Division I, Section III
Coach: Scooter Molander
Last year’s record: 6-6, lost to Mountain Pointe in 5A Division I quarterfinals.
Returning starters offense: 6, including junior quarterback Tyler Bruggman (leadership, 180-185 pounds), who showed his potential in stretches as a sophomore starter before he broke his ankle on a freak play in practice in mid-October that ended his season.
Returning starters defense: 7, including defensive tackle Dominic Riccitelli who started every game as a sophomore and will also play guard on the offensive line.
Aug. 26 vs. Mountain Ridge; Sept. 2 vs. Boulder Creek; Sept. 9 at Red Mountain; Sept. 16 vs. Sandra Day O’Connor; Sept. 23 at North Canyon; Sept. 30 at Mountain Pointe; Oct. 6 vs. Westview; Oct. 14 at St. Mary’s; Oct. 21 at Westwood; Oct. 28 at Pinnacle
Sept. 9 at Red Mountain: Another meeting of former Fiesta Region foes, the Broncos pulled this game out last season, and both teams figure to be better this time around. More importantly, it’s a great litmus test for the Broncos to gauge themselves, especially since this schedule isn’t as their Fiesta days.
Sept. 30 at Mountain Pointe: A return to the scene of last year’s wild loss to the Pride in the playoffs. Similar to Red Mountain, it’s another excellent measuring stick against possibly the toughest team Brophy will see.
Oct. 14 at St. Mary’s: Through another scheduling shakeup, the rivalry remains. You think the Broncos don’t want to take back what slipped away last year from their neighbors?
In retrospect, it seems hard to believe that Brophy was two made extra points — or one long, last-second field goal — away from reaching the 5A Division I semifinals in 2010.
Before the season began, the Broncos lost a defensive captain for the year. Then they lost a starting linebacker, then linemen, then their starting quarterback to a freak ankle injury at practice in mid-October.
But with a fourth-string quarterback who “converted” on the fly from wide receiver, the Broncos slipped into the postseason and reached the quarterfinals.
The scary part in all this is that junior Tyler Bruggman (1,304 yards, 11 touchdowns, six interceptions) has recovered from his ankle injury, and the Broncos are loaded with talented, experienced juniors and seniors.
Along with Bruggman and center Alex Rosner, Devon Allen’s speed is back to wreak havoc. Through three quarterbacks, he set a school record with 917 yards and his 60 receptions nearly set another.
Robert Relf (tight end and safety) is a top playmaker. Matt Cahill led the team in interceptions in 2010. Jake Foust emerged late last season at safety. Even punter Matt Auren returns improved.
With the new alignment, Brophy figures its schedule will fall somewhere between the old Fiesta Region death march and the oft-easy Desert Valley Region lineup of three and four years ago.
“It’s going to be fun to play teams we’ve never played before (Pinnacle, Anthem Boulder Creek, Westview), plus Red Mountain, Glendale Mountain Ridge, Mountain Pointe,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “It’s a good schedule and fun. We get new teams and it’s interesting and fresh.”
With a top defense and the return of Bruggman’s health, the Broncos will continue to evolve. If this year’s core group can stay on the field health-wise (unlike last year), the Broncos as a viable championship contender is no stretch.