VX football preview: Cactus Shadows - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

VX football preview: Cactus Shadows

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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 1:35 pm | Updated: 4:00 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Cactus Shadows Falcons

Division II, Section III

Coach: Greg Davis

Last year’s record: 7-4, lost in the first round of the 4A-I playoffs to Apollo.

Returning offensive starters: 4, including QB Bryce Kinsler, who threw for 3,247 yards and 28 touchdowns with only eight interceptions last season as a sophomore.

Returning defensive starters: 2, including DE Tommy Pritchard, who had 53 tackles and 2 ½ sacks last season.

Schedule

Aug. 26 at Boulder Creek, Sept. 2 at Pinnacle, Sept. 9 vs. Bradshaw Mountain, Sept. 16 at Queen Creek, Sept. 23 vs. Prescott, Sept. 30 vs. Barry Goldwater, Oct. 6 vs. Horizon, Oct. 14 at Notre Dame, Oct. 21 vs. Paradise Valley, Oct. 28 at Shadow Mountain.

Key games

Aug. 26 at Boulder Creek: The season opener is a good test. Davis takes over for Chad DeGrenier as coach, and he will need to have his team ready for this one.

Sept. 16 at Queen Creek: These two teams played a nail-biter last year, as the Bulldogs held on for a one-point victory. Cactus Shadows would like some revenge.

Oct. 14 at Notre Dame: The Saints and Falcons have combined to win three state titles in the past five seasons. Both have moved up from 4A to Division II, and would like to show that they can be competitive with teams like Chaparral, Centennial and Marcos de Niza.

Outlook

Greg Davis can’t be too mad at the situation he has walked into. The new Cactus Shadows coach is taking over for Chad DeGrenier, who accepted the Mountain View job this offseason. Davis is a spread offense guy, and he has the perfect quarterback to utilize for his pass-heavy scheme.

Bryce Kinsler is back for his junior season after putting up eye-popping numbers last season. He threw for 3,247 yards, 28 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, completing 67 percent of his passes.

“He makes it look easy,” Davis said.

The Falcons went 7-4 last season but lost in the first round of the 4A Division I playoffs. Kinsler loses top receiving targets John Leonard and Joree Schneider, but Kyle Gladstone returns after missing all of last season due to injury. R.J. Anderson will be the primary tailback because starter Cameron Larson transferred to Saguaro in the offseason.

The defense will be the biggest question mark, as only two starters return. Davis couldn’t find a defensive coordinator, so he will be calling plays on both sides of the ball. Defensive end Tommy Pritchard should be one of the defense’s best players, and he should also be a weapon offensively at tight end.

Cactus Shadows has a competitive schedule, with Boulder Creek and Pinnacle back-to-back out of the gate and Queen Creek and Notre Dame later in the season.

“We’re going to find out how good we are pretty quickly,” Davis said.

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