DEER VALLEY SKYHAWKS
COACH: Dan Friedman (Second season)
2018 RECORD: 0-10
REGION: 4A West Valley
KEY RETURNEES: Charles Hill, Sr., RB; Eddie Bojorquez, Sr., OT/DT, Brandon Schwartz, Jr., OT/DT; Donovan Moore, Jr., LB; Brad Bates, Sr., S/RB, Dylan Anderson, Sr., DB/WR.
TOP NEWCOMERS: Jermaine Moore, Soph., LB; Dylan Henderson, Soph., DE
(Home in CAPS)
Aug. 30 at Arcadia
Sept. 6 THUNDERBIRD
Sept. 13 PRESCOTT
Sept. 20 at Greenway
Sept. 27 at Goldwater
Oct. 4 CACTUS
Oct. 11 LAKE HAVASU
Oct. 18 at Peoria
Oct. 25 at Desert Edge
Nov. 1 YOUNGKER
West Valley Preps
The months following the end of Deer Valley’s 0-10 football season was akin to a purge — both of the roster and coaching staff.
When the dust settled this summer, only head coach Dan Friedman and one assistant are back. And the varsity they are coaching will have more sophomores than seniors.
It will be worth it for Friedman if the Skyhawks approach this season with a different mentality.
“When we got done four of my six coaches, including myself, said, ‘I’m not doing this ever again.’ It had nothing to do with losing. It was the culture and the attitude of the kids that we’re trying to change. So I had to replace 66 percent of my staff at the varsity level. That was a big concern, was finding guys that wanted to put in the time and knew what they were getting into,” Friedman said. “Anthony Paterno is a dear friend of mine. And I told him when we got done, because he was 50-50, ‘We’re going to be young this year. We have six seniors. Anthony, for our friendship, you should probably go coach somewhere else so we don’t kill each other.’”
The defensive coordinator agreed and ended up at Phoenix Brophy Prep after a layover at Willow Canyon. His replacement knows his way around.
A decade ago, Sven Christianson spent his last season as the Skyhawks’ head coach. But he remained a Deer Valley teacher while coaching on the Glendale Community College staff.
The Skyhawks’ staff overhaul coincided with the end of the GCC football program.
“Sven and I have known each other since we both started with the district in 2002. Teaching together for a year, we got to know each other on a more personal level. We have type of philosophy about how to put kids in situations to be successful and teaching life lessons. He’s a really good guy and great coach. I have a lot of respect for him. When JUCO came to a stop I told him it made sense to stay here and coach. He was happy to jump on board and he’s doing a fantastic job,” Friedman said.
Shawn Wools is the only coach to stay from the 2018 varsity staff and will remain the offensive and defensive lines coach. He will have some big-time assistance from former Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Seth Olsen, now a teacher and coach at Deer Valley.
Dan Zemski is studying for his Master’s degree in secondary education at Grand Canyon University, played at Black Hills State University in South Dakota and wants to get into coaching. Last year, he served as an intern at Deer Valley and this fall he will be the Skyhawks’ outside linebackers and receivers coach.
Bubba Clement is the new defensive backs coach.
Lower level staffing is more set, although whether the Skyhawks will play a complete junior varsity and freshman schedule is unknown. The freshman staff remains led by C.J. Morgan.
Friedman said he likes the incoming freshman this year, and the JV roster could be tiny. Or they all might be on one big junior varsity, depending on what teams rivals field.
In 2018 the junior varsity started 2-0 then, in effect, had to be shut down as most of those players plugged holes on the varsity.
“I had a meeting with (athletic director) Stacey Spencer (earlier in June) and we still don’t know what it’s going to look like in terms of will we do a 9-10 team? Or will we run freshmen, JV and varsity like we traditionally do. I don’t know what the teams we play are going to do. Last year Greenway called us up and said, ‘We don’t have a JV team so we’re sending the sophomores down to freshmen.’ Then we get to the Goldwater week and Goldwater already folded their freshman team and moved all the freshmen up to JV. So do I make the freshman play that because we don’t have enough JV kids?”
