2023 High School Football

2023 Southern Arizona High School Football Preview: Morenci Wildcats

3A South: Morenci Wildcats

2022 record: 12-2 overall, 4-1 in the 2A Salt (second). Lost in the 2A state championship game to Pima. Reclassified to 3A South by the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Head coach: Rishard Davis, 58-21, first season at Morenci and eighth overall. He coached Eloy Santa Cruz to the 2A state championship, its first in 30 years, during his seven-year tenure there.

Rishard Davis made history by becoming the first African-American high school football coach to win a state title in Arizona when Eloy Santa Cruz won the 2A title in 2020 (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


Key returners:

  • RB/WR/SS Mikey Casillas, 5-6, 150, Sr.
  • DE/TE Tristen Sanchez, 6-1, 202, Sr.
  • RB/LB Marcus Lucero, Jr.
  • WR/CB Joey Seballos, 5-9, 135, Sr.
  • TE/DE Donovan Vozza, 6-3, 210, Sr.
  • G/NT Austyn Nelson, 6-0, 220, Sr.
  • MLB/NT Andrew Chavez, 5-11, 205, Sr.


Coaching staff:

  • Head coach: Rishard Davis
  • Defensive coordinator: Frankie Gonzalez
  • Head JV coach: Benjie Morales
  • Offensive line: Esai Vanegas
  • Offensive line: Matt Garcia
  • Defensive backs: Tito Casillas
  • Running backs: Josh McEuen
  • Assistant coach: Josh Sandoval
  • Assistant coach: Art Martinez

Notes: Rishard Davis returned to his native Alabama for family reasons and served as an assistant coach at Clanton (Ala.) Chilton County High School in 2021 and Maplesville (Ala.) High School last year. … Davis’ history with Tucson dates when he walked on to Arizona’s program after graduating from Maplesville in 2003. He was hoping to land a spot on the defensive line for the Wildcats, who were transitioning from John Mackovic to Mike Stoops. He was cut late in spring practice in 2004 and returned to Alabama, where he became a Hall of Fame player at Huntingdon College, a Division III school at Montgomery. … Davis returned to Tucson upon graduating because he said he loved the area and he gained friendships during his one year attending Arizona. He is married to Angel Olague Davis, who comes from the famous athletic Olague family from Sabino High School that includes Manny and Santos Olague. … RB Mike Casillas 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. … Morenci was elevated to 3A South by the end of last school year after playing in the 2A Salt. Its schedule is reflective of being a 2A power in the past and now among the competitive 3A South teams. … Morenci plays its first four games on the road, including against Benson on Sept. 1. The Wildcats will have a rematch with Pima, which beat them in the 2A title game last season, in a game at Pima on Sept. 8. Davis returns to Pusch Ridge, where he was once an assistant, when Morenci visits the Lions on Oct. 6.

Keep an eye out for: TE/DE Tristen Sanchez, who inexplicably does not have a high level of interest from colleges after recording 106 tackles with an incredible 38 for loss last season, including 23.5 sacks and 37 hurries. He also had six pass deflections, three fumble recoveries and three caused fumbles. In his three-year varsity career to this point, Sanchez has compiled 236 tackles, 70 for loss, with 39.5 sacks. Coaches selected Sanchez as the Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year last season


Head coach: Frankie Gonzalez (first year at Morenci and overall).

Wildcats compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
8/23ALA - Ironwood------
8/30Round Valley------
9/20at Blue Ridge------
10/4at Safford*------
10/11Pusch Ridge*------
10/18at Fountain Hills------
10/25at Sabino*------


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 Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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