High School Football

Tanque Verde Continues to Overcome Adversity to Achieve Best Start in Program History

Upstart Tanque Verde not only has history against it, but the Hawks also faced difficult situations off the field recently.

Last week, a player was involved in a “near-fatal car accident,” according to first-year coach Jay Dobyns, and assistant coach Van Brandon — a former Arizona safety — underwent a complex and lengthy spine and neck surgery to correct a longstanding injury.

David Adams, another Arizona standout like Dobyns, Brandon and offensive line coach Jeff Kiewel, also returned to practice last week for the first time since suffering a life-threatening stroke last month.

“We are all lucky they are still with us,” Dobyns said. “We got a heavy dose of perspective this week and understand that there are many more important things in life than winning a football game.”

All of which made winning 27-14 last night at Sahuarita that much more gratifying.

Jay Dobyns addressing his team after it achieved its best start of 3-0 in program history (Tanque Verde photo)

Tanque Verde is off to its best start — 3-0 — in its 14-year program history under Dobyns and his staff, which also includes veteran coaches such as Bob Vielledent and John Williams. The only other Hawks team to start 2-0 was in 2013 and they went on to finish 2-8.

The Hawks were 0-10 last season. Their seniors experienced a 4-26 record in the previous three seasons, including a 15-game losing streak before topping Rincon-University 49-10 in the opener Nov. 6.

“We were fortunate to win a fist fight of a game (against Sahuarita),” said Dobyns, who always tries to keep the Hawks grounded while also making them feel accomplished.

Senior quarterback Corbin Austin completed 10 of 25 pass attempts for 255 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Carson Jones, his top target who is also a senior, had four receptions for 118 yards with a touchdown.

Dillon Simmers gained 101 yards on 12 carries to improve to 346 yards on 28 rushes with three touchdowns this season. In his previous two years with the varsity, he gained 196 yards on 41 carries with two touchdowns.

Calvin Jones and Brayden Scott each had 15 tackles to lead the Hawks.

Tanque Verde will attempt to keep its unbeaten season alive with its scheduled game against Palo Verde (1-1) at home Friday.


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.

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