CANYON STATE ACADEMY
2008 record: 3-6
Coach: Simon Ocampo, first season
Returning offensive starters: 2
Returning defensive starters: 3
Outlook: A bold adventure awaits Ocampo as he takes on the task of building a winner at Canyon State Academy.
He left Gila Ridge and moved his family from Yuma to the East Valley for this -- the fact his wife is going to graduate at Arizona State expedited that process – but it’s his family’s life.
Ocampo’s father, Al, has coached Eloy Santa Cruz for decades, and his brothers are in the profession.
“It’s what we do,” Simon Ocampo said. “It’s our way in this world.
“(My father) does mention things or offer suggestions, but most of the time they’re asking me about what I do in situations,” Ocampo said. “They’re constantly asking me the questions and a lot of those answers will be discovered on the fly.”
Since the school revolves around kids with troubled pasts who are constantly coming and going – three expected key players have left the school for greener pastures since June – there is little continuity, let alone consistency.
It’s an undertaking the rest of his coaching family isn’t accustomed to, so he’s keeping it simple.
Give the better athletes the ball and don’t make the schemes complex. He’s got fewer than a dozen plays in the playbook, but nearly infinite variations to each play.
Further help comes in an easier schedule than the recent past, as the Rams moved from the difficult 2A Central to the 2A South Region this year.
That may be one break in the Rams' favor, and, recently, a rare one.
Sept. 4 vs. Camp Verde
Sept. 11 at Benson
Sept. 18 at Hayden
Sept. 25 vs. Kearny Ray
Oct. 2 vs. Baboquivari
Oct. 9 at Pusch Ridge
Oct. 16 at San Carlos
Oct. 23 vs. Miami
Oct. 30 at San Manuel
-- Sept. 11 at Benson: A real test against one of the best and more physical 2A schools of the past decade.
-- Oct. 9 at Pusch Ridge: Similar to Benson, Pusch Ridge has been the cream of the crop in the 2A South the past few years and this season figures to be no different.