The Parker Broncs are getting ready for their 2019 football season. Varsity Head Coach Jeston Lotts said they’re looking to contend for the region title and even win a playoff game (or more) this year.
The Broncs are coming off a season in 2018 where they placed second in the 2A Verde. They were 3-1 against their region opponents, 5-1 against other 2A teams, and 6-3 overall. They were seeded No. 13 going into the Arizona Interscholastic Association state playoffs. Their season ended Nov. 2 when they lost to the Morenci Wildcats, 57-6, in the first round of the playoffs. The Wildcats had been seeded No. 4 in the state tournament.
Lotts said the playoff game was good experience for the Broncs, as now they know what they need to do to win a playoff game.
“They’ll be a better team,” he said. “They’ll be more experienced.”
Among the key players to watch will be Matthew Baumann. This is his senior year, and he was selected the 2A Verde Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. Other players to watch for are Emanuel Alaniz, Christian Lopez, Jake Hill and Kyle Dyer.
In addition, Lotts said the team has some young players who are new to varsity but who should do very well at that level. He said it will take them a couple of games to get into the pace for varsity, but, once they do, they should help the Broncs in their drive for a region title.
Lotts said the Broncs will play “old school football.” They will be very athletic and very tough. He described it as “hard-nosed football.”
“We try to be more physical than everyone else,” he said. “We’ll be exciting to watch.”
The Parker Broncs are again in the 2A Verde for high school football. Their region rivals this year include the Camp Verde Cowboys, the Glendale Prep Griffins, the Tonopah Valley Phoenix and the Trivium Prep Crimson Knights.
Lotts said he expects Trivium Prep and Tonopah Valley to be their toughest region rivals. He said Tonopah in particular has a lot of returning players, and they will be very experienced.
“Those will be our two toughest region games,” Lotts said. “We play both of them on the road.”
While their goal is to reach the playoffs and win games there, Lotts said it would be great if they could host a playoff game. This is something Parker hasn’t done in years.
Lotts said the players are eager to start the season, and they want to win for their community.
“We want to make Parker proud,” he said. “I hope people will come out and support them.”
The Broncs have a scrimmage this Friday, Aug. 16, against the Lake Havasu Knights in Lake Havasu City. It gets real the following week, Aug. 23, with their first game of the season on the road against the Chino Valley Cougars.
Their first home game will be Aug. 30 against the Wickenburg Wranglers. This will be the annual Battle for the Axe, the firefighter’s axe that has become the symbol of the rivalry between Parker and Wickenburg High Schools. Game time at Jose Bush Stadium is 7 p.m.