One at a time, steps are being taken.
Some are small (52 kids on varsity, 21 returning letterwinners, a 5-1 record in summer passing leagues, a TV game on Oct. 16).
Some are big (a new $1.25 million all-purpose weight room and locker room).
And with the need for more, some have yet to come at Scottsdale Desert Mountain. Most notably the first region victory since 2000 and first playoff appearance in 11 years.
It could happen. Under Tony Tabor, the Wolves went from three to four wins in his first two years, and it could have been more if not for injuries.
“We were out there playing with sophomores, and that experience was invaluable,” Tabor said. “It really was.”
For now, “cautiously optimistic” is the phrase of choice at Desert Mountain. Nearly 20 of the team’s seniors have been in the program for all three of Tabor’s seasons, and new offensive coordinator Greg Davis is implementing more offensive sets in hopes of being less predictable, which often put the defense in compromising positions.
Junior Kevin Radcliffe is at the helm under center after playing six games last season when starter Cory Campbell was injured. Rheshaun Lyn and Jordan Fox will be key playmakers on offense, while Neusha Vakili, Kyle Tokasey and Dekota D’Angelo anchor the defense.
“It’s a lot, but they’re catching on,” Tabor said.
The same can be said for the idea of winning.
Playoffs? At Desert Mountain?
The schedule doesn’t help that once-unthinkable aspiration, but November practices are no longer an incredulous thought.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Tabor said. “We’ll get wins from power points, so we have to beat somebody good if we want to be good. We have to find a way to beat two or three good teams. If we can stay healthy and keep our heads together through the adversity we have a chance.”