'New' coach, but he's been around - Tucson Local Media: Sports

'New' coach, but he's been around

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Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:00 pm

Calling Marana head football coach Anthony Coronado "new" is a bit misleading.

True, he is taking over the top slot on the staff from Willie Dudley this season, but he's been around the block with the Tigers.

"I've coached at Marana for 13 years," said Coronado. "You name (the position), I've pretty much coached it."

That sideline time included a five-year stint as head coach, before stepping down in order to spend time with his family. Now seemed like the right time to move up once again.

"I was going to jump back in the seat again sometime, but it had to be a decision that my wife and kids and I all made together," said the coach.

With his family's support, Coronado is excited to lead Marana (4-6 last season) into a new era, and is pleased with what his team showed over the summer.

"It was a really positive, good summer," said Coronado. "We really concentrated on trying to get stronger, and there was just a really good attitude."

Strength and attitude will be tested early and often by a difficult schedule, as Marana shifts from 4A Sonoran competition to the 4A Kino region. The Tigers open with two playoff teams, visiting Amphitheater on Aug. 28, and then returning home to take on Mountain View the next week. Marana faces further, solid challenges from Cienega, Sabino and Nogales, among others.

"It is definitely not an easy schedule," said Coronado. "It's going to be a real test, but I'm partly glad we're doing it.

"You've got to get thrown in there right away, you don't want any false confidence," he added.

Stiff competition aside, Coronado believes his team has the ingredients to be competitive, both regionally and on a state level.

"We want to make the playoffs, and we've been very competitive in the region the last four years," said Coronado.

Continuing that trend will hinge on an experienced defense and the effectiveness of a new offensive system.

On defense, "our whole defensive front line is back," said Coronado.

"Matt Susa, Louis Payne, Jaylon Hill – it's always nice to have guys like that back," he added.

Offensively, quarterback Robert Contreras won the starting job during the summer and will be "really key to getting the offense going," according to Coronado.

That offense will have a much different look than in previous years. Instead of a spread attack, the coach said Tigers will be moving to "more I-back sets, not really smash-mouth football, but setting up the run."

Shouldering some of that load will be Payne, an offensive guard last season, and a "big, fast kid" that Coronado hopes will "move people for four or five yards every carry."

Tailback Josh Boak will take advantage of his natural athleticism and Payne's bulldozing presence, as well as fulfilling his defensive outside linebacker duties.

"(Boak) is just one of those kids that needs to be on the field all the time," said Coronado.

The coach believes this combination of hardened veterans and fresh newcomers gives Marana a good chance to make some noise in the unfamiliar 4A Kino.

"We're in a new region but we want to be just as competitive as we were in last one," said Coronado.

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