2022 Southern Arizona high school football spotlight: Walden Grove Red Wolves

4A Gila: Walden Grove

2021 record: 4-6 overall, 2-2 4A Kino (third)

2022 record: 0-1 overall

Head coach: Corey Noble, 33-17 sixth year at Walden Grove and overall. Noble, a Sahuarita alum, also serves as a social studies teacher at Walden Grove. Noble was named the interim coach heading into the 2017 season after Chris May submitted his resignation a month before fall practice started that season. The interim tag was removed five games into the season when the Red Wolves started 4-1, more wins than what the program achieved in 2016 (3-7 record).

Walden Grove goes for its first win of 2022 on Friday against visiting Phoenix Greenway (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)


Key returners:

  • WR/DB Jahme Dawson, Sr.
  • QB Gabriel Smith, Jr.
  • WR Caleb Lyden, Sr.
  • SS/LB Nathan Sanchez, Sr.
  • LB/FB Merrick Igasan, Sr.

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach: Corey Noble
  • Associate head coach/offensive line: Brandon Neilson 
  • Offensive coordinator/kickers and punters: Kyle Day
  • Special teams coordinator/defensive line: Jeff King
  • Defensive line: Zach Davila
  • Running backs: Anthony Shalvay
  • Wide receivers/defensive backs: Robert Cash
  • Linebackers: Ken Quillin
  • Strength/Conditioning: Jeremy Lai and Jen Meza
  • Academics: Carl Nelson
  • Academic tutoring coordinator: Christina Bohan

Notes: Walden Grove lost its opener Friday night at CDO 28-7. … The Red Wolves have produced some good offensive talent the last few years including quarterbacks Alex Lopez and Jason Stevens. Now, Gabriel Smith is behind center. … The Red Wolves will also look to replace prolific wideouts Alex Culbertson, Ty McDermott and Duncan Hoover from the last few years. … Gone is captain Ronnie Berg, a linebacker who has exhausted his ability. The year before, Sebastian Adamski was the standout out linebacker. Walden Grove coach Corey Noble will now count on seniors Merrick Igasan and Nathan Sanchez at the linebacker position. … Noble subscribes to the idea of scheduling tough opponents in the freedom part of the schedule to increase the chance of making the postseason with the AIA power ratings system. Walden Grove is playing competitive Southern Arizona non-region teams CDO, Pueblo and Mountain View while also hosting Phoenix Greenway and traveling to AZ College Prep. Greenway finished 5-4 last season and was only three spots away from making the state playoffs with a No. 19 ranking. AZ College Prep is a competitive 3A team that finished 5-5 last season. … Longtime rivals Sahuarita and Walden Grove, within five miles of each other, are in the same region for the first time after the Mustangs moved from 3A to 4A. This season will mark the first time the schools will face each other in the regular season since an on-field fight in the 2015 season. Walden Grove will be considered the home team they play Nov. 4 at Sahuarita’s field. Noble, a Sahuarita grad, said he is open to the idea of playing annually at Sahuarita because of the larger seating sections to draw in more revenue for both schools.

Keep an eye out for: WR/DB Jahme Dawson is a 5-9, 160 threat on either side of the ball who is emerging as a college prospect in his second year at the varsity level with the Red Wolves. He is also a track standout who has been timed in 22.2 seconds in the 200.

NO. 17 WALDEN GROVE (7-2, 4-0)

Red Wolves compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games start at 7 p.m.
9/2@ CDOL, 28-70-10-0
9/9GreenwayW, 48-71-10-0
9/16@ AZ College PrepL, 28-201-20-0
9/23PuebloW, 34-62-20-0
10/7@ Mountain ViewW, 49-423-20-0
10/14Sahuaro*W, 39-204-21-0
10/21@ Rio Rico*W, 39-75-22-0
10/28@ Amphi*W, 46-186-23-0
11/4@ Sahuarita*W, 56-77-24-0
11/11Catalina Foothills*


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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