It’s a conundrum: If a 2-8 football team loses the majority of its starters from the year before, is it a bad thing?
Scottsdale Horizon got beaten up by 5A-I powers Mesa and Phoenix Brophy early last season and never recovered. A surprising 13-9 win over Tempe Marcos de Niza was the only thing that kept the Huskies from finishing winless in the region last season.
The same brutal schedule is back, and the region may be even tougher than last season.
Horizon coach Steve Casey is counting on a stable of youngsters to improve on last year’s results. Only nine seniors who played football last season return to the team.
“Our sophomore class is pretty good,” Casey said. “It gives us a direction we need to go. Last year, we just didn’t make the plays. If we eliminate mistakes at opportune times, we have a chance to compete.”
One senior returner is linebacker/running back J.D. Souder.
He was limited by injuries last season but still led the team with 439 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He had a team-high 82 tackles on defense.
“He’s going to be the glue,” Casey said.
The cupboard around him is not empty.
Leading receivers Cru Casey and Donaven Anderson are back, and they will also play in the secondary.
Shem Casey was second on the team with 71 tackles and he returns.
The new quarterback will be Ryan Stamford after Kevin Spain transferred to Paradise Valley.
Stamford is young and inexperienced, but so far Casey has been pleased with his progress.
If he can continue saying that about more of his youngsters, they may surprise some people.
“Horizon’s got a really good junior group,” Marcos de Niza coach Roy Lopez said. “Nobody’s overlooking them.”