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Usually when writing these season previews for our favorite teams in Sedona, a recap of last season, key losses, top returners and even top newcomers are the normal format.

For the newly formed Sedona Jr. High Scorpion football team, it is their first year of existence in this town, which may make this a special treat for those dedicated football fans out there who can’t wait to see how these kids play out this season.

Using the words of the great Michael Buffer, “lets get ready to rummmmmble!”

Usually when writing these season previews for our favorite teams in Sedona, a recap of last season, key losses, top returners and even top newcomers are the normal format.

For the newly formed Sedona Jr. High Scorpion football team, it is their first year of existence in this town, which may make this a special treat for those dedicated football fans out there who can’t wait to see how these kids play out this season.

Using the words of the great Michael Buffer, “lets get ready to rummmmmble!”

In conjunction with the Red Rock Youth Football program, a Sedona Jr. High tackle football team was formed when school began after it was approved by the Sedona-Oak Creek School Board last spring.

The team is comprised of players from West Sedona School and Big Park Community School in a situation that requires plenty of planning and hard work.

Big Park players are bused from the Village of Oak Creek to the West Sedona practice fields, where players put on their pads and tighten their chin straps to gear up and play some football.

Each and every player makes history with every step they take, every hit they dish out and every move they make.

The first head coach and RRYF president, Scott Gilbert, believes this is an exciting time for football in Sedona, and he can’t wait to see what his kids can do.

“We’re taking a very fundamental approach to this team. I’m a long-term guy and I’m always thinking ahead. This team was formed not only to help these players succeed on the field right now, but to help the high school in the near future,” Gilbert said.

While sitting at his desk, a smile came about his face as he blurted out the question, “how great will it be when 12 to 20 players show up to football camp next year as freshmen and they’ve actually played the game of football in pads before?”

This question, a fair one and yet somewhat exciting, is exactly why a team like this was formed, because rarely had players who put on the high school uniform before felt the comfort of

pads.

Top players

This year’s Sedona team will likely be an interesting one with a few players moving up from the Majors and into the Jr. High program.

Some of the top players for the Scorpions this year are quarterback Ryan Ramirez, who also plays safety on defense and is the kicker and punter on the team.

Eighth-grade fullback and cornerback Rawlin Carpenter should anchor the defense and the run game, while eighth-grade teammate Walker Eaton will play halfback, getting the bulk of the carries for the Scorpions.

At the wide receiver position, eighth-grade Richard Covert has a good pair of hands and plays at the free safety position on defense because he’s one of the top tacklers as well.

“We have some talent in many positions on the field. I’m looking forward to seeing what these kids can do,” Gilbert said.

Others include offensive lineman, middle linebacker and captain Zane Saxman and teammate Bryce Heckrodt-Hallenbeck who played together at the Majors level last season.

“I’m excited about our offense. We don’t have a lot of plays, so the kids should be able to respond well. I’m also pleased with our defense so far; we have a few big hitters and guys that have knowledge of what’s going on out there,” Gilbert said.

The schedule

The very first game in the history of these Scorpions will be Saturday, Aug. 23, against the Williams Middle School Falcons which will be played on Sedona Red Rock High’s new football field under the lights.

Once the first game jitters are out of the way, strong tests against the Glassford Hill Panthers and the Heritage Hawks from Chino Valley will follow.

A good matchup against Camp Verde Middle School on Friday, Sept. 12, would be a good one to watch, but the real test will come on Thursday, Sept. 25, against cross-valley rival Cottonwood Middle School.

The Scorpions will then wrap up their season with an away game at Northwest Christian Middle School, and a home game against a High Desert Youth Football Seniors team out of Cottonwood on Saturday, Oct. 11.

Final word

If all goes well, the Scorpions could find their way into the playoffs, but the schedule may prove tough for a first-year team. Look for positive results from individual performances and possibly a .500 record, which would certainly by welcomed by those who started this program.


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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