Story by Amanda Sherer
Rivals. Cross-town foes.
Those words come to mind when thinking about St. Mary’s and Brophy Prep.
The two schools last met on the football field in 2013. Now they’ll square off to open the 2021 season on Sept. 3.
60 days, 2 hours, and 24 minutes until kickoff… https://t.co/VtCULqCB4Z
— SMKnightsFootballAZ (@smknightsaz) July 5, 2021
“I know how big of a deal it is for the players and for the community,” St. Mary’s head coach Jose Lucero said. “To get the opportunity to coach in this game now I think is really special.”
Here are five things you need to know about St. Mary’s prior to kickoff.
Progress In A Rebuild
There is no motto or quote that motivates the Knights. They keep it simple by focusing on getting better everyday.
Coach Lucero says that he wants to build better young men as well as a better team. That comes by making progress and building a foundation in practice everyday.
Always fun watching the big boys work!! Can’t wait for the season!! pic.twitter.com/YmGSDKHv2v
— SMKnightsFootballAZ (@smknightsaz) June 19, 2021
They Aren’t Taking Anything For Granted
The team knows that after the past year they shouldn’t take anything for granted. It’s a blessing to play football and that’s what Lucero preaches to his players.
“We know how blessed we are to have the opportunity to be playing football right now with everything else going on in the world,” Lucero said. “There is a lot of noise around this game but the team plans to eliminate the distractions and focus on what they have to do to win.”
Lucero named three defensive players to watch out for on his squad. Luke Atkinson is a 5’9″ free safety, who could make some noise as a senior. The linebacker corps is led by seniors Thomas Swingle and Mason Aguayo. Lucero believes these three anchor the middle of the defense, but knows their personalities are infectious with their teammates.
“Those are three seniors we expect to step up for us big time on the defensive side of the ball,” Lucero said. “They know what we hope to accomplish this year.”
The key offensive player to keep an eye out for is senior quarterback Nick Martinez. In 2020, Martinez threw for 663 yards. He’s also gained 10 pounds this offseason, standing at 6’2″ and 195 pounds.
“He had a really strong junior season,” Lucero said. “We’re looking forward to see what he does as a senior here.”
— Coach Lucero (@Coach__Lucero) May 23, 2021
Discipline is something Lucero takes pride in. His program is working relentlessly to play clean football. Less mistakes can turn into more wins, even against teams who may be deeper or have more talent.
“We don’t play with a lot of flash and flair,” Lucero said. “We just focus on the task at hand and our guys will play to the best of their ability.”
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Central High School.