kids out here that are having fun competing. It’s not as crazy as going to 7-on-7 tournaments where everybody is kind of going nuts. You find a lot of camaraderie out here and I think the coaches appreciate that.”   

The once six-team event has grown to 11, as has the creativity of some of the events. Wednesday’s trio included a grueling relay, as well as individual and team tug of war.

“As we’ve gone to other big man challenges around the state and even watched a little bit of ‘World’s Strongest Man’ on tv,” Lucero explained. “We’ve kind of added some things to our repertoire. This year we had the most unique different events.”

— AZ West Valley Big Man Challenge (@WVBMChallenge) June 7, 2018

The event has been well received by not only the participants, but the west Valley coaches, as well.

“Desert Edge has done a really good job [with the event],” Estrella Foothills head coach Derek Wahlstrom said to Sports360AZ.com. “We’ve enjoyed coming every year. It’s been a great opportunity for our young men to measure themselves against some of the best big men in the state of Arizona.”

Wednesday the Willow Canyon Wildcats were crowned the best big men for 2018. 

As they say, strength in numbers.

 

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.