Outlook: George De La Torre knows where the Dobson football program stands in the Division I hierarchy. After a one-win season in 2012 and low program numbers which affect depth, the Mustangs aren’t going to be favored many times on Friday nights this fall. De La Torre doesn’t want to fight the perception of his team but instead wants his players to embrace it.
“There’s nothing more unpredictable than the hunger of the underdog,” De La Torre said. “You just play hard all the time and good things will happen. They have accepted the challenge of being underdogs in every game.”
Dobson does return six starters on each side of the ball, and a favorable early-season schedule allows for some hope before the opponents strengthen drastically to end the year.
The Mustangs return leading rusher Christian Davis and leading receiver Zach Bright while junior Josh Jaramillo is expected to take over at quarterback.
The defense’s strength should be its linebackers, as Simon Hernandez, Isaiah Douglas and Jameson Baker are back to lead that group. John Buehler is expected to be the top player in the secondary while Shaun Sabetta anchors the defensive line.
The program numbers are still lower than expected for a school the size of Dobson, as De La Torre continues the rebuilding project. He sees hope in his younger classes and hopes the competition his underclassmen give the seniors helps the overall quality of the team.
“There are some younger kids who have stepped up and are looking great,” De La Torre said. “You’re not going to grow unless you’re challenged. We had a talented JV group last year. Our returners are looking behind their backs, and they welcome that challenge.”
Division I, Section IV
Coach: George De La Torre
Last year’s record: 1-9, missed Division I postseason
Returning Starters: 6 on offense/6 on defense
Top returners: RB Christian Davis (103 carries, 452 yards, 2 TD); WR Zach Bright (22 rec., 309 yards, 3 TD); LB Isaiah Douglas (63 tackles, 2 sacks); LB Simon Hernandez (53 tackles, sack, INT); OL/DL Brennen Miller (three-year starter).
Aug. 30 vs. Mesa; Sept. 6 vs. Poston Butte; Sept. 12 at Kellis; Sept. 20 vs. Maryvale; Sept. 27 at Gilbert; Oct. 4 at Apollo; Oct. 11 at Corona del Sol; Oct. 18 vs. Desert Vista; Oct. 25 at Brophy Prep; Nov. 1 vs. Mountain Pointe
Aug. 30 vs. Mesa: The Mustangs’ lone win came a year ago against the Jackrabbits. Christian Davis ran for 108 yards and a touchdown in that game and looks to start his senior season with another good performance.
Sept. 12 at Kellis: The Cougars went 4-6 last season but didn’t have many quality victories. If Dobson can pull this off, it has a legitimate chance of starting the season 3-1 with a game against Maryvale the next week. Playoff chances are slim for the Mustangs in 2013, but if they can capture games like this they will see an improvement in the win column from a year ago.
Sept. 27 at Gilbert: The first five games of the season should give Dobson hope, as the schedule is manageable. The Tigers are the final one of that stretch before the competition steps up considerably. Gilbert won last year’s matchup by four points and this year both teams will be looking to make the move up to respectability once again.