Morenci’s Garcia, Casillas, named San Pedro Region Coach, Player of the Year

Jon Johnson and Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: From left, Morenci head coach Joe Garcia was named 2A San Pedro Region Coach of the Year, and Michael Casillas was named the Region Offensive Player of the Year.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

MORENCI – While the Morenci Wildcats came just short of their goal of a state title, losing in the championship game 14-28 to Arizona Lutheran Academy, a host of Wildcats have been recognized on the 2A San Pedro Region’s All-Region Team. 

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Michael Casillas knifes through Pima defenders behind blockers for some yardage. The Morenci sophomore gained 225 yards on 22 carries, seven for first downs, and scored twice in the game. Casillas was named the 2A San Pedro Region Offensive Player of the Year.

Third-year Morenci head coach Joe Garcia was named Region Coach of the Year. Morenci finished second in the region behind Benson and made it all the way to the state championship. 

Another big award went to Morenci Sophomore Michael Casillas, who was named Region Offensive Player of the Year. Heading into the championship game, Casillas had already amassed 1,846 yards on 192 carries in 12 games, with eight games of 100 yards or more and 26 touchdowns.  

All-Region 1st Team

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Brody Brown brushes off a tackle. Brown was named to the All-Region 1st Team as a defensive back.

From Morenci: Derek Saenz, defensive back and kickoff returner; Tristen Sanchez, defensive lineman; Brendon Enriquez, linebacker; Kaden Summer, long snapper; Shawn Hudman, offensive lineman; Jericho Sanchez, offensive lineman; Tony Roybal, punt returner and tight end; Daylen Johnson, quarterback; and Michael Casillas, running back. 

From Pima: Brody Brown, defensive back; Seth Russell, defensive lineman; Tucker Wilkins, linebacker; Pepper Hughes, offensive lineman; Wyatt Wiltbank, offensive flex; and Grant Ashby, receiver. 

All-Region 2nd Team

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Willcox’s Marcus Olivares (5) gains an unfair advantage as Morenci’s Patrick Chavez (13) is held on the play. Chavez was named to the 2A San Pedro All-Region 2nd Team as a defensive lineman.

From Morenci: Patrick Chavez, defensive lineman; Shawn Hudman, linebacker; Dominick Chavez, offensive lineman; Austyn Nelson, placekicker; Tristen Sanchez, tight end; and Gavin Baca, receiver.

From Pima: Leland Thompson, defensive back; Chris Serna, defensive lineman; and Chris Edgmon, offensive lineman. 

Honorable Mention

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Scottsdale Prep’s Devon Strader attempts to tackle Pima’s Grant Ashby after Ashby pulls down the INT. Ashby had three interceptions in Pima’s 57-14 opening-round playoff victory over Scottsdale Prep. Ashby was named to the 2A San Pedro All-Region 1st Team as a receiver.

From Morenci: Andrew Chavez, defensive lineman; Jalen Kitcheyan, offensive lineman; Richard Trott III, defensive lineman; and Donovan Vozza, defensive lineman. 

From Pima: Hayden Blair, running back; Owen Lunt, defensive flex; and Tuddy Smart, offensive lineman. 

The Region Player of the Year is Devin Bowling, of Benson, and the Region Defensive Player of the Year is Ryan Francione, of Benson.    

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