A few weeks ago, on a slightly overcast afternoon, the Canyon Del Oro High School football team took to their practice field once again as they prepared for their upcoming season.
Coming off of a 7-4 season in 2011, Head Coach Dustin Peace said his team has high expectations as they always have.
“We had a successful season I thought last year,” Peace said. “I would have measured it as a successful season just from the fact that we started 0-2 and put on a good run and ended by finishing 10th in state.”
For Peace’s fourth year as the head coach for the Dorados, he has a slightly more shallow team than he has had in the past with 38 dressed, opposed to his usual of about 45 players. But, with some returning players, Peace believes the lack of players won’t matter.
“A huge strength for us this year is the guys we have coming in to back up the line,” he said. “The year before, that was one of our deficiencies. We had one part-time returner last year. This year we have all but one who played for us last year.”
Peace feels the team’s tailback Isaac Chacon will be the Dorados’ main ball carrier this year.
Chacon, who started playing for CDO his freshman year on the junior varsity team and moved up to the varsity team his sophomore year, feels good about the upcoming season.
“It feels good to be around our team because we have bonded so much,” said Chacon, who is one of the team’s three captains. “It feels right to be around each other.”
The other two team captains, offensive lineman Sang Lee and offensive tackle and defensive end Rhett Sutherland echoed what Chacon said about bonding and uniting together as a team during the summer months.
“We weren’t as much of a family last year, and I feel like we have united as a family this year,” Lee said as the rest of the team huddled near by chanting “D-O-R-A-D-O, Dorados, Dorados, Dorados,” followed by cheering and getting pumped up for practice.
“That’s all family right there, that’s all family,” Lee said looking at the huddle.
Sutherland is trying to stay focused one game at a time and helping out the younger players on the team.
“I am just looking forward to showing the younger kids the ropes and hopefully getting prepared for next year, just showing what it means to play football and the meaning of life,” Sutherland said.
In the younger ranks of the team, Peace made a few changes from last year. One of them was with junior Max Anae, who played as a defensive and offensive lineman last season. This year, Peace moved him to tailback and fullback.
Peace expects CDO junior Jacob Parker to one of the team’s top players, as well, on both sides of the ball.
The Dorados had a tough opening week, losing 36-0 to Ironwood Ridge.
Now at 0-1, CDO will face Mountain View Friday for the team’s first home game.
2012 Dorados Schedule
8/31 vs Mountain View
9/7 vs Chavez
9/14 @ Williams Field
9/21 vs Flowing Wells
9/28 @ Salpointe Catholic
10/5 vs Catalina Foothills
10/12 vs Tucson
All games begin at 7 p.m.