High-profile coaching debuts mark prep football Week 1

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                </div>  The 2016 high school football season in Arizona opened on a high note for a couple of new coaches at high-profile programs in a couple of the state’s top divisions. […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The 2016 high school football season in Arizona opened on a high note for a couple of new coaches at high-profile programs in a couple of the state’s top divisions.

Mike Fell made his debut at Mountain View High School by winning his first game as the Toros’ new head coach, beating Valley Vista High, 43-21,  And Paul Moro christened the re-start of his legendary career by leading Tempe’s Marcos de Niza High School to a 44-23 win over Prescott High.

Fell is new to Arizona football, moving here from Ohio in the spring, but he takes over a storied program that has won eight state championships since the Mesa school opened in 1976.

Moro is new to the Valley, but not to in-state football fans.  He spent 30 years building a small-school dynasty in the White Mountains.  Moro’s teams played in 16 state championships at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside and won 13 of those.  He is one of only seven high school coaches in Arizona to have won 300 games.

With just six more wins, he will surpass Vern Friedli‘s 331 wins to become the all-time winningest coach in the state.

Moro left Blue Ridge to take over a struggling program at Poston Butte High School in Florence and went winless last season before resigning and getting hired at Marcos.  But, with the talent he has returning from a 2015 Padres team that went 12-2 and played for the D-II state championship, he could easily reach that magic number this season.

Mike Fell, too, is an old hand at the game.  He has logged 26 years as a high school coach.

His job will be to get the Toros back where it at the turn of the century, so to speak.  Their last state title was in 2002, and the year after that they wrapped up a 27-game winning streak.

During the Jesse Parker era, from 1976 to 1994, the school won four of its eight state championship titles and were runner-ups for the title another three seasons.  Parker became the school’s first coach when he was 37 and now, 40 years later, he was celebrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony during halftime of last night’s game after the school named the field in his honor.  He was there, along with alumni that played on the eight championship teams.

Fell is just the fifth MV head coach over those four decades.  Last night’s football victory was the school’s 400th.

The new coach used a two-quarterback system, playing both of his returning seniors, to rack up 346 yards passing and four touchdowns.  Wheeler Harris and Tristan Askan alternated series and completed passes to seven different receivers.

Senior running back Orion Baker scored first-half touchdowns on a couple of short-yardage plays as the Toros built a 22-14 halftime lead in front of a packed house at Toro Stadium.

Curtis Hodges, Mountain View’s 6’7″ senior receiver took over from there, scoring twice in the third quarter on catches of 25 and 37 yards to run the lead to 36-14 and essentially put a cap on the win.  Hodges finished the night with six receptions for 146 yards.

Meanwhile, over in Tempe, the Padres used a big second half to rally from a 17-9 halftime deficit, outscoring Prescott 35-6 in the final two quarters.

While the two offenses combined for 680 yards, almost evenly distributed between rushes and passing, it was the Marcos aerial attack that made the difference.  Nazareth Greer threw for 222 yards (15-for-25) and gave up no interceptions.