5A Sonoran: Tucson Badgers
2022 record: 3-7 overall, 1-4 5A Southern (fifth)
Head coach: Zach Neveleff, first year at Tucson High and overall. He is a 31-year-old former Salpointe fullback and linebacker who played for and coached under the legendary Dennis Bene. Helped develop a long list of highly productive running backs under Bene and Eric Rogers with the Lancers. They include one of the state’s top running backs historically Bijan Robinson and productive rushers such as Mario Padilla, David Cordero, Anthony Wilhite, Elias Bettis Roberts and Dailan Goodman.
NEVELEFF INTERVIEW ON EYE ON THE BALL
- WR/FS Jonathon Diaz, 6-0, 175, Soph.
- QB Derek Mesa, 6-0, 180, Soph.
- RB/LB Prince Mugisha, 5-11, 199, Sr.
- ATH Noah Chanez, 5-7, 140, Soph.
- RB/LB Dominic Drow, 5-10, 210, Soph.
- TE/LB/DE Paul Gomez, 6-3, 225, Jr.
- LB/TE Luis Alameda Andraux, 5-7, 150, Sr.
TUCSON COACH ZACH NEVELEFF
TUCSON QB DEREK MESA
TUCSON LB DOMINIC DROW
TUCSON RB/LB PRINCE MUGISHA
TUCSON DE/TE PAUL GOMEZ
- Head coach and running backs: Zach Neveleff
- Offensive coordinator and Director of College Recruiting: Cam Gaddis
- Defensive coordinator: Derrick Haywood
- Defensive backs and Director of College Relations: Adam Hall
- Quarterbacks: Zep Holmes
- Offensive line: Dean Greenburg
- Wide receivers/speed coach: Kyle Lard
- Special teams coordinator: Dylan Greenburg
- Defensive line: Angel Espadas
- Linebackers: Richard Drow
- Assistant defensive backs & returners coach: Mark Aguayo
- Freshman head coach: Jon-Te Gibson
- Head trainer: Mike Boese
Notes: The Badgers are coming off a 3-7 season under interim coach Malcolm Nelson, an assistant coach with Tucson Sugar Skulls. Nelson replaced Richard Sanchez, who coached Sunnyside to two state championships, when Sanchez resigned a month before the 2022 season after coaching the program for a season. … Tucson will be part of the newly-aligned 5A Sonoran region in 2023 along with Flowing Wells, Ironwood Ridge, Maricopa, Marana Mountain View and Nogales. … Former Palo Verde and Arizona defensive back Adam Hall is the one of Neveleff’s assistant coaches who is also going to coordinate relations with college recruiters. … Santa Rita grad Cam Gaddis, who played for the Tucson Sugar Skulls indoor football team, is the defensive coordinator and director of college recruiting, for the Badgers. He also has his own training business and 7-on-7 program. … Senior RB Prince Mugisha is one of the most impressive physical players in Southern Arizona and he’s also one of the best off the field as well. He is 5-foot-11 and 204 pounds — most of that muscle and he carries a 3.9 GPA. He’s one of those players every single coach would love to have. He’ll be instrumental for Neveleff in his transition relating to the returning players. … Cienega WR transfer Jimmy Diaz, a senior, won an appeal to the AIA and will not sit out the first five games per AIA’s transfer rules. He is immediately eligible. He caught 25 passes for 423 yards with six touchdowns with the Bobcats last season. Also had an interception as a safety. … For the third straight season, Tucson High will host Phoenix South Mountain and Arizona football legend Byron Evans, the Jaguars’ head coach, in the season opener Friday. Evans’ teammate at Arizona, lineman Marsharne Graves, is the line coach at South Mountain.
Keep an eye out for: QB Derek Mesa, who experienced considerable playing time as a freshman, and will be counted on by the new coaching staff to lead the Badgers’ offense. Mesa completed 26 of 51 pass attempts for 251 yards with a touchdown and interception in the three games in which he played. He is only two years removed from finishing his youth football career with the Southwest Rams.
TUCSON (1-3, 0-0)Head coach: Zachary Neveleff
Badgers compete in the 5A Sonoran. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
|8/25||South Mountain||W, 62-24||1-0||0-0|
|9/8||at Cienega||L, 28-24||1-2||0-0|
|10/6||at Ironwood Ridge*||--||--||--|
|10/20||at Flowing Wells*||--||--||--|
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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