Arizona’s game against NAU on Saturday night at Arizona Stadium will allow 11 of the Lumberjacks from Southern Arizona to take part in a college football game in front of family and friends from the area.
In addition to the current players, former Salpointe standout Jake Casteel is a graduate assistant with the Lumberjacks. Casteel, son of former Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, is a 2014 graduate of Salpointe. He was two-year starter for Dennis Bene. He was with the state champion Lancers in 2013. Jake went on to be a three-time Big Sky All-Academic selection with NAU.
Also, former Arizona reserve quarterback Zachary Werlinger, who lettered at Arizona under Rich Rodriguez from 2014-17, is a graduate assistant with the Lumberjacks.
Here are the current NAU players with Southern Arizona ties:
Wears No. 41: Aguilar, a junior kicker/punter, played at Nogales High School under former coach Kevin Kuhm (now coach at Rio Rico) for two years. He earned AZPreps365.com All-State honors as a kicker and AllSportsTucson.com All-Conference honors as a punter. He made every PAT during his career. He also competed in soccer for four years where he earned MVP honors. He was also a baseball player and golfer for the Apaches. He was named to the Nogales principal’s list and honor roll. … In Thursday’s season opening victory over Missouri State, Aguilar made a career-best 48-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. He had a career day going a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts (48, 21, 46) and drilled 7-of-8 kickoffs for touchbacks.
(Q1 | 1:02) NAU 3 – MSU 3
NAU CAREER HIGHS
Longest Field Goal: 48 yards (Missouri State • 8/29/19)
Longest Punt: 51 (at Montana • 11/4/17)
Most Punts: 5 (at Montana • 11/4/17)
Inside the 20: 1 (2X last vs. Western Illinois • 9/9/17)
Fair Catches: 2 (at Montana • 11/4/17)
Wears No. 46: Becerra is a freshman long snapper with the Lumberjacks after completing a successful career at Ironwood Ridge under former coach Matt Johnson (now at Mountain View). He was listed as 2017 first-team all-Southern Arizona performer as a long snapper by AllSportsTucson.com.
Wears No. 46: Beemiller, a junior linebacker, is at NAU after transferring from South Dakota School of Mines, where he played in 2017 and 2018.
He played at Ironwood Ridge High School under former coach Matt Johnson (now at Mountain View). He was an AllSportsTucson.com all-conference selection his junior and senior seasons. He earned AZPreps365.com all-state honors during his senior season. He was also a senior team captain for one year. … He tied for the team-high with seven tackles in NAU’s win Thursday over Missouri State.
Wears No. 71: Button, a freshman offensive lineman, played at Walden Grove under coach Corey Noble. He was a third-team all-region selection by AllSportsTucson.com last season.
Wears No. 76: Clem, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, played two seasons at Marana High School under former head coach Andy Litten. He was an AllSportsTucson.com all-region selection for both the offensive and defensive lines.
Wears No. 27: Hayward, a freshman receiver, played for Pat Nugent at Cienega High School. He caught 38 passes for 763 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior last season and also rushed 78 times for 636 yards and five scores. He finished 2018 with 1,887 all-purpose yards and added 32 tackles and three interceptions on defense. He ran back a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns. As a junior playing with Arizona receiver Jamarye Joiner (Cienega’s quarterback then), Hayward had 51 receptions for 1,021 yards with 12 touchdowns. He amassed 2,205 all-purpose yards in 2017 and totaled 21 touchdowns. He caught 30 passes for 582 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore. He also ran track and played baseball at Cienega. He has younger sister, Breezy Hayward, who is a softball standout at Cienega. … Terrell played his first college game Thursday as part of the punt-return unit in NAU’s win over Missouri State.
Wears No. 66: Laurita, a junior offensive lineman, played at Ironwood Ridge High School under former coach Matt Johnson (who is now at Mountain View). He was a two-time AllSportsTucson.com All-Southern Arizona, All-City, and All-Section honoree. His team was the 2014 and 2015 section champions. He also competed in wrestling and track & field. His father Albert played football at Oklahoma and uncles John and Steve played football at Colorado State and Air Force.
Wears No. 69: Leader, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman, played at Canyon Del Oro under head coach Dustin Peace. He earned all-conference honors at AllSportsTucson.com and was a second-team AZPreps365.com All-State honoree. He was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year by AllSportsTucson.com. He also competed in wrestling for two years.
Wears No. 44: Michalczik, a redshirt freshman tight end, played at Catalina Foothills under former head coach Jeff Scurran. He earned first-team All-Southern Arizona honors at AllSportsTucson.com. He was a first-team tight end, long snapper, and defensive end for the Kino Region. He also earned All-State honors from AZPreps365.com. His father Jim Michalczik was an Arizona offensive line coach who is now at Oregon State.
Wears No. 4: Powell, a senior linebacker, played at Salpointe under coach Dennis Bene. He finished as the Salpointe career tackles leader and was a two-time All-State selection by AZPreps365.com, three-time Southern Arizona honoree and four-time All-Section pick at AllSportsTucson.com. He also competed in track & field and basketball. His sister Kamaria Powell is a senior basketball player at Salpointe.
NAU CAREER HIGHS
Tackles: 11 (at Southern Utah • 11/18/17)
Sacks: 1 (2X last vs Eastern Washington • 9/8/18)
TFLs: 2.5 (at Southern Utah • 11/18/17)
Fumble Recoveries: 1 (vs. New Mexico Highlands • 9/17/16)
Interceptions: 1 (vs. Northern Colorado • 9/30/17)
Pass Breakups 1 (2X last vs. San Diego • 11/25/17)
Touchdowns: 1 (vs. Northern Colorado • 9/30/17)
Wears No. 74: Wechsler, a freshman, is an athletic offensive tackle who also played on the defensive line during prep career at Sabino High School. He is a two-way player who started all 13 games and helped guide the Sabercats to a 10-3 record during his senior season. He totaled 48 tackles and a pair of sacks as a senior and posted 28 solo tackles during his junior campaign. He was the Sabercats’ captain last season. He is an AllSportsTucson.com first-team All-Region and first-team All-State by AZPreps365.com as a senior. He was named the AllSportsTucson.com 2018 Southern Arizona Lineman of the Year for Class 1A-3A. Also a member of the state finalist team in 2018. He earned a 3.70 GPA.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.