Poston Butte Broncos
Coach: Mike De la Torre
Last years record: 6-2 (junior varsity schedule)
Returners on offense: 11, including quarterback Dean Martino and wideout Scott Cabral. De la Torre likes to spread the ball around and Martino has the arm and head to be effective. Cabral is a small receiver (5-7, 135), but De la Torre calls him a student of the game that doesn’t stop working to get open.
Returners on defense: 11, including lineman Travis DeFrancisco, the Broncos’ most versatile down lineman.
Schedule: 8/27 vs. Mountain View (juniors); 9/2 at Valley Christian; 9/10 vs. San Tan Foothills; 9/16 vs. Monarch (Colo.); 9/24 vs. Shadow Ridge; 10/1 vs. Vista Grande; 10/8 at Campo Verde; 10/15 at Sierra Linda; 10/22 at Combs.
Sept. 2 vs. Valley Christian: It will be a good barometer of how quickly the Broncos are progressing.
Sept. 16 vs. Monarch of Louisville, Colo.: Monarch went 13-1 last year and reached the state semifinals and returns the majority of its team. Monarch is also bringing it’s junior varsity team to play against the Broncos’ JV.
Oct. 8 at Campo Verde: This might decide who the top independent in the state is.
If you drive around the San Tan Valley/Queen Creek/Florence area, you are likely to see a minivan or car or truck with a Broncos logo stuck somewhere on it. No, there aren’t a big number of Denver fans living in the far southeast Valley, but there are a growing number of Poston Butte backers.
The young school, in just its second year, has served as kind of a rallying point for the sprawling San Tan Valley, which is split up among the Combs, Florence and Coolidge districts.
“We don’t have a town or a community center that people can go to,” Poston Butte coach Mike De La Torre said. “We’re in the Florence district, but we’re not anywhere near Florence. So this high school has been the draw for the community. We had great crowds for freshmen and JV games last year and it’s been great to see the people get behind the school.”
The Broncos will play an ambitious independent varsity schedule this season, including a game against 2A powerhouse Valley Christian and a game against a Colorado team that was a state semifinalist a year ago and returns a big part of its roster.
Poston Butte went 6-2 last year, playing a junior varsity schedule. The Broncos return their entire roster and De La Torre said he even picked up a couple new players.
The key piece for the Broncos is quarterback Dean Martino. De La Torre, who spent 10 years as an assistant at Chandler under Jim Ewan, likes to spread the ball around and Martino’s ability allows him to do that.
“We were fortunate enough that Dean could throw the ball, and we were able to implement the passing game,” De La Torre said.
Defensively, Aaron Juarez, a junior middle linebacker, and Travis DeFrancisco, a junior defensive tackle, make up the heart of the Broncos unit.
De La Torre said he’s looking for more consistency from start to finish in games this year, something his young players struggled with last year.
“When we found ourselves in trouble it was when we’d start fast and then drop off,” De La Torre said. “We just need to do the small things, from the start of the game to the end.”