Tuba City Warriors football returns with a mission
TUBA CITY, Ariz. - First year football coach Jared Tunney knows his players pretty well. He spent the last two seasons as the coach of the junior varsity team in Tuba City. Now, the reins of the team are in his hands.
Tunney has a large team of 36 on his 2A squad. The season opener is set for Aug. 25 against 3A Window Rock on the road. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tunney coached sophomore Collin Posey last season as a junior varsity quarterback. Tuney describes the 5'10" Posey as a “well rounded athlete with a great work ethic.”
"He's open to new ideas, and is extremely coachable," Tunney said. "We'll be using a spread shotgun offense. We have receivers with a lot of natural speed. Some of them run on the track team, so the shotgun is a good offense for us."
Tayshawn Nez, a junior, is on the offensive line as starting center. He plays both the defensive and offensive lines, and is described as knowledgeable and reliable by Tunney. Another junior, Laughter Smallcanyon, helps anchor the line. He plays defensive tackle and guard. Tunney is impressed by Smallcanyon.
"No one in the division has the drive he does," Tunney said. "He has an unequaled love and passion for the game."
In the backfield, two players play the running back position. First is senior Josh Goldtooth, whom Tunney credits with a great deal of speed and good hands. Marcus Ben is also a running back, described by Tunney as a “dual threat.”
"He's a multi-sport athlete," Tunney said. "He runs track in the 100 and 200. He also competes in the triple and long jump. He's a talented athlete."
Cayden Joseph, a 5'10", 190-pound senior, has played on the offensive and defensive lines until now. Tunney has moved him to the tight end position.
Josh Goldtooth and Ryan Benally split the duty at the corner spot. Trent Engle is the team's safety. Tunney credits him with speed, great vision, and a sixth sense to know how plays will unfold.
"Every coach’s goal is to take their team to the platoffs," Tunney said. "If everything goes as planned for us, we should have an 8-2 season and make the playoffs. It will come down to mentality, drive, and execution."
Tunney is helped by his three assistant coaches: Mike Hastings, Taz Eltsosie, and John Pie. He also expressed gratitude for the school's athletic director, April Clairmont, who has been a strong supporter. According to Tunney, Clairmont has a great passion for football, and is a great driving force for the team.