Tanque Verde first-year coach Jay Dobyns has run the gamut of emotions — confidence, overconfidence, doubt and down and out — in his athletic and law enforcement career.
He knows the program he took over this year, woeful with a 15-game losing streak dating to Sept. 21, 2018, was not accustomed to success. How will they handle it?
The feeling around the Hawks has changed dramatically after one game under Dobyns and his notable array of assistant coaches, including former Arizona teammates Jeff Kiewel, Van Brandon and David Adams.
Tanque Verde RB Dillon Simmers, @APSMailroom/@FrognFirkinAZ Player of the Week, talks about getting refocused for Rio Rico. Hawks coming off 49-10 win over Rincon-University, in Jay Dobyns' first game as coach, after going 0-10 last year. Simmers 192 yards rushing & 7-7 PATs. pic.twitter.com/WP3Ze7ERen
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) November 13, 2020
The 2A program defeated visiting 5A Rincon/University 49-10 last week in their season opener.
Leading the way to the big win was senior running back Dillon Simmers, a 6-foot-1 and 200-pound physical player who gained a career-high 192 yards on 10 carries with three touchdowns. He also made all seven of his point-after attempts as a kicker.
“Work even harder, lead your teammates even further for it to continue to shine,” Dobyns mentioned to Simmers.
Next up: A scheduled game at Rio Rico (1-1) on Friday night at 7 p.m.
The Hawks will attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since the 2017 season.
“We came back from the win but got focused right away,” Simmers said of the Hawks’ preparation this week. “We know that yeah we won one game but you’re only as good as your last game. Now this is our next game to go to.
“We looked at our film, studied it, came out here to practice and I feel confident in our guys.”
Tanque Verde’s 49 points against the Rangers nearly matched the Hawks’ total of 62 all of last season when they finished 0-10.
“We remember the years before and how bad it felt to lose. We honestly don’t want to go back to that,” said Simmers, who started playing football as a freshman and is in his third year on the varsity level.
“We want to show everybody who doubts us that we are for real. It wasn’t just a one-week thing.”
Tanque Verde will attempt to start a season 2-0 for only the second time in program history, matching the 2013 team. The northeast school is in its 10th year of having of a football program.
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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.