The Corona del Sol Aztecs are heading into this week’s matchup against Mesa Mountain View undefeated.
The last time the Aztecs had a perfect record coming into week eight was in 2008 under head coach Gary Venturo. That was also the last time they claimed a region title.
In the last three seasons, Corona del Sol has gone 4-7, 1-9, 2-9.
Last week Corona del Sol improved to 7-0 and recaptured the region crown with their win against Westwood, 44-12.
While they ended a 12-year region title drought, there wasn’t much celebrating, head coach Jon Becktold said.
“The celebration wasn’t that big because they’re pretty focused on Mesa Mountain View,” Becktold said. “We know how good they are. They knew right away that starting Saturday that would be Mesa Mountain View week.”
Despite the team’s focus being on this week’s matchup, when they take a step back to reflect on getting to this point, the success of the year and bringing back the region title to Corona del Sol has been an honor for the players, senior quarterback Quade Swearingen said.
“It means a lot to this program and to this school,” Swearingen said. “It feels good letting people know that Corona del Sol is back on the map for football.”
The bond the team has built over the last nine months has led to much of the Aztecs’ success this season.
“I’d say the reason we’re so dominant this year is that every single one of us trust each other,” Swearingen said. “Whether that’s the guy standing next to us, the guys on the sideline, we all know what’s expected and what’s going to go down on Friday nights.”
Through the craziness of this year, one thing that the Aztecs have been able to rely on is each other.
“It’s crazy how close we are,” junior running back Anyale Velazquez said. “Through all of this (COVID) stuff and going through the ups and downs, I feel like it’s only made us closer.”
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It hasn’t been easy, but having a group of guys that feels like a brotherhood has been key for the Aztec players, Swearingen said.
“With this coronavirus stuff going on it’s been a tough time,” Swearingen said. “But we came to practice every day wanting to get better and focused on going hard in practice so come game time, we’re ready to go.”
Becktold said that the Aztecs have been all in since mid-summer workouts began.
“This group is pretty tight group of kids,” Becktold said. “It’s probably one of the closest I’ve had. They’ve been focused since June. For those kids to keep battling from June all the way to now to get to this spot is unbelievable.”
EYE ON THE PRIZE
With a win against Mesa Mountain View on Friday, the Aztecs will make a strong case to be placed in the Open Division playoff.
Heading into Friday, however, the Aztecs have been left out of the top eight to qualify.
“They want to get in the Open,” Becktold said. “We don’t know if we can get in the Open, but they want to control what they can and we’ll come in on Saturday and we’ll be thankful for wherever we get put.”
The Corona del Sol Aztecs (7-0) battle the Mountain View Toros (6-1) in our GameTime Arizona featured matchup – Friday, November 20 at 7:00 pm MT/8:00 pm CT.