Division IV, Section II
Coach: Marques Reischl (1st season)
Last year’s record: 0-10, did not make playoffs
Returning offensive starters: 5, including senior wide receiver Nathan Amestoy. Had 11 catches as a junior, but has stepped up his effort during the offseason and has become a leader for the Coyotes.
Returning defensive starters: 4, including junior linebacker Nick Prueher. The 6-2, 185-pounder is one of the best athletes on the field and will have a big role on both sides of the ball this year.
Aug. 24 vs. Queen Creek; Aug. 31 at Williams Field; Sept. 7 at Canyon State; Sept. 14 at Poston Butte; Sept. 21 vs. San Tan Foothills; Sept. 28 at Seton Catholic; Oct. 5 vs. Coolidge; Oct. 12 at Valley Christian; Oct. 19 vs. Apache Junction; Oct. 26 vs. Coronado
Sept. 7 at Canyon State: The best chance to get an early season victory comes against the Rams, a Div. V team. Other than this game, the first month of the season are brutal for the Coyotes as they face Div. III powers Queen Creek, Williams Field and Poston Butte.
Sept. 21 vs. San Tan Foothills: These two programs came onto the scene at the same time, but San Tan Foothills has already had success, reaching the playoffs last year. Combs wants to close the gap between the programs and a win here would do just that and provide a needed boost as the Coyotes hit the more friendly portion of the schedule.
Oct. 19 vs. Apache Junction: The Prospectors are in a bit of a rebuilding mode and Combs was competitive in the game last year. If coach Marques Reischl can keep his team together after such a difficult early-season schedule, playing well late in the season will be an exciting sign of growth for the program.
First-year Combs coach Marques Reischl isn’t expecting to perform any miracles, but he is expecting to change the atmosphere surrounding the Coyotes program.
“From the first day I was hired, we got in the weight room,” Reischl said. “I felt like that was our greatest need for improvement. We have tried to be as positive about our program as we possibly can. We are changing the culture into a ‘blue collar,’ more physical football team.
The Coyotes will need that kind of blue-collar attitude this year after giving up 44 or more points in nine of 10 games. The schedule that Combs plays, does the Coyotes no favors, with early-season dates with Queen Creek, Williams Field and Poston Butte, all Div. III playoff teams.
Key to any improvements this year will be the play of junior Nick Prueher, who will be the Coyotes starting quarterback. Reischl came to Combs from Basha, where he was an assistant and was the passing game coordinator. Basha used a variety of formations to spread defenses out, so expect Combs to try to do the same and give Prueher room to use his athleticism, as well as that of wide receiver Nathan Amestoy. Amestoy has bulked up almost 20 pounds during the offseason and will likely see the ball a lot this year.
“He’s been the leader in the weight room and the classroom,” Reischl said of Amestoy. “He’s a great wide receiver that we are looking forward to hopefully having a good senior season.”