The Arizona Western College football team is gearing up for the fall. Coming off thier first El Toro Bowl win in the Tom Minnick era, the Matadors are looking to pick up where they left off, but they're going to have to do it with a much different roster.
The Matador's ended 2012 with a bang in their upset win over highly ranked Nassau in the El Toro Bowl. Now three weeks away from the start of it's 2013 campaign, Coach Minnick says the Mats are replacing 65 players on the roster from last year's team.
"We're pretty young. There are not too many kids on that football team that are back. I think we kept eight kids or nine kids off that team that are back. So, we're a very young football team and right now they have to learn how to win. So, that's what we're trying to coach them up to do."
Don't let this youth movement fool you. AWC's high expectations haven't changed. Even though there are a lot of new faces, Minnick believes he has a solid corp on his young squad that's loaded with potential.
"We have a pretty good offensive line coming in this year. To win championships you need a good defense; and I think we brought in enough transfer kids to help the freshmen out on the defensive side of the ball to be able to be pretty good."
Despite quarterback Tanner McEvoy's transfer to Wisconsin, the team has three players in the running to take the reigns of the offense. But ultimately, the success of this season will hinge on one key element; chemistry.
"We've got to perform. We're held to that standard to be great. So, we have to come together and work," says offensive lineman transfer Jordan Prestwood.
Minnick also believes if his newer players learn the system early in the year, the sky could be the limit for another run at a league title.
"If we take one game at a time and win each game as the year goes on, we'll be stronger and stronger and stronger and be able to contend for the WSFL championship."