Marauder football returns to the field

Young prepares players for summer tournaments, evaluates positions

Members of the offense line-up before the snap during Mingus Union’s game against Coconino in 2012. VVN/Sean Morris

Members of the offense line-up before the snap during Mingus Union’s game against Coconino in 2012. VVN/Sean Morris

As school comes to an end and spring sports wrap its season's up, football teams begin to take the field to get ready for the upcoming season.

The Marauders have been on the field for two weeks and have begun working through routes and evaluating players after ending last season with a 28-21 second round elimination by Seton Catholic in the state playoffs.

Mingus Union finished the 2012 season as the No. 6 team in Division-IV, and No. 2 in Section-III, 3-0, and ended with a 7-3 record overall.

"We're installing offense and defense right now, we're doing everything we can with out pads," said head coach Bob Young.

Despite it being six months since the boys took to the field, Young has not had to worry about his students getting back into football shape since he teaches the weight lifting class they are in, he has been preparing them for this.

"I've got them all in my weight class, so we work on this stuff on a daily basis," Young said. "We haven't really had any surprise kids show up right now. We've worked with these guys all off season in the weight room and running, so I know what they can do."

Senior Luke Simmons started under center for Mingus last season, but since he is graduating, there is a three-way competition going on for quarterback. Tanner Caron, Marshal Shill and Micah Nevarez have been taking the early season reps at the position.

Of the Three, Tanner and Micah spent some time there during the 2012 season and Tanner went 1-for-2 for 19 yards and Micah, who was the backup in 2012, went 0-for-1. Marshall did not play under center during the season, and with Luke getting the majority of the snaps, more than likely would not have gotten much time to play quarterback.

"I've been feeling really good, nice and rested and ready to play," Tanner said. "It's going pretty good. We're all working really hard to see who will play the position, so it ill all come down to who's the best at it and I hope its me."

Of the six runners that attempted more than 10 carries, three were seniors and the other three were juniors. Sprinters Dakota Hanks and Brennan Kitchen, who are both part of the 4X400 relay team, could have the most carries, along with Jesse Rios.

Sophomore sprinter Javin Helsel, fresh off his relay team appearance at the track and field state championships, only had four carries, but ran for 52 yards, and hopes to increase his production the next season.

"Football's year round and track ends then football," Javin said. "It's going pretty good. All we have is skill guys, so that all it is, a competition, all pushing each other to make us all better."

The drop-off of seniors on the defense will be noticeable for the Marauders. Of the 32 students that played on defense, half were seniors. Of those 16 seniors, five of them led the team in sacks and two of them had more than one interception.

Currently, Young is getting the team ready for some tournaments that will be in June, focusing on the format of that with the offense.

"Offensively, the emphasis is on the passing game, because we are going to be going to some 7-on-7 tournaments in June," Young said. "We've got three weeks where we can use dummies, so they're taking advantage of that, learning how to block and things like that."

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