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Football Preseason Watch List: Linemen

Salpointe lost Matteo Mele (55) to Washington but CJ Franks (59) and Thomas Lares (53) return to help open holes for the Lancer offensive machine. Cienega’s Zach Mattas also returns. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

In his own words, Cienega lineman Zach Mattas:

“Every team has lost their share of players to graduation but we have a solid core of varsity players returning. We also have some really good underclassmen who will be able to step in and contribute giving us some depth. My strength and conditioning coach Steve Schween has done an amazing job getting my whole team physically prepared for our season. As a whole, our team is probably stronger than it has ever been.

This team is ready to take the next step after losing in the semifinals the last two years. As for me, I have been working hard in the classroom to increase my 3.4 GPA. I have doing everything I can to become a better athlete all together. I have focused on losing my body fat and putting more muscle on. I have been going to Boxing Inc. East with my coach Sergio to work on my balance and hand speed. I also have been going to Desert Speed School with my coach Conner Johnson to get my fast twitch muscle stronger and most importantly my speed overall. I would like to say thank you to my coaches for making me a better athlete. My intentions are to have a very successful senior season and earn a football scholarship.”

The top returning linemen based on region picks and All-Star selections from last year:

LINEMEN
Zach Mattas, Cienega (Sr.)
Caden Wechsler, Sabino (Sr.)
CJ Franks. Salpointe, (Sr.)
Kingsley Ugwu, Sahuaro (Sr.)
Diego Lujan, Canyon Del Oro (Jr.)
Pouria Mostafizi, Catalina Foothills (Sr.)
Ismael Ballesteros, Tucson (Sr.)
Flavio Gonzalez, Pueblo (Sr.)
Christopher Williams, Sahuaro (Sr.)
Jose Lugo, Catalina (Sr.)
Ruben Retana, Sunnyside (Sr.)
Justin McGrath, Ironwood Ridge (Sr.)
Cooper Harris, Rincon/University (Jr.)
Casey Way, Pusch Ridge (Sr.)
Julian Villanueva, Tucson (Sr.)
Kody McPherson, Empire (Sr.)
Michael McCarthy, Rincon/University (Sr.)
Francisco Gutierrez, Rincon/University (Sr.)
Colin Murphy, Ironwood Ridge (Sr.)
Thomas Lares, Salpointe (Sr.)
Sergio Sanchez, Salpointe (Jr.)
Anthony Crawley, Palo Verde (Sr.)
Devin Lopez, Desert View (Sr.)
Dominic Evans, Flowing Wells (Sr.)
Adrian Monreal Sunnyside (sr.)
Omar Ibanez, Pueblo (Sr.)
Jonathan Stanton, Pusch Ridge (Sr.)
Jayson Petty, Sabino (Jr.)
Armando Montano, Palo Verde (Sr.)
Mike Contreras, Mountain View (Jr.)

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com

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