2023 High School Football

2023 football: 50 top Southern Arizona seniors — Morenci running back Michael Casillas

Today marks only 44 days until the kickoff of the 2023 Southern Arizona high school football season with games scheduled Aug. 18. AllSportsTucson.com is listing 50 of the top seniors in Southern Arizona during this stretch. This is not a ranking. This is a list in alphabetical order. We acknowledge more than 50 quality seniors will play on high school fields locally this fall and we will report on them accordingly.

As if the 3A South was not already tough with Sabino, Pusch Ridge, Thatcher and Safford, here comes Morenci, a perennial 2A power, with one of the best running backs in the state — Michael Casillas … The Wildcats, who lost to Pima in the 2A championship game last season, also have proven head coach Rishard Davis in his first year back in Arizona. He coached Eloy Santa Cruz Valley to the 2A state championship in 2020, the Dust Devils’ first title in 30 years. The former Arizona walk-on during the Mike Stoops era returned to his native Alabama to be closer to his parents while serving as an assistant coach at a high schools there in Clanton and Maplesville the last two years. He was an assistant at Flowing Wells and Pusch Ridge before taking the Santa Cruz Valley job in 2014. … Casillas, 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, rushed 251 times for 1,936 yards and 32 touchdowns last year. His career totals are phenomenal — 470 carries for 4,096 yards with 64 touchdowns. … Davis knows how to utilize a highly prolific running back. Santa Cruz’s Hunter Ogle rushed for 4,656 yards in his career (2017-20), including 2,096 yards when he led the Dust Devils to the state title as a senior in 2020. …

Davis on Casillas: “Mikey has been working tirelessly since I arrived to Morenci. From watching his film from his junior year to his commitment this offseason, I’m expecting a stellar performance from him this season. I can’t wait to see what he can do on Friday nights.”

Morenci’s Michael Casillas is also an accomplished wrestler with the Wildcats (Morenci photo)

11. MORENCI (4-3, 1-1)

Head coach: Rishard Davis
Wildcats compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
8/18at ALA - IronwoodW, 6-01-00-0
8/25at Round ValleyW, 24-62-00-0
9/1at BensonW, 35-03-00-0
9/8at PimaL, 19-163-10-0
9/15Blue RidgeL, 24-213-20-0
9/29Safford*L, 26-143-30-1
10/6at Pusch Ridge*W, 14-74-31-1
10/13Fountain Hills------
10/27at Thatcher*------


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 seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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