By Ian C. Beck ’12, Erik T. Masingill ’12, Tyler J. Scott ’12 & Michael Moroney ’13
The 2010 season for the Brophy football team saw changes to their starting quarterback and running back position among others, a rash of season-ending injuries to key players and the adoption of a spread offense.
In 2011, the Broncos will attempt to grow in their second year in the new offensive scheme while welcoming back numerous starters who bring experience to a young group.
Experience a key piece of the puzzle
Brophy has talent at the skill positions with returning starters in wide receiver Devon Allen ’13 and running back Marche Dennard ’13 who were both named to The Arizona Republic’s Top Ten list for their respective positions, and junior quarterback Tyler Bruggman ’13 returning for a full season at quarterback after his 2010 campaign was cut short by a leg injury.
The defensive unit has veteran leadership in the likes of safety Jake Faust ’12, defensive back Matthew Cahal ’12 and linebacker Zack Zemer ’12, and some young impact players like linebacker-turned-safety Robert Relf ’13 and defensive lineman Dominic Riccitelli ’13.
Head coach Mr. Scooter Molander said the team’s experience comes primarily in the ball handlers.
“Our experience is in our wide receivers and our quarterbacks and running backs so we want to make sure we can get the ball to our playmakers,” he said. “And everybody’s a playmaker. Allen doesn’t catch the ball if the offensive line doesn’t block. Allen doesn’t catch the ball if our quarterback can’t make a throw.”
Allen, Dennard and Bruggman all have one year’s worth of experience with the varsity team under their belt while wide receiver Freddy Gammage ’12 is in his third year playing on the varsity squad.
Bruggman started six games at the start of the 2010 season and led the Broncos to a 3-3 record before he was injured.
“Tyler has had a really good camp,” Mr. Molander said. “His arm is feeling good, he’s throwing the ball well, he understands the offense, (he’s shown) great leadership, he’s done a very nice job.”
Mr. Molander said that while the team has good experience in some areas, some of the veteran players will need to step outside their comfort zone to be a vocal leader on the team.
“Some guys are quieter than other but just like this school does … we ask guys to get outside their comfort zone,” he said. “Sometimes it isn’t enough to be a quiet leader, to lead by example; sometimes the calling is more than that.”
Emphasis placed on special teams play, offensive consistency and great defensive play
Mr. Molander said that the offense must play more consistenly for the team to perform well.
“Number one, you don’t win championships without a great defense and we’ve played great defense here for a long time,” he said. “Offensively we’ve been good and yet inconsistent.”
Mr. Molander described a great offense not as one that produces big play after big play, but a unit that compiles chunks of positive yards without being hit with penalties, negative yards and bad plays.
Defensively, the team returns several seasoned players this year.
Senior linebacker Zemer thinks highly of the personnel the Broncos have.
“We have a solid secondary with Cahal and (Austin) Rodriguez ’12 at corner and Relf and Faust at safety,” Zemer said. “With Relf and Faust at safety, other teams won’t be able to run the ball outside. Our (defensive line) is pretty good anchored by (Michael Mosharrafa ’12) and Sean Luther ’12.”
According to Mr. Molander, coaches emphasized improving the special team’s unit in 2011.
“We’ve really focused a lot of time not only now but in spring and in June and July on really working the skills there and we’ve improved in that area,” he said. “And you can win or lose, as we know, many ballgames in special teams.”
In the 2010 season, the Broncos used both Zac Bryan ’12 and Casey Skowron ’11 as kicker. This year, the team will turn to senior Zach Hudson ’12 as their primary kicker on special teams.
Matt Auran ’13, who also plays wide receiver, will be the team’s punter and Clarke Attaway ’13 will be the team’s long snapper.
Allen, who is a state champion sprinter for the Brophy track and field team, will return the lion’s share of kicks for the Broncos this season.
Team’s spirit makes it a unique group
The team’s defining quality appears to be its spirit, according to Mr. Molander, who praised their effort over the summer.
“Our guys have given great effort for sure,” Mr. Molander said. “They’re a fun bunch to coach because they’ve got good spirit, they’ve given great effort (and) so far they’ve worked well together”
Quarterback Bruggman echoed the idea that the team has bonded.
“We’ve really come together,” he said “It’s definitely more of a brotherhood this year than what I noticed last year. We’re all really close and we work well together.”
Mr. Molander has been on the Brophy coaching staff since 2001 when he coached linebackers and quarterbacks but said that this team stands apart from all others.
“I really enjoy coaching this team and I speak for our staff, we’ve been talking about that since the beginning of camp,” he said. “When we came back down from Manresa, that evening was one of the most spirited practices I’ve ever been around in my life and this group is an enjoyable group to coach.”
Mr. Molander also praised the team’s workmanlike attitude. He said that football players have to put in immense amounts of work for a meager reward.
“Football is like any other sport in that you practice for months and months in the offseason and if you’re doing things right you get to play 14 games, only 14 games, so you have to enjoy the process,” he said.
2011 Regular Season Schedule
Aug. 26: Brophy vs. Mountain Ridge
Sept. 2: Brophy vs. Boulder Creek
Sept. 9: Brophy at Red Mountain
Sept. 16: Brophy vs. Sandra Day O’Connor
Sept. 23: Brophy at North Canyon
Sept. 30: Brophy at Mountain Pointe
Nov. 6: Brophy vs. Westview
Nov. 14: Brophy vs. St. Mary’s
Nov. 21: Brophy at Westwood
Nov. 28: Brophy at Pinnacle