Prep for Southern Arizona High School Football All-Star Showcase complete

Dennis Bene leads his Red team in preparation for Friday’s Southern Arizona High School Football All-Star Showcase (Javier Morales/AllSportsTuscon.com)

The weeklong practices for the Southern Arizona High School Football All-Star Showcase came to an end on Thursday night at Tucson High School with more memorable speeches and many top coaches locally talking shop and generally having a good time not having to match wits against each other like they do every Friday night in the fall.

This is an example of the who’s who of local coaches at Tucson High this week:

On one side of the practice field on Thursday night was Tucson High coach Richard Sanchez conversing with Mica Mountain’s Pat Nugent — nearly 300 coaching victories combined — and on the other, state champion coach Matt Johnson of Mountain View was standing alongside longtime former coach and Tucson High legend Will Kreamer.

CDO’s Dustin Peace and Sahuaro’s Scott McKee coached a unit together with McKee’s legendary dad Larry McKee, a former Arizona standout and established local coach and administrator, looking on.

Dennis Bene and many of his former assistants at Salpointe, including Tanque Verde coach Jay Dobyns and Tucson Sugar Skulls offensive line coach Al Alexander, were by his side with the Red team.

The game, which also involves an all-star cast of local high school cheerleaders, takes place at 7 p.m. at Tucson High on Friday with the gates opening at 6. Free tickets numbering 2,200 are available.

Many representatives of the Arizona Bowl have worked diligently, volunteering their time, to make this happen.

Julius Holt, a former Arizona football standout and current president of the Tucson Youth Football & Spirit Federation, talked to the approximately 70 players after Thursday’s practice about perseverance when it comes to their academics and football careers at the next level.

He tried to instill Southern Arizona pride in the them by saying, “The competition is here. You don’t need to go to another place to compete against somebody. We got kids right here in Tucson. You can compete against yourselves.”

Holt also told them no substitute exists for hard work.

“If you take short cuts, then short cuts is what you’re going to get,” he said.

Former Catalina Foothills coach Darius Kelly, a Buena grad who went on to excel at Pima College and Syracuse, told the players the advantages of joining his Sonoran Sidewinders junior college team. The Sidewinders are comprised of players attending a junior college who can use the opportunity to be seen by college scouts to land scholarships.

“I was in your shoes looking for an opportunity and I didn’t have a scholarship offer coming out of high school,” Kelly said. “Coach Nugent (then an assistant at Pima) gave me an opportunity. I got an opportunity to play at Syracuse University and move on to the next level with the Bills and Chargers, doing all that.

“I took this opportunity (with the Sidewinders) for guys like you … to bring this junior college program back to life here. The window for opportunity is very, very small. You have to take advantage of it. You have to. The next four years of your life will set you up for the next 40 years.”

The week’s previous coverage at AllSportsTucson.com:

Here are some more sights and sounds of the last day of practice:

Red team coach Dennis Bene:

Blue team coach Nemer Hassey:

Tanque Verde coach Jay Dobyns:

Tanque Verde assistants Jack Dobyns and Matt Vincent:

Tucson Sugar Skulls strength and conditioning coach Glenn Howell:

Marana athlete Isaiah Roebuck:

Eloy Santa Cruz RB/LB Hunter Ogle:



