Arizona State was not the only football team that had an important position battle going on in preseason camp.
While they may not be as well-known as quarterbacks Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter, Fountain Hills running backs Cameron Estes and D.J. Morris are in a dead heat to become the Falcons’ fullback.
It’s been said that it doesn’t matter who plays quarterback in ASU coach Dirk Koetter’s offense, he’s going to throw for a lot of yards. The same can be said for the offense Fountain Hills runs. Whoever is the fullback is going to get a lot of carries and a ton of yards.
“We carry a big load on that fullback,” Falcons coach Jim Fairfield said. “We want to run at people so in the fourth quarter we can control the ball.”
Last year, HP Rollins, in his first season as a fullback, rushed for 1,260 yards and
16 touchdowns, mirroring the performance of Brad Guthrie (1,227 yards, 19 TDs) in 2004. Fountain Hills has ridden a strong fullback to back-to-back playoff appearances and a West Region title a year ago.
Whoever comes out ahead between Estes and Morris will learn quickly if they are cut out for the position. The Falcons open at home against an always-tough Lakeside Blue Ridge team that plays a quick, swarming brand of defense. It’s a difficult test for a brand new offensive backfield, but Fairfield likes the difficult early season schedule.
“If we can play a good, tough schedule going into our region, we’re ready for the playoffs,” Fairfield said. “If we played a bunch of schools that weren’t very good, I don’t think we would be ready.
“Playing Blue Ridge can help you. It can also hurt your spirits (if you lose), but it all depends on how you teach your kids and how you go about learning from it.”