Next season will be one of change and redemption for the Corona del Sol Aztecs football team.
The Aztecs will have a new coach for the 2011 campaign following Zane Zamenski’s resignation at the end of the season.
Corona lost 10 games in a row after winning its opener 17-10 in double overtime against Mountain Pointe, finishing its season at 1-10.
Whoever takes on the coaching assignment will face the challenge of turning around a football team that had a far from stellar finish. However, the cupboard will not be bare. The Aztecs will have some pieces to work with and build a solid foundation.
Corona is losing star linemen Todd Peat and Rashaad Armstrong, both of whom provided a strong pass rush and good defense against the run. The Aztecs also lose the services of linebacker Brandon Davis and cornerback Kevin Zunino. Both seniors were key performers for the Aztec defense.
The Aztecs will return many of their playmakers on offense. Quarterback Evan Kenny will return for his second season. Kenny, a sophomore this year, had a solid season. Kenny’s intangibles and leadership abilities allowed him to win the starting quarterback position after the preseason. Kenny has a good feel for the game and good accuracy.
At the season’s end, Zamenski said one of Kenny’s best attributes is his ability to move in the pocket and make plays on the run.
Kenny will have some additional weapons at his disposal. Like Kenny, Josh Eithier and Tyler Eggers, both sophomores this season, gained experience on the job. Eggers, 5-10, 160, and Eithier, 5-8, 150, matured over the course of the year.
In an interview earlier in the season, Kenny said he expects Eggers and Eithier to be key components in the Aztecs’ passing game next season.
The Aztecs’ strongest area was its offensive line. Corona returns three offensive linemen—Christian Webb, Steve Rodriguez and Andrus Peat. Peat, a junior, is one of the top offensive linemen in the country, holding 14 scholarships offers.
Dominic Mercurio, a junior, will return for his senior season. Mercurio was a steady force in the backfield for the Aztecs at the running back position. He could get the tough yards inside and run on the perimeter as well.
Defensively the Aztecs will return such playmaking linebackers as Zack Hamm and Josh Riddell, both juniors. Both were good in run support and look to improve next season.
Corona was young at several key positions this season: quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back. Their lack of experience was evident in close games, including a 41-38 loss to North Canyon, 10-6 defeat to Desert Vista, and falling short 21-14 to Dobson.
Corona finished the season with only one victory, but there may have been one positive outcome: many of the team’s young players had an opportunity to see action and mature in the process.
The Aztecs are hoping the experience they gained this season will help as they attempt to rebuild—and rebound—in the 2011 campaign.