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2022 Southern Arizona high school football spotlight: Amphi Panthers


Amphi looks to even its record at 1-1 in Friday’s home game against Phoenix Thunderbird (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

4A Gila: Amphi

2021 record: 5-4 overall, 2-2 4A Gila (second)

2022 record: 0-1

Head coach: Jorge Mendivil, 31-44 ninth season at Amphi and 112-91 overall in 21st season with stops also at San Manuel and Empire. Mendivil is a 1996 graduate of Arizona with a major in Spanish and minor in Math. He was referred to San Manuel to be its head coach by Warner Smith, a former Miner standout, when he was on the same staff with Smith at Flowing Wells. Mendivil was 27 at the time. After coaching at San Manuel from 2000 to 2004, Mendivil coached at Empire, opening that school in 2006. He moved on to Amphi in 2014.

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Key returners:

  • QB Seth Mevita, 5-10, 185, Sr.
  • TE/OLB Kevin Quintero, 6-2, 205, Sr.
  • RB/LB Jacob Espinoza, 6-2, 215, Soph.
  • OL/DL Jaime Charles, 6-2, 285, Jr.
  • OL/DL Marco Martinez, 6-3, 320, Jr.

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/quarterbacks: Jorge Mendivil
  • Defensive coordinator: Greg Sandoval
  • Offensive coordinator: Edgar Dominguez
  • Offensive line: David Watson
  • Defensive line/offensive line: Roland Youngling
  • Defensive backs: Brad Downs
  • Running backs/linebackers: Mo Espinoza

Notes: Former Arizona offensive lineman David Watson returns as the offensive line coach for the Panthers. He is the uncle of sophomore running back Jacob Espinoza through marriage. His wife is Arizona softball great Laura Espinoza. Their son David Watson Jr. is a former Amphi standout who was with the Arizona program from 2018 to last season. He transferred to Adams State this season. Laura Espinoza is the Panthers’ softball coach. Her brother Mo — Jacob’s father — is a linebackers/running backs coach with Amphi. … Jacob Espinoza was chosen the AllSportsTucson.com Southern Arizona 4A Freshman of the Year last season after rushing for 456 yards on 74 carries in only eight games (Amphi played a nine-game season and he was out with an injury for one game). Jacob has said that he likes to play on defense more and he is an imposing figure as a linebacker at 6-2 and 215 pounds. … The Panthers must try to replace graduated running backs Kiko Trejo (1,057 yards on 108 carries with 14 touchdowns last year) and Ashton Hayes (490 yards on 82 rushes). … Amphi plays four of its first six games on the road, but the Panthers play three straight region games at home from Oct. 21 to Nov. 4 against Sahuaro, Walden Grove and Rio Rico before ending the regular season at Sahuarita on Nov. 10. … The Panthers have not had a losing season since 2018, going 14-9 over the previous three seasons, including a 4-0 mark in the Covid-shortened season of 2020.

Keep an eye out for: OL/DL Marco Martinez, a 6-3 and 320-pound junior who is only in his fourth season of organized football. A former wrestler, Martinez is determined to further his football career in college.

AMPHI (0-3, 0-0)

Panthers compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
9/2@ Flowing WellsL, 28-70-10-0
9/16ThunderbirdL. 55-70-20-0
9/23@ Marcos de NizaL, 55-70-30-0
9/30Pueblo
10/7@ Rincon/University
10/14@ Catalina Foothills*
10/21Sahuaro*
10/28Walden Grove*
11/4Rio Rico*
11/10@ Sahuarita*

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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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