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Spring football could set tone for 2014

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:31 am

Somehow, someway spring football is upon us.

The three weeks of action begins Monday with the two area teams coming from very different places.

Mountain Pointe, of course, is the defending Division I champions, while Desert Vista is coming off its first losing season since 2009.

Where it leads could begin in these three weeks of running drills, inserting new plays into the playbooks, getting a look at new players (JV or transfer) and filling out the initial depth chart.

Considering it coincides with spring sports some of the starters aren’t available so it can make it difficult to get everything in place but serves as a nice kickoff before school lets out and 7-on-7 starts in June.

It is probably more vital to the Thunder since they are coming off a 4-6 year after going 32-7 the three previous years. After going 2-8 in ’09 Desert Vista bounced back to go 10-3 and made the state semifinals.

“We are very excited over here,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds. “We had one of the best off-season ever. There is a good commitment from this group and they are very team minded.”

Hinds put to rest the possibility of a quarterback situation by saying Cade van Raaphorst, who started the first five games last year, will only play defense in 2014 and that Alex Farina, who started the final four games and is currently with the baseball team, will catch up.

The Thunder played a lot of seniors last year with at least 12 prominent players moving on so there will be plenty of opportunity for currents juniors and sophomores to step into big-time roles.

Mountain Pointe will be counting on a lot of new players as well as 16 prominent seniors are leaving the program.

The projected starter at quarterback – Garvin Alston – is on the Pride baseball team, but the trenches will be taken care of with starters Colin Lambdin, Clayton Dry and Nick Carman returning.

Running backs Paul Lucas, who is setting records in track, and Brandyn Leonard return.

The defense, led by linebackers Austin Cronen and Keondre Churchwell, will have to replace more bodies.

That’s what the next three weeks are for I suppose.

But for me, since this is Arizona and transferring comes free and easy, I looked forward to seeing who else might be lining up for area teams.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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