Pueblo High School’s football team will open the 2015-16 season at Catalina Foothills this evening, August 28. The Warriors are set to kick off against the Catalina Foothills Falcons at 7 p.m.
Pueblo’s Head Coach and the school’s Athletic Director Brandon Sanders constructed the schedule to have Catalina Foothills be their first challenge. The Falcons are a Division 3 school, and Pueblo is in Division 4. Sanders was the Falcons’ assistant coach two years ago where he learned how to build a program from coach Jeff Scurran.
“We’re trying hard to work to be that kind of program [like Catalina Foothills],” Sanders said. “Mr. Scurran built multiple programs, built them up to state champs. All you can do is learn from a guy like that.”
Junior and lineman Michael Beltran said, “I feel it’s going to be a great fight [tonight], but in the end, we are going to be the team that wants it more.”
The Warriors believe that last season’s record has set a precedence for the future. The team plans to make it to playoffs this year.
“The best view comes from the hardest climb,” said senior Gustavo Zubiri. “Pueblo has not been to playoffs since 1990, but we are working hard to change that this season.”
“Our pride for our team and our school has grown so much in the past few years,” said senior Frankie Gomez. He added, “We are a family, and we want our students and our staff here at Pueblo to share that pride with us.”
Pueblo will look to stretch their winning streak to four straight games Friday night when the Warriors host Nogales in a Week 5 high school football matchup.
Pueblo (3-1) opened the season with a late one-point loss at Amphi but has rolled off victories over Santa Rita, Rio Rico and Rincon.
The Warriors are led by 1st-year head coach Brandon Sanders, a former Arizona Wildcats defensive star who made it to the NFL with the New York Giants.
The Apaches enter at 2-2 having won two straight over Douglas and Cholla.
Nogales at Pueblo is our Overtime Game of the Week. David Kelly will be lives from the south side with a report in during the KOLD News 13 at 6 and you can see the game highlights Friday night on Overtime which kickoffs on KOLD News 13 at 10:20 p.m.
Pueblo’s Memo Berube and Jorge Romero both had doubts about their football team coming into this season. In fact, Berube, a senior, was toying with the idea of hanging up his cleats for good.
He’s glad he didn’t.
In just four games, Pueblo (3-1) has already matched its win total from each of the last three seasons. Furthermore, a win tonight would mark just the second time in the last 10 years the Warriors have registered four victories in a season.
“I’ve never felt this great during football,” said Berube, who missed most of last season with a left knee injury. “I wasn’t expecting as good of a season so far and came into the spring with some doubts.”
First-year coach Brandon Sanders and the Warriors host Nogales tonight at 7 with a chance to win their fourth straight game — a rarity in itself for Pueblo recently.
To make sure his players aren’t coming into the game overconfident, Sanders has reminded them that they haven’t been within 49 points of the Apaches in the last two years.
Nogales (2-2) has won seven straight meetings between the schools, most recently with a 56-0 win 2013, and holds a 14-6 advantage in the series. The last time Pueblo topped the Apaches was in 2000.
“That’s a major mountain for these kids,” said Sanders, a member of the UA’s “Desert Swarm” defense in the mid-1990s and a former NFL player. “We don’t shy away from anything; we recognize it, we own up to it and we step up to take on the challenge.
“That’s what I want to see: Can we step up to the challenge to play?”
The Warriors have already conquered one challenge this season, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally against Santa Rita in Week 2. Since then, Pueblo has outscored opponents 81-12 in two games.
“It transitioned from the field to the locker room,” said Romero, a junior who leads the team with 581 yards rushing and six touchdowns. “You should have seen the lock room; there was so much adrenaline, you could see that we wanted to play.”
Since taking over last spring, Sanders has reconnected with Pueblo’s storied past. Former coach Curly Santa Cruz is among those who Sanders has brought in to speak with the team. After all, Santa Cruz spent 15 years with the program and was the last one to lead the Warriors to the state playoffs, in 1990. The way Romero sees it, however, that’s about to change.
“A lot of people have high expectations for us but there’s also still a lot of low,” Romero said. “We had doubts from a lot of people coming into the season but we’re ready to prove them wrong.”
For their first home scrimmage, our Warriors dominated the Titans of Palo Verde, playing what we call “Warrior Football”.
It seemed that this victorious spirit would continue last Friday night when our Warriors traveled to Amphi High School for Pueblo’s first game of the season. The Warriors had a great start at 13-0—touchdowns by junior George Romero (aka “Drake”)—until the fourth quarter when the Amphi Panthers leaped into winning territory, and being victorious in the last five minutes with a two-point conversion.
Senior Jorge Lopez said, “This game was a wake-up call. We got cocky and didn’t play up to our potential.”
Another senior, Jesus Gutierrez, said, “It’s not too late for us to change. We will keep working hard and not let one defeat drag us down.”
Coach Brandon Sanders said, “We are working on our discipline and making sure that all of the little things are done right for the game on Friday.”
This Friday’s game is a “white-out” game in which fans are encouraged to wear white in support of the Warriors, in an effort to “psych-out” the opponents.
This school year, Pueblo Magnet High School’s varsity football team has had a tough start. Coming from a 3-7 losing season last year, they will recover quite well.
This year with the hope of the new coach, our Warriors will have one of the best seasons they’ve seen in a long time, according to many of this year’s players. Every athlete on the team has worked hard all summer and has surpassed all expectations in “passing league” as well as other tournaments they have participated in.
The 2012-2013 season of Warrior Football is about to begin. To kick-off the season with a bang, we want to invite all Pueblo fans, students and alumni to our White Out Party vs. Tucson High on August 24th. (7:00 p.m.)
We are asking all Pueblo fans to wear white. You can purchase official t-shirts from any member of the football team or at New Stitch, two blocks north of Pueblo for $5.00. Let’s jam the stands and support our Warriors!
Donald Escalante, a proud alumni of the class of 1995, is donating all proceeds to the football team. New Stitch is a proud sponsor of Warrior Athletics and wants Pueblo to return to dominance.
Starting with this week’s Homecoming football game, you will notice that there are 8 rows of seating on the home side that have been painted blue. This is a special section for very spirited Warriors called the Blue Man Crew.
In order to get into the Blue Man Crew section, students or fans must have some form of blue paint on their bodies. It can be as simple as a blue “P” on their cheek or a full face painting. Students are talking about it and are really excited to be a part of it.
Show your Warrior Spirit by being part of the Blue Man Crew!
To say Farber Field’s sound system needed an upgrade is a huge understatement. Thanks to the Class of 2009, a new sound system has just been installed by TUSD. We will now be able to enjoy music and commentary at our football games and other events with much crisper sound.
During the sound check, the new sound system exceeded the expectations of administrators present. The upgrade included: