Football season is back in Tucson, meaning the start of the Sonoran Sidewinders’ 2022 campaign and the beginning of the Hal Reeser era.
Reeser, who has mostly coached in the Midwest, brings a copious amount of experience to the Sidewinders, his most recent stint for eight years as the offensive coordinator at Macalaster College in Fergus Falls, Minn.
The Sidewinders, comprised of college-aged players attending junior colleges either in person or online, begin their season Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Santa Rita High School football field. It will take on the Arizona Christian University Firestorm.
“I feel like we’re in a good place from where we were four to five months ago, to where we are now,” said Reeser, whose team competes in the Hohokam Junior College Athletic Conference. “I just thank God for the opportunity to coach this team. It’s my first game as a head coach. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to coach.
“I’ve got a phenomenal group of kids, they’ve been great since day one and I think we’re gonna surprise some people this year by the way we play the game. We’re gonna show up, we’re gonna play the game right, we’re gonna demonstrate a high level of character, that’s what’s most important to me.”
@HJCAC Conference Play Begins This Weekend! #AZJucoFB 🌵🏈 pic.twitter.com/LlwX1bFWtu
— Hohokam Junior College Athletic Conference (@HJCAC) September 1, 2022
Reeser has one goal in mind: Making sure the athletes on his team get an other opportunity to shine under the lights and possibly gain recruiting attention from universities.
“Recruiting kids from right here down the road, from Sunnyside to Cienega, I want two or three players from each high school on this team,” Reeser said.
Much like the Arizona football program, Reeser says they are “trying to rise out of the ashes” and they are “two brothers trying to do the same thing.”
“I want us to rise up using players that are right here from Tucson,” Reeser continued.
Being a student-athlete at the collegiate level is a rare opportunity, so Reeser makes sure that his players are held to the highest standard, both in the classroom and on the field.
“First and foremost, we’re gonna bring accountability to this team,” Reeser said. “We’re gonna be accountable in everything we do from academics to football. The way we show up is he most important thing to me.”
Some of Southern Arizona’s recent standouts such as running back Brandon Barrios (Ironwood Ridge), placekicker Adrian Alvarado (Walden Grove HS, lineman Anthony Hodges (Buena), running back Varney Larson (Marana Mountain view), etc., have been practicing at Santa Rita.