Phoenix College is proud to announce that the PC Football team will kick off its regular season this Saturday night, August 23rd. The Bears will host Pima Community College in the Western States Football League opener for both teams. It will be the third consecutive year that the Bears and Aztecs have commenced their regular seasons against each other at Hogan Field at Hoy Stadium on the PC campus, with each team winning one of the first two matchups. It will also be the first official home event of the Bears' 2014-15 athletic seasons. It will be the first time that the Bears will take the field for a game since they made history by participating in the first-ever WSFL Playoff game last October.
It's been three years in the making, but Saturday night's game will finally mark the official "debut" for Bears' Head Football Coach Jerome Daniels. Yes, Bears' fans have come to expect to see the former Arizona Cardinals' offensive lineman on the Bears' sideline, since he first joined the Bears' staff in 2011 as an assistant, and has been the interim head coach of the team each of the last two seasons. However, this will be the first year that Daniels doesn't have the ‘interim' title attached (it was removed this past December), the first year he's been able to hire his own staff, the first year that he's been able to oversee the staff's recruiting efforts, and the first year that he's had an entire off-season to prepare for the challenge that awaits he and his squad. Daniels and the staff have completely overhauled the roster from last year-as evidenced by the fact that there are just 7 student-athletes that return from the starting lineup that took the field against Glendale in the WSFL Quarterfinals last year.
That core of starters is balanced between offense, defense and special teams. While most of the ‘skill position' players on offense will be wearing blue and gold for the first time Saturday, the experience will come from tailback Jesse Huihui (HOO-ee-HOO-ee), who the Bears' best rusher by the end of the 2013 season; wide receiver Isaiah Huston, who was 3rd on the team in receiving yards last season; quarterback A.J. Thigpen, who-after spending last year backing up 2013 WSFL Offensive Player of the Year Blake Decker at Scottsdale Community College-now gets his own chance to lead a Phoenix-area team to the playoffs as the starting signalcaller; and running back Manny Vera, who was one of the Bears' 2012 backfield stars and now returns after a year off. Defensively, the defensive line will be bolstered by 2013 starter Anfernee Burks (ANN-fuhr-nee) and part-time starter Tyler Davidson; while fellow '13 d-line starter Rashad Baker-Walker slides to the linebacker position to team with last year's part-time starter Gene Germain (juhr-MAYN), as well as Shaunesy Carlen (SHAWN-nes-see KAR-lenn), who moves over from the Bears' 2013 quarterbacking corps to use his speed and quick hands on defense. The starting defensive secondary is all new with the exception of Donte' Heard, who spent much of 2013 battling nagging injuries but is now healthy and expected to make a big contribution. Special teams is actually the Bears' main well of experience, since both 2013 kickers, Alex Christensen (placekicking) and Ian Pletenik (pleh-TEN-nik) (kickoffs) are back, and Thigpen-who was one of the most potent punters in the WSFL for Scottsdale last year-will handle PC's punting chores.
The Bears and Aztecs will break the seal on the 2014 WSFL season at Hogan Field at Hoy Stadium (15th Avenue just north of Thomas Road) beginning at 7PM this Saturday night, August 23rd. The Bears will be looking to spoil the head coaching debut of Pima Head Football Coach Jim Monaco, who takes over the reins of the program after spending 6 years (in two different stints) as an Aztec assistant. Admission prices for all PC Football home games are as follows: $5 for adults; $3 for high school students (or PC students who don't show a valid ID); and PC students who show their valid ID as well as kids 12 and under get in FREE.
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