Rebuild Begins: Desert Vista Plays First Game Under Molander

Rebuilding is exactly what Desert Vista Football has set out to do this year. While the Thunder didn’t come out with a bang to kick off the 2023 season – head coach Scooter Molander still had some positive takeaways following the 51-13 loss to the Perry Pumas.  

Rebuilding is a process

Molander has not shied away from addressing the Thunder’s need to create a new culture. That’s exactly what he was hired for. Coming off of a 3A State Championship at Eastmark High School in Mesa, Molander knows a thing or two about rebuilding…or just building.

Molander built the Eastmark football program from the ground up. Three years ago the East Mesa high school put together their first-ever varsity football team under Molander…in their first game the Firebirds lost 41-6. Three years later, they won the 3A State Title.

Several players just played their first high school football game. 

The Thunder was without a handful of key players due to injury – most notably, senior wide receiver Roan Martinez. Last season Martinez had 37 receptions for 761 yards with 10 touchdowns. He will be a difference-maker when he returns to the gridiron. 

“We’ve got some very good young players. We’ve got a senior class that’s gritty. This is not an easy game and it’s not an easy pill to swallow but it’s where we are right now. We’ll build. We’ll get better.”


No high highs or low lows

Despite a running clock in the final minutes of the game, morale was never down on the Desert Vista sideline. Coaches and players remained locked in and encouraged each other. With an impending loss less than two minutes away the Thunder stayed high enough to make one final score before shaking hands with the Pumas. 

Molander patted backs as they ran off the field and encouraged players throughout. Upperclassmen encouraged their younger teammates. If you never look at the scoreboard, you may not have suspected the result.

“We have a lot of guys where this means a lot to them. We’ve been together for only five months now and that’s another positive that guys are supporting one another,” Molander said.