“Business as Usual” as Queen Creek Prepares for 6A Debut
3 months ago Andrew Luberda 0
If the announcement that Queen Creek High School was moving from 5A to 6A had some thinking the Bulldogs’ football team might do things differently as it prepared for the 2018 season, think again.
“I don’t see that we’ve worried or talked about that a whole lot,” said Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman, who is entering his sixth season leading the Bulldogs’ program. “The last few years we’ve played a lot of 6A teams, kind of expecting this.
“I think our boys are excited for the opportunity and they’re going about it as business as usual.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs will feature the same balanced attack that rushed for 2,399 yards and passed for 2,468 in 2017.
Senior quarterback Devin Larsen, a three-year varsity starter and the 2017 5A San Tan Region Offensive Player of the Year, headlines a large group of returning starters, including running back Dylan Borja, receivers Ryan Dobbs and Jett Koester, and linemen Dakota Banning and Kyle Sawyer. Tight end Rafael Aldecoa and athlete Armando Orona, who both made significant contributions on offense a year ago, also return.
Larsen’s combination of talent and experience, in addition to his career numbers – 4,875 yards passing with 55 touchdown passes – leaves little doubt what the Bulldogs’ greatest offensive strength is.
“The passing game this year is amazing,” said senior Christian Fuhrman, a returning starter on defense who will also start on the offensive line this year. “We’re known for running the ball – we’re a running team – but I noticed the passing game was really (good at camp).”
The Bulldogs also return several starters on defense. In addition to Fuhrman, Orona, Aldecoa and Koester is defensive back Danny Marshall. Middle linebacker Fritzny Niclasse, a junior, will enter the starting lineup after finishing with 47 tackles in 2017. Junior linebacker Zane Lalama has impressed coaches enough to secure a starting outside linebacker spot.
The defense, however, has gone through staffing and schematic changes.
Glen Adams, the Bulldogs’ strength coach and second-year varsity assistant, is the new defensive coordinator, who is implementing a 4 – 3 front, which is a change from the 3 – 4 defense featured during previous seasons.
“Our kids respect and love Coach Adams,” Schureman told CountyLinePreps.com. “They’re going to play their butts off for him.
“He’s the guy who is with them all the time,” he continued. “He’s in the weight room with them, so whatever schemes he comes up with, I know we’re going to have 11 dudes getting to the football to make plays for him.”
The Bulldogs are anxious to show they belong in the state’s highest level of high school athletic competition.
“We want to show that we can (compete) with (other 6A teams),” senior Dylan Borja said. “We just want to take it one game at a time and win each game, and if we complete that goal, then we’ll get our end result, which is a state championship.”
Queen Creek begins its quest at home on Aug. 17 versus Westwood.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.