Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tuba City football returns young group

Tuba City football returns young group

FORT DEFIANCE – The Tuba City football squad didn’t lose much to graduation this past spring.

In fact, the Warriors graduated just seven players off last year’s 4-6 team, which included two seniors who were first-year players.

“We have a young group coming back, but we do have some talent,” said Jared Tunney, who is in the process of being hired as the head coach.

Tunney headed the program at the tail end of last season, and he was scheduled to interview for the head coaching position this past Wednesday with the school administrators. As the paper went to print there was no information if Tunney was offered the job.

Nonetheless, Tunney has been working with the football program during its offseason workouts. He took a small group to the Window Rock 7-on-7 scrimmage on Saturday.

“We just have a lot of raw talent right now with mostly sophomores and juniors,” Tunney said. “We just need to continue to hone in with our skills set. There are some things that were lacking, so I expect the kids to learn the offense, learn the defense, learn their jobs and learn their responsibilities.

“Once we’ve learned that I expect them to execute their jobs and execute their responsibilities,” he added.

Last season’s 4-6 campaign included a 4-3 mark in 2A Little Colorado Region play. The Warriors finished in a three-way tie for third with Red Mesa and Hopi.

The rest of the league includes Greyhills Academy, Holbrook, Many Farms, Piñon and Valley (Sanders).

“Not to bash anybody, but the only competition I think we’ll have in our conference is Holbrook,” Tunney said. “Last year some of the teams couldn’t hold their own against us because we have such a large team. We were able to swap players in and out.

“We were able to adjust the offense and defense,” he added. “Our skills set were a little higher than most of the teams in our conference.”

Tunney did acknowledge the quickness and athleticism of Holbrook, as the Roadrunners ran the tables in the region race with a perfect 7-0 record last season. Holbrook mercy-ruled every region opponent, which included four shutout wins.

“They have a really good program going there at Holbrook,” Tunney said. “For our kids, it’s kind of hard for us to get over that hurdle of playing non-reservation schools. We tend to get a little intimidated and that’s something that we have to get past. We have to treat football like football.”

Tunney, who previously served as the JV head coach at Tuba City for three seasons, expects his team to be competitive this season.

“I worked under coach (Vincent) Lee before he moved to coach at Newcomb High,” Tunney said. “Underneath that system we started to do more of a spread formation. My quarterback, Kollin Posey, has grasped all of that.”

Posey did not make Saturday’s scrimmage as the Warriors utilized backup quarterback Dineshyne Dele.

“Kollin is playing in a basketball tournament,” Tunney said. “Most of our star athletes were down in the Valley playing, so we patched up our holes with a lot of JV players.”

The Warriors brought two freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and one senior to the 7-on-7 scrimmage. Tuba City went 1-3 in pool play, losing to Gallup’s Hózhó Academy (19-6), Wingate (23-20) and Monument Valley (24-12). Tuba City earned its lone win over Newcomb by a 22-6 count.

“We actually did really well,” Tunney said. “We held our own against some of the best players that were here.”

Besides Posey, the Tuba City coach expects veterans Tayshaun Nez (lineman), Riley Mann (lineman) and Laughter Smallycanyon (lineman), Deiondre Whiterock (receiver) and Ryann Benally (receiver) to provide some leadership for the young Tuba City squad.

“Deiondre and Ryann are our best receiving corps,” Tunney said. “You know, Riley is really stepping up on the line and Laughter is going to be questionable. He’s hurt right now, and I do hope the best for him.

“Laughter is one of those players that can make or break a team,” he added. “He has a high football IQ and he’s very charismatic. He’s willing to work in the trenches. He’s got some things to work on and all we do is hope and pray for him.”


About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com

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