Walden Grove is off to a 4-1 start and ready to make a strong playoff push in Class 4A football with one of the most talented nucleus of players in Southern Arizona.
Walden Grove senior quarterback Alex Lopez and his twin brother Jordan Lopez receive most of the notoriety because of their gaudy statistics, but third year coach Corey Noble has a strong supporting cast that makes the Red Wolves a threat to win the 4A Gila and go deep into the postseason.
Alex and Jordan Lopez earned the AllSportsTucson.com APS Digital Print/Tucson Conquistadores Player of the Week honor for their performances in the 49-6 win over Glendale last week. They were presented banners produced by APS Digital Print and plaques by Creative Awards last night at Wings Over Broadway (Camino Seco and Broadway) during the AllSportsTucson.com High School Preview Show.
Alex passed for 335 yards and had three touchdown passes while Jordan caught seven passes for 157 yards with two touchdowns. He also had two interceptions, including a 75-yard return for another touchdown.
Alex is the only big-school (Class 4A-6A) passer in Southern Arizona with more than 1,000 yards at 1,048. He has completed 62 of 108 passes with 12 touchdowns (most locally) with four interceptions. Jordan tops all local big-school players in receptions (18), yards (397) and touchdown receptions (six). He also is tied for the Southern Arizona lead in interceptions with three.
In addition to the Wonder Twins, Noble has these standouts:
— RB Stephen Brower Jr., 501 yards rushing on 58 carries with three touchdowns.
— WR Ty McDermott, 17 receptions for 234 yards and three TDs.
— WR Hector Nahar, 13 receptions for 216 yards and a TD.
— LB Sebastian Adamski, team-leading 71 tackles with seven tackles for loss.
— LB Rick Avelar III, who is garnering attention from Ivy League programs, has 67 tackles with 9..5 tackles for loss.
— DT Thomas Welky leads big-school teams in Southern Arizona with six sacks.
— DE Ismael Gallardo has two sacks among his 5.5 tackles for loss and also is tied for the team lead with DE Trey Girard with five quarterback hurries.
The Red Wolves, who travel to play Rio Rico tonight in the 4A Gila opener for both teams, have tallied 59 tackles for loss. That strong balance on both sides of the ball is a significant reason why Walden Grove is ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 4A in the first rankings released this week.
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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.