Head Coach: Dennis Bene

1 Jones, Carson WR 5’11” 155 Tanque Verde
2 Kidney, Caleb WR 6’2″ 185 Cienega
3 Montano, Esevan QB 5’6” 158 Sequoia Pathway Academy
4 Austin, Corbin QB 6’1” 165 Tanque Verde
5 Simmers, Dillon RB 6’0″ 185 Tanque Verde
6 Stewart, Izaiah WR 5’10” 165 Sequoia Pathway Academy
7 Golden, Decorrious S 5’11 175 Santa Rita
8 Bustin, Michael WR 6’2″ 177 Mountain View
9 Shutte, Colr WR 6’0” 155 Marana
10 Rodriguez, Edryann CB 5’10” 160 Rio Rico
11 McCaa, Clea CB 6’2” 180 Buena
12 Neustadter, Montana QB 6’4” 205 Canyon Del Oro
13 Hamm III, Charles WR 5’11″ 170 Cienega
14 Roberts, Devyn QB 5’10” 150 Sahuaro
15 Foster, Payton CB 5’10” 160 Tombstone
17 Peralta, Ruben WR 6’3” 200 Sunnyside
19 Slade Jr., James WR 5’11” 185 Cienega
20 Palacios, Victor CB 5’9” 160 Cholla
22 Watkins, Trevion RB 5’11” 220 Sahuaro
24 Gonzalez, Andrew LB 5’10” 190 Sunnyside
25 Pina, Ikaika CB 6’0” 187 Sunnyside
32 Alvarado, Adrian K 5’10” 154 Walden Grove
33 Adamsh, Sebastian LB 6’0” 225 Walden Grove
36 Brown, Dayawn S 5’10” 170 Empire
40 Oppel, Ryan TE 6’2” 195 Tanque Verde
41 Lovett, Evan RB 6’0” 220 Pusch Ridge Christian Academy
42 Raica, Phillip FB 6’1” 220 Pusch Ridge Christian Academy
49 Walls, Giovanni RB 5’6” 150 Flowing Wells
50 Mejia, Jesus LB 5’9” 190 Santa Rita
52 Ledezma, Adrian OL 5’9” 230 Marana
55 Smith, Nicholas OL 5’11 265 Sequoia Pathway Academy
56 Hodges, Anthony DL 6’2” 250 Buena
72 Farnham, Jacob OL 6’2″ 220 Sabino
73 Cullop, Thomas OL 6’0″ 225 Sahuaro
74 Serrano, Misael OL 6’4” 300 Mountain View
76 Seymore, Hayden OL 6’4” 305 Marana
77 Avant, Dominic OL 6’4” 315 Buena
78 Washington, Elias OL 6’4” 250 Palo Verde
80 Molio’o, Monaseti LB 6’0” 190 Sahuarita
81 Jones, Yufie DL 6’3” 220 Sequoia Pathway Academy
87 Rios, Julian DL 6’3” 245 Desert View


Head Coach: Nemer Hassey

1 Pierce, Zamir WR 6’3” 160 Mountain View
2 Giarraputo, Anthony S 5’10” 165 Sahuarita
3 Johnson, Elias S 6’0” 185 Tucson Magnet
4 Cocio, Emilio WR 5’9” 140 Amphi
5 Levy, Gabriel RB 5’11” 205 Cienega
6 Skaggs, AJ QB 6’1” 195 Sabino
7 Ciaccio, Giovanni QB 6’0” 160 Mountain View
8 Pelletier, Parker WR 6’0” 180 Salpointe Catholic
9 Smith, Daylin LB 6’3” 225 Mountain View
10 Elias, Gabriel QB 6’1” 160 Sahuarita
11 Paxton, Ajay WR 6’1” 195 Mountain View
12 Monares-Leon, Francisco RB 5’9” 160 Pueblo
13 Gutierrez, Christian K 5’10” 160 Cholla
14 Jimenez, Alex WR 6’2” 165 Marana
15 Cordero, David RB 5’11” 185 Salpointe Catholic
17 Nelson, Moses WR 5’10” 160 Cholla
18 Pelletier, Peyton QB 6’1” 195 Ironwood Ridge
19 Fouts, Duncan WR 6’0” 180 Marana
23 Roebuck, Isiah WR 6’0” 185 Marana
24 Piller, Daniel S 5’8” 155 Sahuaro
25 Felix, Sebastian S 6’0” 190 Cienega
26 Morning, Lloyd CB 5’9” 150 Mountain View
27 Cerezo, Esdras LB 5’8” 160 Rio Rico
30 Ogle, Hunter RB 5’10” 180 Eloy Santa Cruz Valley
33 Anthony, Raife CB 5’10” 165 Canyon Del Oro
34 Thompson, John FB 6’1” 240 Flowing Wells
44 Shelley, Dustin LB 6’0” 200 Canyon Del Oro
45 Campos, Mateo LB 5’10” 190 Marana
51 Walton, Teddy OL 6’3” 230 Mountain View
52 Randall, Chase DL 6’1” 265 Canyon Del Oro
54 Campos, Victor OL 6’0” 250 Desert View
55 Hendrickson, Joshua OL 6’2″ 236 Marana
56 Hogan, Anthony DL 6’2” 235 Sahuaro
63 Diaz, Ignacio DL 5’7″ 220 Desert View
64 Harvey, Evan DL 6’0” 220 Ironwood Ridge
65 Parson, Hayden DL 6’5″ 250 Mountain View
66 Frankland, TJ DL 6’0” 300 Sahuaro
81 Culbertson, Alex WR 5’9” 170 Walden Grove
85 Howell, Kobe LB 6’3” 215 Mountain View
88 Torres, Fernando TE 6’2” 230 Salpointe Catholic


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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