2022 Southern Arizona high school football preview: St. David Tigers

Braden Davis has coached St. David to a 13-1 record in the 1A South since 2019 (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

1A South: St. David Tigers

2021 record: 10-2 overall, 6-0 1A South (champion)

Head coach: Braden Davis, 26-18, sixth year at St. David and overall. Davis is the school psychologist at St. David who also visits schools in neighboring districts to provide support.


Key returners:

  • QB/DB Grayson Merrill, 5-8, 140, Soph.
  • RB/LB Marek Haynie, 5-6, 150, Sr.
  • WR/DB Koy Richardson, 6-3, 160, Sr.
  • TE/DE Kydin Richardson, 6-2, 185, Sr.
  • QB/DE Ryan Gooding, 6-2, 185, Sr.
  • RB/LB Jadon Gill, 6-0, 210, Soph.
  • RB/LB Conner Curtis, 5-10, 160, Sr.
  • TE/DE Paul Parker, 6-3, 185, Sr.

“We’ve got 10 seniors and that’s awesome. Any time you get 10 seniors at the 1A level that’s really good. And we’ve got 10 seniors who can play. We’re very fortunate and looking forward to a good year.” – Davis

“I’m excited to start over again. I like to start new goals and accelerate as best we can. I’m excited to see our growth as a team.” – Richardson

St. David senior QB Ryan Gooding is looking to build off a highly productive 2021 season (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“A lot of hard work like last year. Dedication. Wanting it. I think about it every day, last year’s state championship game (losing to Mogollon 58-12). I want to be in the position again but I don’t want to lose that.” – Gooding on what it will take to win the 1A South again and challenge for a title again

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach and offensive coordinator: Braden Davis
  • Defensive coordinator, offensive line and linebackers: Greg Barker
  • Wide receivers and defensive backs: Brett Bailey
  • Offensive and defensive line: Geoff Wilson
  • Assistant: Bowdie Gill
  • Assistant: Josh Lunt
St. David senior Koy Richardson is a threat as a receiver and safety (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Notes: St. David is 13-1 in the 1A South under coach Braden Davis over the last three seasons. The Tigers have not lost a region game since a 28-18 setback at Duncan on Sept. 27, 2019. They have won 11 straight games in the 1A South since that defeat. They open the season with a region game against new member Kearny Ray at home Friday. … Mark the calendar: The rematch of last year’s 1A state championship takes place on Sept. 16 with St. David hosting Mogollon at 7 p.m. The Tigers suffered their two losses last year against Mogollon. … QB Ryan Gooding, who has good enough size at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds to also play the will-linebacker position, is coming off one of the best passing performances in the state in 8-man football from last season (his first as a varsity starter at the position). He completed 148 of 232 pass attempts for 2,468 yards with an incredible 34 touchdowns with only four interceptions. … The running back position is one of St. David’s biggest question marks with Talon Haynie exhausting his eligibility after running for 1,780 yards on 187 carries last season. Haynie also ran for 28 touchdowns. Marek Haynie, one of Talon’s younger brothers, is slated to take over the bulk of the carries after rushing for 136 yards on 20 carries last season. … The Richardson cousins — Koy and Kydin, both seniors — are two of the more productive receivers returning for Gooding. Koy (who also had six interceptions as a safety) is the top receiver returning with 21 catches for 303 yards. Kydin was not used as extensively last year but expect him to be a threat at tight end for the Tigers.

St. David tight end Kydin Richardson breaks free during a recent scrimmage thanks to a block by Jadon Gill in the background (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Keep an eye out for: RB/LB Jadon Gill is a 6-foot and 210-pound sophomore who is developing into a physical force for St. David. Despite being one of the younger players on the team, he is listed as the heaviest on the roster but he is not situated only on the line. He has the athleticism to play off the line at running back and linebacker.

NO. 2 ST. DAVID (9-1)

Tigers compete in the 1A South (8-man football). *Region game. +1A state playoffs. ++ 1A state playoff games at Scottsdale Coronado HS. Games at 7 p.m.
8/19Kearny Ray*W, 42-01-0
8/26Baboquivari*W, 58-62-0
9/2@ BagdadW, 70-203-0
9/9@ Duncan*W, 52-04-0
9/16MogollonW, 61-445-0
9/23@ Valley Union*W, 55-66-0
9/30San Manuel*W, 69-347-0
10/6@ Fort Thomas*W, 28-08-0
10/14@ HaydenL, 28-198-1
10/28Bagdad+W, 70-269-1


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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