HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Fresh-look Falcons ready to soar - The Explorer: Sports

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Fresh-look Falcons ready to soar

First-year coach remolds players into big hitters

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:03 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The top feels lonely, but the middle lacks elbow room.

With a new coach, a new attitude and an outright battle for quarterback, Catalina Foothills promises nothing if not an interesting season, a fresh look — and a fight to climb from the depths of the 4A Sonoran region.

“They want to get better, and you can’t replace that,” head coach Matt Johnson said of his Falcons.

The former head coach for Rincon/University knows that discipline and work ethic rank among the few things a first-year coach can control.

But Johnson, a devotee of the power run game, has enjoyed watching his options open as junior quarterback Adam Larriva (6’3”, 205 pounds) claws for a job once predestined to “physically gifted” senior tosser Breck Ashdown (6’4”, 205 pounds).

“Last year we were scared to go into Cienega and Salpointe. They were just such powerhouses,” Ashdown said. “That’s going to change this year.”

Larriva echoed Ashdown — verbally, and for the moment.

“We’ve got a lot of new things going on this year. It’s exciting,” said the junior. “This team needed to believe we could start winning.”

The Falcons’ game is already changing on defense. Daily hitting drills are back in style. Sore players trot to the water carts.

Senior linebackers Ernie Escarcega (6’1”, 215 pounds) and Vince Adams (6’1”, 195 pounds) credit Johnson’s Monday mini-camps for shattering cliques, as players fight to keep spots.

“We stopped feeling any expectations last year. Everyone thought we went soft,” Escarcega said. “We’re going to be hitting a lot harder now.”

After last year’s mid-conference 5-5 finish, the Falcons weren’t the only ones ready to shake things up. Johnson marveled at the support he received from Foothills families, as he molded the team into a tight clan.

“They just came up to me and said, ‘What do you need us to do?’” Johnson said. “The community has been very welcoming.”

Catalina Foothills High School

Mascot: Falcons

Colors: Royal blue and silver

Coach profile

Matt Johnson, first year

Previous: Coached four years at Rincon High School; six years’ assistant coaching at Amphitheather High School

2007 record (5-5, 2-2)

Aug. 24 at Cienega L 33-14

Aug. 31 Rio Rico W 41-20

Sept. 7 Douglas W 24-7

Sept. 14 at Flowing Wells W 14-7

Sept. 20 Sabino L 62-7

Oct. 5 at CDO L 48-0

Oct. 12 at Santa Rita L 45-14

Oct. 19 Marana L 37-13

Oct. 26 Pueblo W 41-21

Nov. 2 at Cholla W 35-0

2008 schedule

Aug. 29 Cienega        

Sept. 5 at Rio Rico

Sept. 12 at Douglas        

Sept. 19 Flowing Wells    

Sept. 26 at Sabino            

Oct. 10 Canyon Del Oro    

Oct. 17 Santa Rita            

Oct. 24 at Marana            

Oct. 31 at Pueblo    

Nov. 7 Cholla

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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