2021 Southern Arizona High School Football Preview: Nogales

Nogales is set to play its first varsity game in almost 22 months when the Apaches host Rio Rico on Friday (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

5A Sonoran: Nogales

2020 record: Did not play because of COVID-19 protocol, joining Baboquivari and Catalina as the only programs in Southern Arizona to go the entire season without playing a game.

Head coach: Jake Teyechea, 6-14 fourth season at Nogales and overall. Teyechea is a former Nogales standout who graduated in 2009 before attending Arizona State. During his time at the Tempe school, Teyechea served as the Sparky mascot. Before returning to Nogales in 2014 to be the coach of the freshman team, he was part of the Tempe Corona del Sol staff with Tom Joseph, who is now the head coach at Santa Rita. Teyechea coached Nogales’ offensive and defensive lines on the varsity team in 2015, then took over as the head junior varsity coach in 2016 while continuing his work with the varsity defensive line. In 2017, he led the Apaches’ freshman squad and assisted the varsity, which was coached by Kevin Kuhm, who has since returned to Rio Rico (where he started his head coaching career). Nogales hosts Rio Rico in the opener for both teams Friday.

Key returners:

  • WR/S Alex Armendariz, Sr.
  • WR/CB Gabe Badilla, Sr.
  • QB/FS Fernando Valenzuela, Sr.
  • LB/RB Cesar Pacheco, Sr.
  • TE/DE Baltazar Pacheco, Jr.
  • OL/DL Angel Orozco, Sr.
Nogales quarterback Fernando Valenzuela will be called upon to be a leader at quarterback (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/offensive coordinator: Jake Teyechea
  • Defensive coordinator: Gerry Garcia
  • Assistant: Joey Garcia
  • Assistant: Porifirio Mendoza
  • Assistant: Gabe Herrera
This is Jake Teyechea’s eighth season as a coach at his alma mater Nogales, his fourth as the head coach (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Notes: Nogales has six home games instead of five this season because the game originally scheduled at Rio Rico to start the season Friday is shifting to Nogales because the new synthetic turf has yet to be installed at Rio Rico. Nogales is 12-0 against the Hawks since 1997, when Rio Rico opened its doors for the first time. … Keep an eye on Class of 2023 tight end and defensive end Baltazar Pacheco, who has good size at 6-2 and 230 pounds. He already has the distinction of being a captain despite being a junior. … The last varsity game played by Nogales was on Nov. 11, 2019 at Marana, a 29-24 loss. The last varsity home game was almost 23 months ago on Oct. 18, 2019, a loss to Buena. … None of the current Apaches were listed among the team’s statistical leaders two seasons ago. The top players from that team have all graduated. … Teyechea is trying to coach the Apaches to a winning season for the first time since 2015, when Kuhm coached the Apaches to an 8-3 season and spot in the state playoffs. … Nogales travels to Desert View on Oct. 8 to face the team coached by former Nogales standout and head coach Robert Bonillas, who played at tight end at Arizona under Dick Tomey.

Nogales coach Jake Teyechea has done plenty of teaching getting his team ready after the Apaches did not play a game last season due to COVID-19 protocol (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com_



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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