When Mike Valenzuela stepped down as Mountain View’s football coach after the 2013 season, he wanted to prove he could win at a larger school.
Valenzuela will have that chance starting this fall.
Valenzuela, who led the Saints to two consecutive appearances in the Class 2A state title game, confirmed Tuesday he has been hired as the football coach at Del Sol.
“These last three years have really been intentional and preparing myself to lead a bigger program,” Valenzuela said. “We had success at Mountain View at the small-school level, and I don’t apologize for that success. It was a really fun run, and I’m looking to continue to have the same kind of fun run at the 3A level.”
Valenzuela went 21-4 in two seasons at Mountain View, including two Southern League titles. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Sunrise Mountain and was the offensive coordinator in 2015 when the Miners went 6-4 and reached the postseason for the first time in school history. Last season, Valenzuela was the quarterbacks coach at Faith Lutheran.
“I’ve kind of had to take some steps back along the way each time I move up levels of play,” he said.
Del Sol reached the Class 4A state final as recently as 2009 but struggled in recent seasons.
The Dragons went 4-6 last season and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“The past success tells you it can be done again,” Valenzuela said. “As I step into this leadership role, I see there’s going to be a lot of cultural changes that need to take place to not only return it to where it’s been but to complete that ultimate goal of winning the state championship.”
Valenzuela was part of explosive offenses at Sunrise Mountain and Faith Lutheran, and he said he plans to install a spread offense at Del Sol.
“Del Sol has some good speed and some really good track and basketball athletes, and we’d like for that to translate onto the football field,” Valenzuela said. “When it’s wide open and we’re putting pressure on people with tempo and athletes in space, people respond to it. Kids get excited about it. Everybody gets a lot of touches, and when you have athletes with touches in open spaces, it generally turns out in your favor.”
Veteran coach Gary Maki, who was at Del Sol the past four seasons, said Tuesday he is taking over at Rancho. Maki previously coached the Rams from 2005 to 2007.
■ Bonanza senior Torren Brozovich to Cochise College (Arizona) for baseball.
■ Arbor View senior Connor Mormon to Ventura Community College (California) for baseball.
■ Centennial senior Tanner Wright to Cal Lutheran for baseball.
■ Arbor View junior Neally Peters to Southern Utah and Arbor View senior Sierra Vicente to Embry-Riddle (Arizona) for women’s soccer.
■ Shadow Ridge junior Whittnee Nihipali to Arizona and Shadow Ridge senior Jacquie Yapching to College of Southern Nevada for women’s volleyball.
■ Tonopah senior Tanner Otteson to Lassen Community College (California) for wrestling.