Division IV, Section II
Coach: B.J. Pasquel
Last year’s record: 5-5, did not qualify for Division IV playoffs.
Returning offensive starters: 5, including wide receiver Anthony Hantzsche, who had a 12 receptions for a team-high 278 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Returning defensive starters: 6, including linebacker Daniel Triplett, who had 43 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery last year.
Aug. 24 vs. Arcadia; Aug. 31 at Seton Catholic; Sept. 7 vs. Cortez; Sept. 14 at Tempe; Sept. 21 vs. Valley Christian; Sept. 28 at Fountain Hills; Oct. 5 vs. Maricopa; Oct. 12 vs. Saguaro; Oct. 19 at Payson; Oct. 26 at Combs.
Aug. 24 at Arcadia: These two teams are rivals, and although they are in different divisions now, the season opener will still garner plenty of interest on both sides. The Titans made the Division III semifinals last year and beat Coronado to start the season, but must replace several key pieces as well as coach Jim Ellison, who resigned unexpectedly in early August.
Oct. 5 vs. Maricopa: The Dons lost to Maricopa last season, which was a crucial blow to their playoff chances. Coronado has some tough games on its schedule but could win a game or two in the playoffs if it can get there. A win against Maricopa this year would be a big help toward that goal.
Oct. 19 vs. Payson: Of Coronado’s final three games, one (Saguaro) seems like a sure loss and another (Combs) should be a win. Sandwiched in between is this matchup with Payson. The Dons won the contest last year and get this game at home, so it’s another important contest.
Coronado coach B.J. Pasquel said the goal is always to get his team playing best at the end of the season. The Dons accomplished that in 2011, but it was too little, too late.
Coronado won its final two games of the regular season to finish 5-5, but finished 17th in the Division IV power point rankings, one spot away from qualifying for the postseason.
It was the first time in the last seven years that the Dons missed the playoffs, and the team is now looking to begin another streak.
“It was tough because we had a nice little string where we made it,” Pasquel said. “Once you get in, anything can happen. This year we’ve got to win at least six (games)."
Coronado will alternate between Daniel Triplett and Anthony Hantzsche at quarterback this season. Triplett will likely see the majority of the snaps, but the more mobile Hantzsche, who led the team in receiving a year ago, will play quarterback, receiver and some running back.
The Dons are going to run the spread offense this season because the team’s line has trouble against some of its bigger opponents.
The defense will include both Triplett and Hantzsche as most of the team’s player will participate on both sides of the ball.
“That’s just how it is here,” Pasquel said. “They love it. That’s the mentality you have to have. We’d always want a little more depth, but they embrace it coming in.”
The schedule is tough early on with games against Division III semifinalist Arcadia and Division IV semifinalist Seton Catholic in the first two weeks, but other than a late game against Saguaro, Coronado should be able to compete with the rest of the teams on its schedule.