Most of those junior varsity and freshmen players in 2018 will begin this season on the varsity, if not the starting lineup from day one.
That tends to happen when a team enters the year with six seniors on its roster.
“What I see from our underclassmen is that they’ve humbled themselves and every day they try to get better. On the field and off the field is that they all bonded. And we’re closer with our underclassmen,” senior tailback Charles Hill said.
Hill is one of six surviving senior Skyhawks. Beyond that, he is one of two seniors to play only one year of organized football.
Receiver A.J. Shaffer also just picked up the game last year. Hill transferred from Mountain Ridge before last fall to play basketball at Deer Valley. Friedman convinced him to try football, and he saw game action at tailback and defensive back late last year.
Edward Bojorquez is the rock of the Class of 2020 and figures to start at offensive tackle and defensive end. When he does, he will be the only three-year starter on the team.
“All of us are multi-sport athletes. In the wrestling ring we are told that we are the assistant coaches, the veterans. So we try to be like the coaches for our position groups,” Bojorquez said.
Brad Bates plays safety and running back. He may be the purest football player in the senior class.
He racked up 38 tackles in four games — which is both good and bad.
“He’s very quiet but he had a great summer for us. Last year he was in trouble with his grades all year and he only player four games for us. In the second semester, he passed all his classes and did all the right things,” Friedman said.
Senior Corbin Calhoun was a bit small to play defensive end and moved to outside linebacker. Friedman said that he has learned how to play the position now.
Receiver/defensive back Dylan Anderson rounds out the small senior class.
Given those facts, several experienced juniors need to fill the void —— as well as a couple sophomores.It starts with the Moore family in the center of the defense. Donovan led the Skyhawks with 70 tackles as a sophomore and will be joined by brother Jermaine, who enters his sophomore year.
“Donnie and Jermaine Moore will probably be the inside linebackers. They’re very good and coach Christianson likes their work ethic and understanding of the defense,” Friedman said.
A handful of sophomores other than Jermaine Moore should also play frequently on defense. Friedman singled out defensive end Dylan Henderson, nose guard Josh Gartshore and linebacker Ashton Hill, who also figures to see some carries as a backup tailback.
Tanner Conaway looks like the starting quarterback, though Deer Valley has two other options and last year’s experience suggests all may be needed. D.J. Miles is a promising sophomore who Friedman is cautious about throwing into varsity action early.
Last season’s original starter, junior Trent Green, is more of a defensive back and receiver now because of his 5-7, 135-pound frame — and an emergency quarterback. Green started the first four games, suffering a season ending injury at Greenway.
Senior Payton Hisey got the nod in five of the final six. Conaway started against Peoria in 2018.
“We’re definitely not going 0-10 again. We’ve all talked about that. We’re not accepting losing,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer should be one of Conaway’s top targets, along with Green, Anderson and junior newcomer Matthew Weed.
Bojorquez teams with junior Brandon Schwartz to make offensive tackle the best position on the team. 295-pound sophomore Damien Marquez has a good shot at one of the guard spots.
“I want to see this group actually show our family members and everybody we love something to be proud of,” Bojorquez said.
Pride is a primary objective a year after transfers, injuries and academic and disciplinary suspensions conspired to create a winless team.
On one hand, Friedman entered the offseason determined to build a program for the players who buy into it — even if it meant letting players with experience and talent leave.
However, the coach realizes this young team has to show progress in the win column.
“When you start losing like that, people start tapping out. A lot of those kids who wouldn’t buy in decided to go other places because I wouldn’t let them play for me. I’ll sit down with your parents and tell you why you’re not playing for me — you’re disrespectful and want to do your own thing. You don’t want to buy in, so go somewhere else,” Friedman said. “The goals this year are definitely to stay eligible and stay healthy and compete and win. We need to put some Ws on the board. The future looks good but we need to take care of the win column and start building.”