2021 Southern Arizona High School Football: Top returning juniors



Cholla’s Malachi Eafon during an unofficial visit of Arizona’s campus in July (Eafon photo)
  • RB/DB Amier Austin, Tucson, 5-7, 150
    • Totaled 15 tackles and a sack in the Badgers’ two games last season.
  • DE/TE Damian Coley, Salpointe, 6-3. 220
    • Tallied 16 tackles and two sacks in the Lancers’ seven games last year.
  • QB Deion Conde, Sunnyside, 5-6, 150
    • COVID-19 limited Sunnyside’s season to one game last year, a 49-17 win over Flowing Wells. Conde passed for 286 yards in the game, completing 20 of 26 pass attempts. He had five TDs and no interceptions. Conde has 1,890 passing yards in 11 games of his career. He has 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
  • RB Malachi Eafon, Cholla, 5-6, 155
    • Nephew of former Arizona running back Kelvin Eafon, rushed for 160 yards in the Chargers’ two games last season.
  • QB/DB Elijah Joplin, Marana, 6-2, 165
    • Completed 32 of 45 passes for 429 yards with four interceptions and one touchdown in 2020.
  • LB/WR Conner Raetzman, Salpointe, 5-11, 175
    • Produced 10 tackles and a pass deflection last season.
  • RB/LB Elias Roberts, Salpointe, 5-10, 180
    • Had nine tackles and a sack last year.
  • RB Jordan Thomas, Ironwood Ridge, 5-11, 190
    • Gained 164 yards in the Nighthawks’ two games last year. He also tallied 12 tackles as a cornerback.


Walden Grove’s Caleb Lyden (AllSportsTucson.com photo)
  • RB/DB Eden Bae, Catalina Foothills, 6-0, 168
    • Rushed for 124 yards in two games last season.
  • WR/DB Caleb Lyden, Walden Grove, 5-10, 180
    • Effective backup QB last year completing 9 of 11 passes for 157 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Tallied 14 tackles on defense.


Pusch Ridge’s Will Way is garnering interest from Division I Power 5 programs (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
  • RB David Cordova II, Sabino, 5-6, 168
    • Rushed for 101 yards on only nine carries last season with two touchdowns.
  • WR/CB/KR Bryce Jewell, Pusch Ridge, 5-10, 160
    • Had 24 receptions for 238 yards with two touchdowns in 2020. Produced 19 tackles and returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown against Yuma Catholic.
  • LB/TE Tyler Mustain, Pusch Ridge, 6-2, 190
    • Produced 77 tackles, including 9.0 for loss, including six sacks, last season. Also recovered a fumble and made four pass deflections. Had six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.
  • TE/DE Will Way, Pusch Ridge, 6-4, 240
    • Totaled 39 tackles, including five for loss with 3.5 sacks in 2020. Recovered a fumble and deflected three passes. Also caught six passes for 92 yards.


Willcox’s Ayden Fuentes is one of the top 2A Class of 2023 quarterbacks locally (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
  • RB/LB Diego Chavez, Bisbee, 5-10, 190
    • Rushed for 566 yards on 114 carries with five touchdowns last season. He also totaled 37 tackles, two for loss.
  • OT/DE Jack Endean, Tanque Verde, 6-2, 285
    • Salpointe transfer has already received a scholarship offer from Arizona.
  • QB/DB Ayden Fuentes, Willcox, 5-10, 175
    • Completed 32 of 53 passes for 492 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions last season. Also had 29 tackles and a fumble recovery.
  • RB/LB Cristian Pando, Willcox, 5-10, 185
    • Tallied 248 yards on 43 carries with two touchdowns and had 17 receptions for 252 yards with four touchdowns. Also compiled 48 tackles and a fumble recovery.
  • WR/CB Angel Rigney, Benson, 5-10, 160
    • Rushed for 145 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns and tallied 29 tackles, one for loss, with a fumble recovery last season.
  • RB/LB Brayden Scott, Tanque Verde, 5-10, 220
    • Had 32 tackles including a sack last season.


Mathias Medina of San Manuel excels on both sides of the ball (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
  • QB/DB Jesus Buendia, Baboquivari, 5-10, 170
    • Baboquivari had its season canceled last year because of COVID-19. As a freshman in 2019, Buendia rushed for 454 yards on 66 carries with four touchdowns. He also had 10 receptions for 194 yards.
  • RB/LB Mathias Medina, San Manuel, 5-7, 165
    • ¬†Rushed for 275 yards, caught 20 passes for 312 yards, had 45 tackles and scored 46 points last season.
  • TE/DE Kydin Richardson, St. David, 6-0, 170
    • Tallied 18 tackles, four for loss, last season. Had 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hurries.

2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Openers

The 2021 Southern Arizona high school football schedule is set to begin with Class 1A matchups on Aug. 20. Here is a list of every local high school with their opener (*-denotes Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic games):
AmphiSept. 2*Flowing Wells
BaboquivariSept. 3at Ray
BisbeeAug. 27Catalina
BensonAug. 27Pusch Ridge
BuenaSept. 3at Barry Goldwater
CatalinaAug. 27at Bisbee
Catalina FoothillsSept. 3Sabino
CDOSept. 3at Salpointe
ChollaSept. 3at Rincon/University
CienegaSept. 3at Sunrise Mountain
Desert ViewSept. 3at Sunnyside
DouglasSept. 10Bisbee
EmpireSept. 3at Sahuarita
Flowing WellsSept. 2*at Amphi
Ironwood RidgeSept. 3Ironwood
MaranaSept. 3Mountain View
Mountain ViewSept. 3at Marana
NogalesSept. 10at Rio Rico
Palo VerdeSept. 3Walden Grove
PuebloSept. 2*at Sahuaro
Pusch RidgeAug. 27at Benson
Rincon/UniversitySept. 3Cholla
Rio RicoSept. 10Nogales
SabinoAug. 27at AZ College Prep
SahuaritaAug. 27at Thatcher
SahuaroSept. 2*Pueblo
San ManuelAug. 27Ray
St. DavidSept. 3Bagdad (site TBD)
SalpointeSept. 3CDO
Santa Cruz ValleyAug. 27at San Tan Charter
Santa RitaAug. 27Tombstone
SunnysideSept. 3Desert View
Tanque VerdeAug. 27Heritage Academy Laveen
TombstoneAug. 27at Santa Rita
TucsonSept. 3Maricopa
Valley UnionAug. 20Ray
Walden GroveSept. 3at Palo Verde
WillcoxAug. 27Globe


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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