Former Tucson High and San Diego State lineman Antonio Rosales became the third local standout to sign with the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League (IFL) the program announced on Thursday.
According to the release, Rosales (6-foot-4, 305-pounds) grew up on the San Xavier Indian Reservation which is part of the Tohono O’odham Nation. He said representing his family and his Nation by playing professional football has been a long-held dream.
“I’ve always played football with the mindset that I am doing this for my people – the Tohono O’odham Nation and Oglala Lakota Nation,” Rosales said in the release. “Being able to do what I love at a professional level has always been the dream, and I know this platform can help me excel further as a professional football player.
“While at San Diego State my family was able to make it to most of my games. It’s a six-hour drive from Tucson to San Diego so playing here is definitely going to make it a lot easier for them to see me play. It gives my family an excuse to see each other almost every weekend and be able to come out and have fun watching us play.”
Rosales played for the Badgers under head coach Justine Argraves, earning First Team All-Southern Arizona by TucsonCitizen.com. After Tucson, Rosales played for the Aztecs for five years, including a redshirt year, and played in 28 games in his last three seasons. Rosales earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from SDSU.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Tony and how far he has come since his playing days here at Tucson High,” Argraves told AllSportsTucson.com.
“Tony is an extremely intelligent and driven individual who will have nothing but success as a member of the Tucson Sugar Skulls. He is as good as any lineman I have coached and it will be extremely exciting to see him playing down the road from Gridley Stadium.”
Verlon Jose, Vice Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, had this to say about Rosales in the release:
“The Nation is very proud to see one of our own achieve this great success. Antonio is an inspiration to O’odham youth as well as youth across Southern Arizona, showing what can be accomplished through dedication and hard work. His family, friends and the entire community are excited to have him playing for our hometown Sugar Skulls.”
Rosales is the eighth player to sign with the Sugar Skulls. Prospective players can send biographical information and game film to firstname.lastname@example.org. An open tryout is scheduled for Nov. 10 at the Kino Sports Complex at 2500 E. Ajo Way.
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