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Entering year two of the Big Park Community School-West Sedona School football team, Head Coach Scott Gilbert is very optimistic about his team’s chances this season.

“We have a few new kids but they actually have more experience then we had last season,” Gilbert said while on the practice field Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The pairing of Big Park and West Sedona to form one tackle football team at the middle school level was largely successful last season.

jr-high-football-8-28-(3)After receiving the go-ahead from the Sedona Oak Creek School District Governing Board in late spring 2008, Gilbert along with several volunteers put together a team of players from both schools.

Setting up practice times in Sedona, Big Park players were bussed to practice, and before they knew it, a football team had formed.

“Our first year was interesting. There was a lot of things we had to do to get these kids on the field, but in the end it was worth it,” Gilbert said.

The 2008 campaign was not successful in victories as the team went 0-7-1 on the season, but Gilbert said the players stuck it out the whole year and they learned a few things.

This season as players strap on the helmets, tie their cleats and wipe the sweat from their brows, the Scorpions are ready for season two.

Gone are players like Keenan Crans, Rawlin Carpenter, Ryan Ramirez and Zane Saxman, all of which are playing for Rob Lezcano and the Sedona Red Rock High football team.

Replacing those players this season are top returners in eighth-grade linebacker Mason Aronson, eighth-grade tailback Richard Covert and eighth-grade wide receiver Josh Elfman.

All three are expected to start this season with Covert getting the majority of the carries this season.

Other top returners include eighth-grade offensive lineman Bryce Heckrodt-Hallenbeck, eighth-grade defensive lineman Galen Leo, seventh-grade defensive lineman Luis Robles and eighth-grade offensive lineman Gregory Swartz.

The seven returners will carry the 20-man roster this season Gilbert said, but there are a few newcomers who have caught the eye of the coaching staff in the early going.

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