Tolleson Union High School has received plenty of press, thanks to senior receiver Andre Johnson, who committed to play for ASU upon graduation. However, there is plenty more to the team.
The team went 5-5 last season, but center Randy Babchuk, who, like Johnson, has been a varsity player since his sophomore year, has high hopes. The Wolverines kick off the season August 24 against Agua Fria at home.
“As a leader of the line, I make sure everyone’s in check, make sure everyone’s doing the right thing and getting it done,” Babchuk said. He added he feels the Wolverines have a strong coaching staff and players who will listen to him.
“Our coaching staff is pretty good,” Babchuk said. “They expect the best from us and that’s all they’re going to get from us.”
The team is looking to bag a regional championship this season, something the school has not done since 1984.
“That’s something we really want to put on the map this year,” said head coach Jason Wilke.
Consistency is the key to Tolleson’s success.
“Last year we were a ‘peak-and-valley’-type team,” Wilke said. “When we were playing well, we could beat anyone. When we weren’t playing well, we weren’t very good. So obviously, consistency is a big thing we’ve worked on since spring ball and all the summer, and going into practice here now.”
Wilke said he’s excited for the community to watch the team play.
“We do have quite a few seniors; quality guys who made plays as juniors who we’re expecting to make big plays as seniors,” Wilke said.
“It should be exciting with all our athletes. Defensively, we’re going to play fast. We’re going to be physical, and we’re going to get to the ball. Special teams are something we spend a lot of time on and those win us games. So, if you come to a game, it should be exciting and good quality hard-nosed football.”