Palm Desert will be the first California team that Permian has played in the history of the football program. The Panthers are slated to host the Aztecs on September 20 at Ratliff Stadium. Mojo will celebrate Homecoming as part of the eventful night.
Palm Desert will return eleven starters – six on offense and five on the defense. The Aztecs posted an 11-1 record last year and have been league champions the past two seasons. Palm Desert graduated several key position players, and have quite a few holes to fill. But don’t let varsity inexperience fool you. Their junior varsity also went undefeated in league play with a 6-0 mark in 2018.
AT THE HELM:
Shane McComb is back for his fourth year as the head football coach. The Aztecs are 24-10 under his leadership, including the two league/district titles. He is a former linebacker and runs a smash-mouth offensive game set. Prior to Palm Desert, he was a linebacker coach at Rockford University in Illinois. The Aztecs heavily favor the run-game, and are known for their unrelenting stingy defense.
Quarterback Garrett Hayden (6’5″ 210) played five games last season and is expected to play field general in 2019. Though it is unclear who will be carrying the rock out of the backfield, Hayden will have a pair of solid receivers in Parker Lyons (5’10” 170) and Simon Gaete (5’9″ 180). Lyons also handles punt and kick returns, and is a threat with his 4.5 speed. The offense averaged 34 points, while racking up 390 yards a game (235 rushing / 155 passing) a year ago.
The defense held opponents to 16 points a game in their league title campaign. Palm Desert will need linebacker Derrick Pine (5’9″ 215) and pair of defensive backs – Uriah Alverado (5’10” 170) and Cole Martello (6’2″ 190) to help the others transition to the varsity level. Pine recorded 51 tackles (27 solo). Alverado logged 74 tackles (48 solo) from hi safety position, while Martello had 37 (28 solo) and two interceptions.
Replacing his older brother Jacob as kicker, junior Joshua McIlroy kicked nine times for an average of 49 yards a kickoff.
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