Spring Ahead: Queen Creek Football Returns to Practice, Preps for Move to 6A

2 years ago Andrew Luberda 0



Queen Creek football seniors ended their high school careers last November following a 34 – 31 overtime loss to eventual state runner-up Notre Dame Prep in the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs. The remaining JV and varsity players returned for spring practice earlier this month to begin preparing for the 2018 season.

“It’s always great to be with the kids,” Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman told CountyLinePreps.com during a recent practice. “(We get that) break and start itching to get out here to see what we have.

“It’s been good this first week to see the kids out here competing and doing things the right way.”

Senior-to-be quarterback Devin Larsen, who currently holds an offer from the University of Idaho, enters his final season as a three-year varsity starter. He is one of four Bulldogs who will be third-year varsity seniors in the fall, joining center Dakota Banning, running back Dylan Borja and lineman Isaak Clonts.

In his two previous seasons as the starter, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Larsen combined for 4,875 passing yards, 55 touchdowns and only 12 picks. Additionally, he’s completed 62 percent of his passes.

Larsen spent time in the offseason traveling across the country visiting camps to improve his game. He also took unofficial visits to Maryland, Pitt, Syracuse and UNLV. He’s using the spring practice season to improve even more.

“The main thing is watching what the defense does,” the reigning 2017 San Tan Region Offensive Player of the Year said. “The coverages and the type of defensive linemen it has. Working on a lot of (that) this offseason is going to translate when we go up to 6A this year.”

Spring practice is the perfect time for every player to gauge the early results of the improvements and changes they made since they were last on the field.

“I definitely got more agile,” said Banning, an All-Region 1st Team selection last season and arguably one of the top centers in the state entering the 2018 season. “I also put on some weight, got a little bigger, and I’m excited for next year to show people what I can do.”

For coaches, the spring season represents an opportunity to reinforce some standards and introduce new material with the idea of hitting the ground running at summer camp, then again when fall practice starts.

Armando Orona (9). (Kelli Luberda)

“Looking to make sure we get better every day,” Schureman answered when asked what he wants to see by the time spring practice ends. “Understanding the concepts – the things that we’re implementing, the focuses that we have, and what we want to get better on – and if we can get better each day then good things will happen.”

An example of what Schureman described is the installation of the Bulldogs new 4-3 defense, a switch from their previous base 3-4 front.

“We’re more comfortable (but still) trying to get used to it,” said 2019 linebacker Armando Orona. “We’re trying new stuff to see if it works but so far it’s doing good.”

After eight consecutive playoff appearances, the Bulldogs expect a ninth in 2018.

The spring is the perfect time to start efforts to reach that goal.