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2022 Southern Arizona high school football preview: Bisbee Pumas


2A San Pedro: Bisbee Pumas

2021 record: 4-6 overall, 1-4 2A San Pedro (fifth)

Head coach: Brian Vertrees, 22-27, sixth season at Bisbee and overall. Vertrees is the son of former Bisbee coach Chris Vertrees. He was raised in Bisbee and played on the offensive line for the Pumas. He is teaching an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Elective class at Bisbee High School.

Bisbee coach Brian Vertrees standing with the Coronados — father Bobby Coronado and sons Robert Jr. and Michael (arm around Vertrees) (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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Key returners:

  • QB/DB Sebastian Lopez, 6-1, 165, Soph.
  • RB/LB Diego Chavez, 5-10, 195, Sr.
  • RB/SS Bryceton Meyer, 5-10, 185, Sr.
  • WR/DB David Chapman, 5-7, 135, Soph.
  • QB/WR Michael Coronado, 5-10, 155, Soph.
  • FB/DT Jesse Larsen, 5-6, 190, Jr.

“We’ve been working to build the program and working to get it to the next level. We’ve been blessed. We had a very solid freshman class last year that gave us a lot of contributors, mainly at our skill positions. We also had a few guys that we developed at offensive linemen and defensive linemen that graduated and went on to college. It’s kind of like the passing of the old guard to the new guard this year. It’s been fun to watch these guys come back throughout the spring and summer that were just kids last year starting to develop into their bodies and getting comfortable with the system. It’s been a real fun offseason and preseason for me in the six years since I’ve been here where I feel like we got our feet under us. We’ve got a very strong leadership and a very strong core of guys to build with.” – Vertrees

“It was a lot of pressure coming in but since I was little I always wanted to come in as the starting quarterback as a freshman. I feel like I had to come over the struggles and it benefited me a lot in other sports, too.” — Lopez

“I think we’re pretty solid. As a group, we come together pretty good. We’ve been working together for many years now so I think we’re going to handle ourselves this year pretty good. We’ll see how it goes, take it game by day.” — Chapman

“It’s fun, growing with my teammates, getting to know them now. … I grew up with them through youth football with the Miners (youth football team in Bisbee).” — Coronado on Bisbee’s youth movement, including his stellar season as a freshman last year.

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks: Brian Vertrees
  • Associate head coach/wide receivers: Bobby Coronado
  • Running backs: Adrian Borquez
  • Co-defensive coordinator/defensive ends: Duane Barrow
  • Co-defensive coordinator: Danny Barrow
  • Defensive backs: Aaron Farmer
  • Assistant: Danny Vertrees

Notes: Two of Bisbee’s first three games are against traditional rivals Douglas and Bisbee at home. … Douglas leads “The Pick” series 80-64-8 since it began in 1906 at old Don Luis Park in Bisbee. The Pumas kept The Pick in six of nine years before Douglas won 24-21 at home last season. … LB/RB Diego Chavez is Bisbee’s leading returning tackler with 85 last season. As a rusher, he compiled 1,638 yards on 225 carries with 19 touchdowns last season. … Sebastian Lopez was made a starter at QB as a freshman and he produced passing for 382 yards while running for 323. As a cornerback, he tallied 44 tackles with two interceptions and fumble recovery. The previous Bisbee freshman to start at quarterback was Aaron Farmer in 2005. Farmer is now the defensive backs coach for the Pumas. … Vertrees’ program was one of many that was greatly affected by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. After finishing 8-3 with a berth to the state playoffs in 2019, Bisbee has gone 5-12 in the last two seasons.

Keep an eye out for: WR/DB David Chapman started as a freshman along with Lopez last season and became Lopez’s top target with 10 receptions for 143 yards. They have the potential to start all four years together at Bisbee.

BISBEE (3-3, 1-0)

Pumas compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/26@ Santa Cruz W, 16-61-00-0
9/2DouglasL, 10-81-10-0
9/9BensonL, 55-181-20-0
9/16@ Veritas PrepL, 27-81-30-0
9/23NFL YetW, 44-81-40-0
9/30Willcox*
10/7@ Tombstone*
10/14Tanque Verde*
10/21@ Santa Rita*W, FFT
10/28@ Catalina*

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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. 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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