Under a new coaching staff, the Desert Edge football team has high expectations this season. After a dominating 56-0 win over Canyon View last week, the Scorpions take on Sandra Day O'Connor High School in the season's second game, Oct. 9.
Last year, the Scorpions finished 10-4 record and advanced to the 4A Conference championship game, falling just short in a 28-23 loss to the Mesquite High School.
After the season in early February, twin brothers Marcus and Mark Carter were hired as co-head coaches in place of Jose Lucero. The brothers previously resurrected the South Mountain High School football program, changing if for the better.
In their first season, the Carter’s finished 1-10 at South Mountain and last season helped the team finish 7-3. This included a 5-0 record in the division. Now they are looking to take Desert Edge to the next level.
“From the media, we have high expectations,” said Marcus Carter, “For ourselves, we always have high expectations. Pressure can burst pipes or pressure can make diamonds. We are in a diamond-making situation.”
The Carters joined a team with many talented returning players. Junior quarterback and captain Adryan Lara is coming off an outstanding sophomore campaign. The Washington State commit threw for 4,016 yards and 41 touchdowns. He said he is taking advantage of every little thing the Carter’s teach him.
“The Carters are a good set of coaches,” said Lara, “They give me great advice with life and obviously football. When I have issues, I call them up because I know they always have my back.”
The Scorpions are also returning one of the top defensive players in the state in senior defensive back Steven Ortiz Jr. According to ESPN’s top 300 recruitment list, he is a 4-star recruit and a top 10 player in the state of Arizona. He committed to University of Minnesota in April.
“Steven is often the first guy on the field and the last guy off the field,” said Carter.
“The Carters treat everyone like family,” said Ortiz Jr., “even though they get on us at practice, they are still going to love us outside the lines.”
Along with Lara and Ortiz Jr., key pieces such as junior running back Jeryll Mcintosh, wide receiver Andrew Patterson, offensive linemen Gavin Brocious and cornerback Clifonte Mcdowell are returning to win the title for Desert Edge.
“I think we can be an even better team than last year,” said Lara, “we have more experience on the defensive side and the offensive side of the ball.”
However, this season has come with uncertainty due to COVID-19. Due to this, the Carters set up a virtual spring ball. They were unable to start in the summer in person like usual and played for the first time with Coach Carter in a scrimmage against Centennial in September.
“It was just a lot of Zoom calls and we had to think outside the box,” said Carter, “we are just grateful and thank God for an opportunity to do things that we love because it can be taken away from us at any moment.”