2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Preview: Tucson High

Tucson High had so many players come out for football they had to borrow helmets and shoulder pads from other schools (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

6A East Valley: Tucson

2020 record: 1-1 before COVID-19 protocol cut the season short in the last year of the 10-year Justin Argraves era.

Head coach: Richard Sanchez, first year at Tucson and 161-77 overall 22nd year. Sanchez comes to Tucson with two state football championships at Sunnyside in 2001 and 2003 as well as five consecutive state titles as the Blue Devils’ wrestling coach from 1990-94. He coached a Santa Rita program the previous three years that is beset by declining enrollment. The Eagles were reclassified from 3A to 2A in 2018 because of an enrollment of less than 400 after having more than 1,000 students less than 10 years ago. Sanchez’s career win total of 161 games is the second-most among active coaches in Southern Arizona, trailing only Santa Rita’s new coach Tom Joseph (170-89 in 24th season overall).

Key returners:

  • RB/DB Amier Austin, 5-7, 145, Jr.
  • FS/WR Brenden Dawson, 6-0, 145, Sr.
  • WR/DB Dominic Cano, 5-7, 243, Jr.
  • FS Christian Bayliss, 6-1, 155, Sr.
  • PK/P Marco Alameda-Andraux, 5-9, 190, Sr.
Richard Sanchez coached Sunnyside to two state titles (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/offensive coordinator: Richard Sanchez
  • Defensive coordinator: Anthony Peralta
  • Defensive backs/wide receivers: Philo Sanchez
  • Wide receivers: Shaughnessy Nichols
  • Quarterbacks: Chris Boudy
  • Assistant: Daniel Crespo
  • Assistant: Demetrius Bowie
  • Assistant: Andrew Peralta

Notes: Philo Sanchez is coaching with his father again after serving with Sunnyside a few years after his graduation and playing days at NAU. The younger Sanchez had a historic season in 2001 gaining 325 yards against Prescott in the state championship victory for Sunnyside and rushing for 2,479 yards with 31 touchdowns that year. … Richard Sanchez will likely implement that same kind of dominant running game at Tucson. The Badgers’ quarterback last season, Ayden Ortiz, was also the team’s leading rusher. Ortiz has exhausted his eligibility. … The Badgers play their first three games at home (against Maricopa, Marana and South Mountain) but play their last three on the road (against Mesa, Dobson and Corona del Sol). … Sanchez went from a situation of having to scour the hallways at Santa Rita to find players to barely fill his roster to having 170 players show up for Tucson High’s varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. … Former Santa Rita multi-sport athlete Candice Pocase has attended the Badgers’ practices. Now at Pima College, she played football for Sanchez with the Eagles. She also wrestled and ran cross country and track and field.



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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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