Valley Christian Trojans
Coach: Kevin Allen
Last year's record: 12-1 (2A state champions)
Returning starters offense: 6, including Sean Higgins, who played the offensive line last year, but may find himself lining up at fullback this year.
Returning starters defense: 6, including Colton Udall, who tallied 80 tackles a year ago from his defensive tackle position. Udall gives the Trojans a strong presence on the defensive line.
Schedule: 8/28 vs. Globe (in Flagstaff); 9/2 vs. Poston Butte; 9/10 at Miami; 9/17 vs. Scottsdale Christian; 10/1 vs. Phoenix Christian; 10/8 at Northwest Christian; 10/15 vs. Tempe Prep; 10/22 at Camp Verde; 10/29 at North Pointe.
Sept. 17 vs. Scottsdale Christian: If both teams live up to expectations, this could be round one between these two (with round two coming in the playoffs). The Eagles are big and experienced, so this will be the real gauge of how close the Trojans are to being a repeat championship contender.
Oct. 8 at Northwest Christian: The Crusaders were the only team to beat the Trojans last year and are a formidable contender once again this year with Casey Jahn, arguably the best running back in 2A.
It’s easy to talk about who left Valley Christian since we last saw the Trojans hoisting the 2A state championship trophy last November. But, what remains for the Trojans is definitely a team worth discussing.
Yes, the departure of coach Bill Morgan and his all-state quarterback/safety/punter son Jordan Morgan, as well as the transfer of two-way starter Nick White to Gilbert High is noteworthy and those changes had an impact on the program. However, Valley Christian returns a lot of talent, even though they may not be as well known yet.
New coach Kevin Allen has mystery on his side as the season gets started. No one is quite sure what kind of offensive schemes the Trojans will employ, but Allen is confident in his set of skill players. Allen likes his group of running backs that includes Josh Pineda, Ryan Johnson and Tyler Hunt, as well as Sean Higgins, an offensive lineman converted to fullback.
Leading the offensive will be senior Drew Bond, who makes the move from tight end to quarterback. Bond, a senior, will be lining up behind a strong offensive line. Returning starters Colton Udall, Conner Pierce and Brian Dunn anchor the line, which loses Nick White, but should remain one of the top units in 2A.