Marauders open football season Aug. 25 at Higley

‘They’re definitely excited about the challenge but it’s gonna be tough’

Mingus Union linebacker Kendrew Streck drags down a Cactus runner by his undershirt last year. The Marauders beat the Cobras 35-28 and face them Sept. 8 on the road this season. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Mingus Union linebacker Kendrew Streck drags down a Cactus runner by his undershirt last year. The Marauders beat the Cobras 35-28 and face them Sept. 8 on the road this season. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

It’s déjà vu all over again for Mingus Union football as they faced the same teams as last year.

In 2016, half of the Marauders’ opponents made the playoffs. Mingus Union played Sunrise Mountain twice in row last year, to finish the regular season and in the first round of the tournament but this time they face the Mustangs in Cottonwood.

“It’s a tough schedule,” said Mingus head coach Bob Young. “We played the same thing last year, we just flip flopped home and away. Our four non region games are, every one of those teams made the playoffs last year and Higley, Sunrise and Cactus, those are three of the best teams in the 4A. It’s a tough non region schedule for sure.”

Mingus Union opens the season on August 25 at Higley. Last year the Knights averaged 50.7 points a game.

“Higley’s probably going to be ranked two or three in the state,” Young said. “We’re so young that I don’t know that I want to open up with them but we don’t really have a lot of say in that. They’re definitely excited about the challenge but it’s gonna be tough.”

Last year Mingus Union finished second in the Grand Canyon region with a 5-1 record. Bradshaw Mountain went 6-0 in the region and the Marauders host them on Sept. 29.

Young said Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain are always tough and Flagstaff and Coconino are going to be much improved.

“The last four or five years it’s been Prescott, Bradshaw and us, the top three and I think that’ll probably hold true again,” Young said. “Prescott and Bradshaw, they’ve really established themselves and we’re right up in there. Flagstaff had a good year last year, I know they got some good young kids, Coconino’s got some good young kids and Lee Williams and Mohave, I don’t know as much about them, so they’re the two unknowns.”

2017 Mingus Union football schedule

Aug. 25

at Higley

Mascot: Knights

Region: 4A Desert Sky

2016 record: 11-2, state semifinals

2016 result: 63-36 Higley win

Fun fact: The Knights trained in Heber, in Navajo County, atop the Mogollon Rim, this summer.

Sept. 1

vs. Cactus Shadows

Mascot: Falcons

Region: 4A Skyline

2016 record: 6-5, state first round

2016 result: 13-6 Cactus Shadows

Fun fact: Tucson Catalina Foothills knocked Higley, Cactus Shadows and Sunrise Mountain, all Mingus opponents, out of the state tournament last year.

Sept. 8

at Cactus

Mascot: Cobras

Region: 4A West Valley

2016 record: 7-5, state quarterfinals

2016 result: 35-28 Mingus win

Fun fact: Higley knocked Cactus out of the playoffs last year.

Sept. 15

vs. Lee Williams

Mascot: Volunteers

2016 record: 4-6

2016 result: 35-14 Mingus win

Fun fact: The Volunteers’ campus is said to be haunted and ghosts have reportedly appeared on the football field.

Sept. 22

at Mohave

Mascot: Thunderbirds

2016 record: 1-9

2016 result: 42-10 Mingus win

Fun fact: In November voters approved an indoor stadium unofficially dubbed the “Colorado River Field House” for Mohave and River Valley sports, among other things. It’s expected to open for the 2018 football season.

Sept. 29

vs. Bradshaw Mountain

Mascot: Bears

2016 record: 8-3, state first round

2016 result: 27-14 Bradshaw Mountain win

Fun fact: New Bears head coach Chuck Moller was the head coach of University of Minnesota-Crookston for one season.

Oct. 6

at Prescott

Mascot: Badgers

2016 record: 6-4

2016 result: 48-12 Mingus win

Fun fact: The Badgers are trying to raise $100,000 for a new all-digital scoreboard.

Oct. 13

vs. Flagstaff

Mascot: Eagles

2016 record: 6-5

2016 result: 49-14 Mingus win

Fun fact: The Eagles won four state championships in a row in the 1980s.

Oct. 20

at Coconino

Mascot: Panthers

2016 record: 2-8

2016 result: 78-6 Mingus win

Fun fact: In 2010, the third public high school in Flagstaff, Sinagua, closed and Coconino absorbed most of its students in what is called “The Merge.”

Oct. 27

vs. Sunrise Mountain

Mascot: Mustangs

Region: 4A West Valley

2016 record: 10-2, state first round

2016 result: 61-17, 49-6 Sunrise Mountain wins

Fun Fact: Sunrise Mountain’s Paige Harris won an ESPY award this year.

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