Conference/Region: 4A-I/Desert Sky
Coach: Mike Gibbons
Last year’s record: 4-7, lost in first round of state tournament
Returning starters on offense: 4, including Chris Freudenberg, who threw for 926 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Returning starters on defense: 4, including Trey Colter, who had 24 tackles and an interception last season.
Sept. 3 vs. Sunrise Mountain; Sept. 10 at Palo Verde; Sept. 17 at Thunderbird; Sept. 24 vs. Tempe; Oct. 1 vs. Peoria; Oct. 8 vs. Queen Creek; Oct. 15 at Apache Junction; Oct. 22 at Saguaro; Oct. 29 at Prescott; Nov. 5 vs. Cactus Shadows.
Oct. 8 vs. Queen Creek: After Saguaro, the race for second place in the Desert Sky Region seems wide open. The Chargers will open up the slate against Queen Creek in an important contest right off the bat. McClintock could finish anywhere from second to last in the region, and this game could help give an early indication of what’s to come.
Oct. 15 at Apache Junction: Another crucial region game. Apache Junction has gotten the better of McClintock lately, but the Prospectors are a bit down this year, and the Chargers could win this game.
This was supposed to be Anthony Shivers’ senior season at McClintock, where he would have been the unquestioned star of the team. But after the running back transferred to Marcos de Niza following his sophomore year, the Chargers have had to re-adjust. For the second straight season, McClintock will go with a running back by committee and will also put more emphasis on throwing the ball. Chris Freudenberg returns at quarterback, and he was impressive at the tail end of last season. Coach Mike Gibbons is excited with what he has at receiver, so while he won’t abandon the running game, expect a fair amount of offense through the air. The Chargers will likely be without star nose tackle Jabril Gipson for the season as he is still rehabilitating torn knee ligaments he suffered in last year’s postseason against Canyon del Oro. However, the team’s strength is still in its defensive line, and McClintock will switch its defense from a 3-3-5 to a more traditional 4-3 defense. The Chargers have sneaked into the playoffs the last couple of years, and with another challenging schedule, could be on the bubble once again.