Updated: Sep 4, 2022
The transfer bug has extended beyond the college level. A wave of transfers has flooded the AIA football system and no school has felt that more than Cesar Chavez.
After having nearly 20 players transfer before the 2021 season, the Champions look to have a strong season aided by neighborhood-grown talent.
“[We’re] just really trying to build that foundation,” Head coach William Chipley said. “We’ve been taken apart and we’re really trying to focus on our core guys and that foundation of guys that are gonna be here and want to be here, and going all out for this thing. That’s where we want to focus our time and energy. Those guys, they put in their time.”
After playing just three games in 2020, former coach J.R Alcantar stepped down as head coach. Additionally, some of the top players of the school transfer out to other schools outside of the PXU system.
However, there is still talent in Laveen including the JustChilly Flight Club Big Man challenge defensive lineman MVP Zachary Cook. The capabilities of the team are so strong that they have attracted the attention of other high schools.
Most notably, the Hamilton defensive coordinator Tim Dougherty privately messaged Cook, which led to the Cesar Chavez Athletic Director Lenny Doerfler to take to Twitter and state “STOP CONTACTING/RECRUITING CHAVEZ FOOTBALL PLAYERS.”
Hamilton originally received a postseason ban, but became eligible after the AIA board rescinded the decision on August 30th. Dougherty also remained on administrative leave.
Despite the dramatics leading up to the season, Chavez has drowned out the noise and is ready to leave it all on the gridiron.
“[They’re excited] just to get out and play, these guys have been working hard and they’ve been through a lot, it’s well documented,” said Chipley. “They’ve been through some adversity, and they just want to put it out there on the field and get it going.”
While the talent of the Champions is strong enough to benefit any team, the ties to the area and support of family encourage the players to remain local.
“This is where they live, this is where they’re from,” Chipley added. “They grew up their whole life here and they’re not ready to drive 40 minutes to go to another school, they want to do it right here in their backyard.”
The Champions open their 2022 campaign tomorrow against the Westwood Warriors at 7pm MST.