Envy flows deep — often unspoken — in the 4A Sonoran region, as CDO’s rivals gear up to topple last year’s state runner-up squad.
Yet despite the talent lining the Dorados’ roster, head coach Pat Nugent adopted a fatalist’s approach, while leaning back in a plastic classroom chair.
“Every coach in America, from high school to pro, is excited right now,” Nugent said. “In six weeks, they’ll be miserable.”
Perhaps it’s just humility, or perhaps Nugent’s right. But the smart money says malaise decides to nest under the Dorados’ visitor’s bleachers.
Once again, CDO’s offense is stacked. Six-foot-four, 215-pound senior quarterback Doug Steele heads the enchilada, replacing Daniel Nicholas’ ballistic arm with an avian view of the field.
Steele’s twin-receiver senior duo consists of Josh Robbins and Griffin Ronstadt — whose 1,000-yard total season boasted 18 touchdowns last year.
“I think we just need to focus on finishing this season off right,” Ronstadt said. “We’re not always going to be the favorite going in, but we’re definitely going to have some weight on our shoulders.”
At the rush, Ronstadt’s bolstered by one of the state’s most explosive and charismatic understudies, sophomore Ka’Deem Carey — whose six-point kickoff return sparked the Dorados’ near-win during last year’s title game against Saguaro.
“All these games, I wish we could just fast-forward this and go right back to state,” Carey said, of the upcoming regular season. “It’s going to be like High School Musical, except the football version.”
Don’t forget about the kicker. After going perfect in 65 point-after attempts last year, senior Nick Marshall won his soccer nationals this summer in Virginia, then decided he’d like to kick 100 for 100 this time around.
“I guess all the pressure’s on now. I guess I can’t miss now,” Marshall said.
The Dorados will return seven defensive starters, including seniors D’Andre Tanguay-Penn (6’3”, 210 pounds) and Justin Kitchen (6’0”, 195 pounds), though the team’s tasked with replacing a handful of linemen.
The sum total turns Dorado eyes to the sky — and Phoenix.
“We don’t really look at league titles anymore,” Nugent said. “We won four in a row — they’re like a second fiddle to us.”
Canyon Del Oro High School
Region: 4A Sonoran
Colors: Forest green and gold
Pat Nugent, eighth year
Previous: Spent nine years as Flowing Wells High School head and assistant coach; University of Arizona equipment manager.
2007 record (12-2, 4-0)
Aug. 24 at Amphi W 31-6
Aug. 31 Sahuaro W 42-20
Sept. 7 at Catalina W 48-21
Sept. 14 at Cactus L 36-34
Sept. 20 McClintock W 21-10
Sept. 28 at Cienega W 37-7
Oct. 5 Catalina Foothills W 48-0
Oct. 12 at Marana W 42-7
Oct. 19 Cholla W 67-0
Nov. 2 Pueblo W 65-13
Nov. 9 Cienega W 38-7
Nov. 16 Prescott W 34-0
Nov. 30 Peoria W 20-0
Dec. 8 Saguaro L 23-21
Aug. 29 Amphi
Sept. 5 at Sahuaro
Sept. 12 Catalina
Sept. 19 Cactus
Sept. 26 at McClintock
Oct. 3 Cienega
Oct. 10 at Catalina Foothills
Oct. 17 Marana
Oct. 24 at Cholla
Nov. 7 at Pueblo