2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Preview: Cholla

Cholla junior running back Malachi Eafon during an unofficial visit of Arizona in June (Eafon photo)

5A Southern: Cholla

2020 record: 1-1 before COVID-19 protocol cut the season short.

Head coach: Virgil Henderson, 8-14 fourth season at Cholla and 8-24 overall fifth season. Henderson is on his second stint with the Chargers after coaching two years at the school in 2014 and 2015. His first experience as a head coach was in 2013 at Rincon on an interim basis. Henderson has coached with some of Southern Arizona’s greats: Dennis Bene at Salpointe, Matt Johnson at Ironwood Ridge and Mountain View, Gary Minor at Ironwood Ridge and Richard Sanchez at Sunnyside. He is one of the best players Catalina High School has produced as a star running back/defensive back (Class of 1987).

Key returners:

  • RB Malachi Eafon, 5-7, 155, Jr.
  • RB/DB Scott Sears, 5-8, 160, Soph.
  • LB/RB Xavier Anaya, 5-7, 175, Sr.
  • DB Julius Rodriguez, 5-9, 160, Jr.
  • T/DE Daniel Laney, 6-0, 200, Jr.
Cholla is trying to challenge for its first winning season since 2015 (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/defensive coordinator: Virgil Henderson
  • Offensive coordinator: Daniel Williams
  • Defensive backs/wide receivers: Stan Porter
  • Offensive line/defensive line: Carson Lown
  • Linebackers/running backs: Noah Silva
Cholla coach Virgil Henderson prides himself on connecting with his players (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Notes: RB Malachi Eafon is the nephew of former Arizona basketball and football player Kelvin Eafon, who is now a youth sports trainer and radio analyst for Wildcat football and basketball games on KCUB-AM (1290-AM). In Cholla’s two games last year, Malachi Eafon rushed for 160 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. He also had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and a 60-yard kickoff return … Cholla has not achieved a winning record since 2015, the second year of Henderson’s first coaching stint with the Chargers. Cholla went 6-4 that season and has gone 9-33 since. … LB Xavier Anaya is the top returning tackler for Cholla with 21. … The Chargers are slated to play four of their last six games at home.



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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