After slow start, Aztecs football team in position to defend 6A East Valley league title


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Although undefeated at the varsity, junior varsity and freshman levels last season, Corona del Sol opened this season with four straight losses. Since then, the Aztecs have rallied to win both of their 6A East Valley league games and have a chance to run the table and repeat as league champions. – photo by Andrew Lwowski

Corona del Sol High’s football team, in first place in the 6A East Valley through games of Oct. 22, has three games left, all of them league games, giving the Aztecs a chance to rally from a disappointing 0-4 start and repeat as champions.

Alex Zener

The Aztecs play at Dobson on Oct. 29. The Mustangs are 2-4 overall and 0-2 in fifth place in the 6A East Valley. Corona’s offense has more rushing yards, more total yards and averages more points than Dobson.

The Mustangs defense has twice as many sacks per game.

On Nov. 5, Corona will play at Westwood, 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the 6A East Valley. This game could determine the league champion. On paper, Westwood has outperformed Corona in all comparison categories except sacks per game. The Warriors average twice as many passing yards as the Aztecs.

Corona’s final regular-season game is Nov. 11, at home against Tucson High Magnet School, when Corona’s seniors will be honored. The Badgers are 1-6 and in sixth in the 6A East Valley at 0-2. They lost to Westwood, 46-20, and Skyline, 48-31, but still have Mesa and Dobson to play before competing against Corona.

The Aztecs may have turned their season around on Oct. 15 at Mesa, where they won in convincing fashion, 42-13, scoring six touchdowns, four of them on the ground by junior running back Jonathan Kubat. Another came through the air on a pass from sophomore quarterback Connor Ackerley to senior Jeff Lambert and another on a fumble recovered and returned for a touchdown by senior defensive lineman Theren White for a 42-13 win.

Ackerley, who completed eight of 12 passes for 190 yards, is showing that he can throw the long ball. He hit senior wide receiver James Miller with a 50-yard completion early in the game and Lambert caught two passes for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Junior kicker Carston Kieffer made all six of his point-after kicks. Sophomore kicker Malcolm Flynn punted four times for a 32-yard average.

On defense, junior linebacker Ryne Cook was the leading tackler with five. Senior Peyton Bauer had a sack and junior defensive lineman Matt Orthmann and White combined for a sack.

On Oct. 22, the Aztecs lost a close non-section away game, 13-7, at Williams Field, ending a two-game streak. With a chance to score from the Black Hawks’ 13-yard line, Corona lost the ball and the game on a failed fourth-down attempt when Williams Field sacked Corona’s quarterback with less than a minute to go.

Kubat scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season. Senior Peter Katsiris was the leading receiver with 70 yards on two receptions, senior linebacker Nathan Cormier-Ward had nine total tackles and Lambert eight, two of them for a loss. Junior defensive back Tristan Van Dam snagged an interception and junior defensive back Tristan Shafer caused and recovered one fumble.

Marcos de Niza football

Marcos de Niza is ranked fifth in the 4A Desert Sky Section at 3-4 overall and 0-1 in section play through games of Oct. 22 with three section games left before the 4A State Playoffs start Nov. 19.

The Padres are led by sophomore quarterback Braesen Leon, who has completed 123 of 210 passes for 1,549 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Leon’s leading receiver is junior Mason Stromstad, with 30 receptions for 416 yards and four touchdowns, followed by junior Clinton Hopkins, with 25 receptions for 362 yards and a touchdown, and senior Brody Bybee, with 15 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior Joesyiss Williams has 11 receptions for 222 yards with three touchdowns.

The other four passing touchdowns were scored by junior Juan Lopez, sophomore Mike Turner, junior Jamaal Young and junior Elijah Woods.

The Padres’ leading rusher is senior Malik Coleman, with 280 yards on 48 carries and four touchdowns.

Next is Woods, who has played in only three games, but has carried 31 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Up next, the Padres play host to Benjamin Franklin (5-2) on Oct. 29. They then finish at Seton Catholic on Nov. 5 and at home against Mesquite on Nov. 12.

Corona del Sol volleyball

The Aztecs, 26-6 and No. 4 in 6A, are on a 17-1 streak going into the state playoffs.

On Oct. 26, Corona deal Mountain Pointe a 3-0 sweep and the next night swept No. 8 Sunnyslope, 3-0.

The top eight teams will have a bye into the 6A state tournament, which starts Nov. 4 at the higher seed. If Corona holds the No. 4 ranking, it would will face the No. 13 team at home on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The No. 13 team at press time was Tucson Rincon/University.

Corona del Sol swimming and diving

The Division 1 diving finals are Nov. 4-5 at Brophy College Prep. The D1 swimming finals are Nov. 5-6 at Skyline Aquatic Center.

The Aztecs last regular-season meet was the Tempe All City Invitational on Oct. 28 at McClintock High School.

Corona del Sol cross country

From left: Corona del Sol’s Diego Frausto, Grant Murad and Callumm Rohr lead the pack during a recent cross country meet.  – photos by Andrew Lwowski


Reagan Benally (left) of Corona del Sol’s girls cross country team leads a pack of runners along the trail during a meet.

The Corona del Sol boys and girls cross country teams have been working hard since June and expect to make the state meet.

The boys and girls state-qualifying Division I Southeast Section meets are Wednesday, Nov. 3, likely at Gilbert Crossroads Park.


  1. We should have 3 more wins. Did we try everything? This region is weakest region in the entire state.

  2. Cds we have 2 sophomore QB’s. One qb has a dad that also coaches and the varsity OC is also the qb’s youth coach and perosnal QB trainer. This qb also has a mother with sizeable media influence in the sports industry. The other QB is better in every single way but nobody knows of him because even the cds official Twitter is also QB1’s dad (he operate all of the cds twitter accounts). On the field we can hear the student section screaming put crew in. We scrimmaged brophy and qb1 threw pick after pick, qb2 did not and threw td’s. Midway jv scrimmaged us and qb2 threw td’s against my defense and QB1 threw picks against the jv defense.


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