Poston Butte Ready to Overcome Challenges
11 months ago Andrew Luberda 0
The challenge facing the Poston Butte football team in less than two weeks is a big one.
The season opener against five-time defending state champion Saguaro.
The Broncos are hardly easing into their first year as a member of the 4A conference, too say the least.
“Obviously, the first game is going to be a doozy – a hard game to start the season with,” Poston Butte senior Tucker Usher said. “But that’s the best way to start because then we roll into the next week and we’re ready to fight that team.
“We have a great group of guys and they’re going to work their tails off for this game.”
As big as the challenge will be on Aug. 17 in San Tan Valley, it’s not the Broncos’ biggest entering the 2018 season.
Depth and inexperience are.
“It’s a lot of teaching, that’s what coaching is,” answered Broncos’ second-year head coach Dain Thompson, when asked how his staff will attack both concerns. “It’s not like we have a big group that already knows everything it’s doing.
“Each instructional drill is really important,” Thompson continued. “We [have] to get them ready to go because there are very few kids on the team who have any varsity experience.”
To further support Thompson’s point, the Broncos’ roster figures to settle at less than 40 before the Aug. 17 opener, and three players he’s expecting big contributions from are seniors who played sparingly in 2017, if at all.
Starting quarterback Dalton Holley, who earned the spot after a competition that went through the beginning of fall practice, attempted one pass without completing it and rushed for three yards in 2017.
Tight end and linebacker Thomas Gaitan is arguably the Broncos’ best two-way player, according to coaches and players. He missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery.
“It hurt me because I had to sit out,” Gaitan recently told CountyLinePreps.com. “I really love this game, and I really felt like I could’ve impacted my team and helped us get a much better record than we did.”
Teammates expect the 5-foot-10, 265-pound spark plug with deceptive speed to be a playmaker on both sides of the ball.
“Thomas is one of the hardest working players on our team,” Holley said. “He’s a big body, he knows how to block someone off, and can catch the ball. He’s got one of the best set of hands on our team.”
Usher, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound wide receiver and defensive back, is perhaps the fastest player on the team. He appeared in only four games a year ago but proved he can be a three-way threat in 2018. The Broncos need Usher to be the dynamic player they’re expecting.
“I expect (Tucker) to go off every game,” said Holley. “I expect him to make a play if we need one, and he should be the spark for our team.”
The Cooper brothers, one is a runner and the other opens the holes to run through, will also be key to the Broncos’ success in 2018.
Junior running back Khalil Cooper and older, returning offensive lineman brother Lavince bring talent and varsity experience, the latter something the Broncos could use more of.
Senior Carlos Roman will join Cooper in the backfield at times, in addition to lining up in the slot.
“This is a good group,” Thompson said. “They’re good kids and they like to be around each other. They’re my boys and I like being around them too.”
The kickoff for the season opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Poston Butte High School.