Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci Class of 2020 member Zachary Esparza hydrates himself during a first-day break.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – The 2019 season day one has come and gone.
“I hope it rains,” was the first thing said by one of the returning football veterans upon arrival to Lawson Stadium on Monday. It was overcast, the temperature cooled down, but it didn’t rain.
A total of 35 student-athletes were on hand for the July 29 start, with 10 linemen, 12 receivers, and 13 backs running some drills.
“I’ve done more with less,” first-year Morenci head coach Joseph Garcia said. Eight fewer, or 27, were on hand for the 2018 first day of practice.
Garcia follows two-year head coach David Gallegos (17-7 overall, 2-2 state playoffs) whose teams twice ended in the quarterfinal round, 45-7 to top-ranked Round Valley in Eagar during 2017 and 27-14 to No. 5 Phoenix Christian in Morenci during 2018.
Morenci ended 8-4 overall, 7-3 in the regular season for No. 8 in 2A and 1-1 in the post-season during 2017, averaging a score of 29-24 (955-784) per game or a 5-point margin.
Last season, the fourth-ranked Wildcats were 9-3 overall, 8-2 in the regular season and 1-1 in the post-season, averaging a score of 33-12 (401-140) or a margin of 21 points.
In the off-season, the Wildcats have been hitting the weight room, competing in 7-on-7 passing sessions plus big man challenges, and capped a four-day fundamentals camp in the “Land of Enchantment” against the host Lordsburg Mavericks and Silver High Fighting Colts.
Morenci will open its season against three-time consecutive state 2A champions Thatcher during week zero in Lawson Stadium on Aug. 23. A scrimmage in Douglas is slated during the prior week. The Gila Herald will be on hand at the opening game and will have a highlight video of the action to go with a complete game story as two local powerhouses fight for early dominance in the 2A Black Region.