After being on top with three straight state championship seasons to their credit, it’s been and up and down year for the Aztecs and new head coach Neil MacDonald.
A great deal of speculation before the season started, for the four-time defending D1 state champions Corona del Sol Aztecs, centered around the resignation of former head coach Sam Duane, Jr. and the departure of 6-11 sophomore Marvin Bagley III, last year's azcentral.com sports Player of the Year.
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It was an emotional end to an otherwise outstanding season for Marcos de Niza in its quest for the school’s first state high school football championship when the Saguaro Sabercats scored back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to ultimately defeat the Padres 38-20 on Nov. 28 at Tucson’s Arizona Stadium.
Marcos de Niza’s Padres stood their ground and defeated a reignited Corona del Sol for the second time in two weeks Nov. 6 to spoil the Aztecs’ chances of making it past the first round in the DII state football playoffs.
“This could be the year!” The Marcos de Niza football team and its fans have heard this statement repeated over the last nine years but are quietly hoping it’s true this year.
Corona’s boys team, led by junior runner Slade Sumners, finished second with 105 points, at the prestigious Doug Conley Invitational Elite event held Sept. 26 at Tempe’s Rolling Hills Golf course.
In fall 2011, Andrus Peat dressed in Corona del Sol’s orange, yellow and black every Friday night as a member of the Aztec football team. Four years later, he returned to the Valley from his new NFL home to play football, this time sporting black, white and gold—the colors of the New Orleans Saints.
Marcos de Niza's Padres varsity football time, which lost its first game of the 2015-16 season 24-12 to Mountain Pointe, took its vengeance out on neighboring McClintock High School a week later with a dominating 49-7 win.