Barro looking for postseason success in Year 3

Aztecs’ expectations

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Corona del Sol’s Jake Barro says three is typically the lucky number — at least for him as a head coach. Having spent 11 years in that role, he has seen the fruits of his labors ripen in the third season with his programs.

Barro is coming off back-to-back playoff appearances with the Aztecs, but now the mission is to win in the playoffs. “We know we can be a consistent 6A playoff team,” Barro said. “Can we get in and win and advance now? I certainly feel like we have to do it. It’s something that I think we’ll be able to accomplish, especially in year three; we’re getting a lot of buy-in and the culture is starting to take shape.”

Take a step back to 2021: Casa Grande High, a program which had a bad track record on the gridiron, was guided to its first state title since 1950 under Barro. Barro’s path to postseason success with the Aztecs now starts with a young core that he believes is more “bought in” and will be better than previous years. The youth of the program will also bring a new identity to the field.

Former Aztec quarterback Connor Ackerley, among others, graduated, while star receivers Raiden Vines-Bright and Jai Jones transferred. Corona possessed one of the state’s premier pass-catching groups in 2023, but will look to do damage in the box in 2024.

“We are considerably stronger upfront this year,” Barro said. “Our offensive and defensive lines are going to be the strength of our team going into next season. And that’s really a bigtime positive for us. Last year we were pretty young up front on both sides of the ball. And so that was something that we just kind of had to piece together and develop through the season. I think you’re going to see dramatic improvement in the offense and defensive lines and, you know, in turn you’ll see an improvement in the run game on offense.”

Barro gives credit to strength and conditioning coach Pete Salazar, who has been creating programs for the team. Recently, Corona took third place behind St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), and Hamilton in the big man competition held at ASU.

“He has done an outstanding job of getting our kids advanced in the weight room and we’re stronger than we’ve been since I’ve been here… considerably stronger.” With the emergence of a young, unproven quarterback at the varsity level, the Aztecs will need to count on its front seven to pave the way.

There are still two months until the start of the season, but as Barro says he sees it now, there’s: no reason this year’s roster can’t surpass last year’s results.



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