4A Gila: Douglas
2020 record: 0-1 before COVID-19 protocol cut the season short.
Head coach: Hunter Long, 3-8 third year at Douglas and overall. Long returned to his alma mater to become the head coach in 2019 after James Fitzgerald (now the head coach at Eloy Santa Cruz) left after two seasons. Hunter, 28, was a three-year starter for Douglas as a fullback and linebacker during his varsity career from 2007-10. After being an all-state selection as a senior, Long played at Victor Valley College in Victorville (Calif.) before playing his last season as a walk-on defensive lineman with the Wildcats in 2014 when they won the Pac-12 South title.
- RB/LB Vicente Cordona, 5-10, 190, Jr.
- RB/LB Kevin Ybarra, 5-7, 180, Sr.
- C/DT Ben Sandoval, 6-0, 225, Jr.
- WR/CB Juan Garcia, 6-3, 170, Jr.
- OL/DL Cheezy Valencia, 5-11, 270, Sr.
- Head coach/defensive coordinator: Hunter Long
- Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks: Serge Rivera
- Running backs/linebackers: Bobby Long
- Offensive line/defensive line: Zack Jensen
- Wide receivers/defensive backs: Daniel Castillo
- Defensive backs: Jason Sanez
- Offensive line/defensive line: Richard Ross
Notes: A member of Long’s coaching staff is his father Bobby, who started coaching Hunter with the Douglas Chargers’ youth football team at Douglas High School. The Bulldogs’ opener against Bisbee on Friday will be played on the new synthetic turf field at Douglas. … Long mentioned that he has kept up with Arizona’s football program and is especially pleased that new coach Jedd Fisch has made it important to reach out to all the football alumni and the local high school football coaches, of which he is part of both. … Douglas’ only game last year was a 63-3 loss at Walden Grove. That occurred on Oct. 30, about a month after the Douglas School Board almost canceled the season but kept going after the AIA cleared teams to play. … Keep an eye on junior LB/RB VIcente Cardona, who the Douglas coaching staff likes as an athlete and because of his leadership capabilities. … Douglas finished 8-2 in 2018 but did not make the playoffs because of paperwork violations that forced each win to be forfeited. The Bulldogs have not advanced to the state playoffs since 2011. Their last state playoff win was in 2009 when Hunter Long was a junior. Douglas advanced to the second round that season after beating Phoenix Arcadia in the opening round. … Douglas will play its first three games in southeast Arizona, playing at Safford on Sept. 17 and then at Thatcher on Sept. 24 before traveling to Casa Grande on Sept. 30. After playing Bisbee on Friday, the Bulldogs do not have a home game until Oct. 8 when it plays Mica Mountain, a Vail high school in its second year of existence playing a limited varsity schedule. The Thunderbolts are coached by legendary Pat Nugent.
New field is finished, it’s game week, life is good 😏🔥 pic.twitter.com/xRLtUQPna6
— Douglas ❌ulldogs Athletics (@BulldogsDouglas) September 6, 2021
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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. 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