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2022 Southern Arizona high school football preview: Buena Colts


5A Southern: Buena Colts

2021 record: 3-7 overall, 2-3 5A Southern (fourth)

Head coach: Joseph Thomas, 35-59, 11th year overall (including 2012-14 at his alma mater Tombstone) and 24-40, eighth year at Buena. Thomas lost the first 21 games of his career at Buena, but the community and administration stood by his side and he has gone 24-19 since including an 8-3 season in 2019 in which the Colts reached the state playoffs. It was the Colts’ first postseason appearance since 2013 and only their third since 1993. After graduating from Tombstone in 2002, Thomas went on to Pima Community College to play football under Jeff Scurran and run track. He earned a track scholarship to NAU and ran there until 2006.

Buena eighth-year coach Joseph Thomas with two of his senior captains — Trevor Rudolph (left) and Hunter Haymore (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

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Key returners:

  • QB Nash Moore, 6-0, Soph.
  • RB/LB Andres Bonilla, 5-10, 165, Soph.
  • S/W Adrian Bonilla, 6-1, 170, Jr.
  • DT/OT Hunter Haymore, 6-2, 195, Sr.
  • OT/DT Trevor Rudolph, 6-2, 230, Sr.
  • LB Maddox Cox, 5-8, 180, Sr.
  • DE/T Toafia Fruean, 6-3, 270, Sr.
  • WR/S Trevon Evans, 5-10, 140, Sr.

“The good thing is it’s not just about the wins. After the season we had last year, we still have kids coming out. We still have kids motivated. It’s just not on-the-field type of stuff but the life skills. A lot of kids come through and they know through Buena football, we’re going to win some games, we’re going to be successful. They also leave here with something bigger than just the wins on Friday nights and Thursday nights. Life skills, teaching them how to be young men in the community and do good things. Those are the bigger wins, off the field.” – Thomas

“I think we’re doing really good this year. I’ve been learning more and more. Last year, I had a really bad problem with catching so over the offseason, I’ve learned how to catch a lot better now. I’m just getting more and more improved.” — Andres Bonilla

“I feel like I’m more mature and I’ve gotten quicker and stronger. I feel like I’m a better all around athlete than last year. … I feel like we need to trust each other because last year I don’t feel like we trusted each other enough.” — Haymore

“We learned that you wins some, you lose some. You have to get over the losses and keep playing for the wins. We learned that we really need to come together as a team and work better as one unit instead of playing individually.” — Rudolph

“I like the energy. We’re a young group. We’re small. I think we’re very undersized but every one of our players has that dog mentality that we’re going to go get it. That’s what I love about this team.” — Adrian Bonilla

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/running backs/defensive backs: Joe Thomas
  • Defensive coordinator/defensive line: Lawrence Boutte
  • Offensive line: Adam Fuhriman
  • Inside linebackers/quarterbacks: Matt Keough
  • Outside linebackers/wide receivers: Jalen Hampton
  • Special teams: Mike Tomooka
  • Assistant: Charles Stemler
  • Assistant: Chris Kraus
  • Assistant: Laroy Chase
  • Assistant: Matthew Brown
  • Assistant: Paul Maine
  • Assistant: Sam Brown
  • Assistant: Tim Williams
Joseph Thomas, who has a background of attending Pima Community College and Northern Arizona, after earning a master’s degree in education from Oregon in April (Thomas photo)

Notes: Buena coach Joseph Thomas earned his master’s of science degree in educational leadership from Oregon in April. … Former Tombstone QB Aliaz Dyson, who started as a freshman last season with the Yellow Jackets, has transferred to Buena. Dyson passed for 586 yards and rushed for 300 as a dual-threat QB. He must sit the Colts’ first five games of the season per AIA transfer rules. … Buena’s schedule is entirely comprised of Southern Arizona opponents including freedom road games at Sahuarita and Nogales. Buena in the past has scheduled Phoenix-area schools. … DT/OT Hunter Haymore, a senior, is also a baseball prospect at third base and pitcher. He was a standout with last summer’s Sierra Vista senior baseball all-stars team that won the district championship. … Thomas alternated four quarterbacks last year, including William Stemler, who was more of a defensive end. Stemler (6-2, 220) is now at Lindenwood University at St. Charles, Mo. Look for Nash Moore, a freshman who played at QB last year, and Dyson to challenge for the position after Dyson becomes eligible Oct. 14 at Cienega.

Keep an eye out for: RB Andres Bonilla, who as a freshman last season rushed for 499 yards on 104 carries. He caught only one pass out of the backfield all year, however, so keep an eye on that development.

BUENA (3-1, 0-0)

Colts compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
9/2@ SahuaritaW, 27-91-00-0
9/9MaranaL, 35-01-10-0
9/16@ NogalesW, 41-02-10-0
9/23Cholla W, 51-73-10-0
10/7Sahuaro
10/14@ Cienega*
10/21Mountain View*
10/28@ Tucson*
11/4Desert View*
11/11@ Ironwood Ridge*

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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

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