Coach Zamenski remains optimistic as grid season advances

After a slow start for the season, the Corona del Sol Aztecs believe they are beginning to turn the corner.

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Despite the team’s 1-3 record, following a 41-36 loss to North Canyon Sept. 16 at home, Aztecs football coach Zane Zamenski said he believes the team is improving.

“They’ve made some strides. We’ve been very encouraged about that,” he said. “Our record as it stands doesn’t maybe reflect where we ought to be. We’re going to tweak a couple things here and there, provided the kids continue to give that kind of an effort that they gave (against North Canyon). We will be successful more times than not.”

The Aztecs have endured the highs and lows of the season thus far, opening the schedule with a 17-10 double-overtime win over Desert Mountain, suffering two blowout losses ( 34-8 against Red Mountain and 49-15 against Desert Ridge), before narrowly losing the game against North Canyon.

“The first game was very gratifying. It was a wild finish. It was a huge plus to start off with a win,” Zamenski said.

“But the following two weeks our guys kind of regressed a little bit and didn’t put forth the kind of work that needs to be to get the payoff at the end for the victory. (The opening season win) did great things for everybody. The only problem was, I think they became a little over confident after that first win.”

Zamenski said he believes the team is now more focused and poised for a playoff run. He said the Aztecs have the pieces in place. Linebackers Brandon Davis, Zack Hamm and Josh Riddell are athletic and talented.

Free safety Nicholas Woods and defensive back Kevin Zunino have been solid in the secondary. Offensive linemen Todd Peat, Anders Peat, CJ Anderson and Matthew Seall have formed a unit which has been the strength of the offense, blocking up front for running back Dominic Mercurio and quarterback Evan Kinney. Zamenski said Kinney has had a strong season.

“He’s doing some really good things for a sophomore quarterback,” he said. “To be out there doing what he’s doing, I don’t want to say remarkable, but it’s awfully good.”

The Aztecs also get a boost Sept. 30 when defensive end Rashaad Armstrong will return to the lineup against Mountain View. Armstrong served a suspension after being ejected from the Mesquite game due to a pair of personal fouls.

Zamenski said Armstrong’s return will have a big impact on the defensive line.

With six games remaining, Zamenski said he’s confident the Aztecs can reverse their early fortunes and finish the season strong.

“I don’t have any doubt at this point that these kids will do some good things and we’ll win some ball games,” he said.

“We really feel like, if we play to our capabilities, we have a shot at the playoffs.”

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