2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Preview: Marana

New Marana coach Philip Steward has an NFL background (Kevin Murphy/AllSportsTucson.com)

5A Sonoran: Marana

2020 record: 1-2 before COVID-19 protocol cut the season short, ending the brief three-year Louie Ramirez II era at Marana.

Head coach: Philip Steward, first year at Marana and overall. Steward became the head coach in April after Ramirez took an assistant coaching position at powerhouse Scottsdale Saguaro. Steward is from Missouri City, Texas, a suburb of Houston, where he was an all-state linebacker. He was with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and 2014 after signing as a free agent following his career at Houston (where he played for former Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin). He also played in the Fall Experimental Football League and the Canadian Football League. He joined former Arkansas standout and NFL player Alonzo Highsmith Jr. at Willcox. He coached with Highsmith (who resigned before last season) for three years before joining Ramirez’s staff in 2020. He coached outside linebackers and running backs. Steward moved to Tucson because his fiancée is attending pharmacy school at the University of Arizona.

Key returners:

  • QB Elijah Joplin, 6-1, 175, Jr.
  • WR/DB Sam Brown, 6-0, 175, Jr.
  • QB/DB Josh Roman, 5-11, 170, Jr.
  • OT/OLB Matthew Jensen, 5-7, 160, Jr.
  • LB/RB Colin Bourguet, 5-9, 170, Sr.
  • WR/CB Nick Scott, 6-0, 180, Jr.
  • LB/RB Troy Fox, 6-1, 190, Sr.
  • DE/TE Daniel Parrish, 6-1, 170, Sr.
  • WR/DB Chika Ebunoha, 6-0, 175, Sr.
  • OL Ben Evans, 6-2, 265, Sr.
  • OT/DT Javier Arvizu Gonzalez, 5-10, 266, Sr.
Sam Brown has trained with the successful Tucson Turf program (Marana photo)

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/linebackers/running backs/offensive coordinator: Philip Steward
  • Quarterbacks: Lee Joplin
  • Defensive coordinator/secondary/offensive line: Jim Yencarelli
  • Defensive line/strength & conditioning coordinator: Matt Thomas
  • Wide receivers/defensive backs: Jordan Kirchner
  • Linebackers: Chad Sweatman
  • Strength and conditioning/offensive line/defensive line: Matthew Thomas
  • Assistant: David Catalano
  • Wide receivers/defensive backs: Austin Ballard
  • Kickers/punters; Benjamin Min
  • Wide receivers/defensive backs: Jay Sharp
  • Wide receivers/defensive backs: Corey Wims Jr.
  • Running backs/offensive line: Randy Boswell

Notes: Colin Bourguet is the cousin of Trenton, Cobin and Treyson Bourguet. Trenton established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in Marana history before walking on in 2019 at Arizona State, where he is now under scholarship and the No. 2 QB behind Jayden McDaniel. Cobin and Treyson transferred to Salpointe. Cobin recently joined ASU as a preferred walk-on as a receiver. Treyson has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the state. Colin has taken on a leadership role with the Tigers at linebacker. … QB Elijah Joplin progressed impressively in his sophomore season at quarterback last year before the pandemic halted the season. Joplin, operating under Ramirez’s passing offense, which Steward will retain, completed a phenomenal 32 of 45 pass attempts (71.1 percent) for 429 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. … Sam Brown, who played QB for Marana as a freshman in 2019, is now one of the top skilled-position players on offense and defense in Southern Arizona. In limited opportunities last year because of injuries, he had nine catches for 92 yards in two games. He also snared two interceptions. … After hosting rival Mountain View on Friday for “The Boot” — a showdown that has not been played in seven seasons because of unruly fans at the last matchup — Marana does not return home again until Oct. 1 when it plays Desert View.

(Marana graphic)



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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