League: Class 4A Southwest
Head coach: Michael Ovens, first season
2015 record: 7-4 (2-2 Northwest League, third)
Returning lettermen: 25
Returning starters: Five offense, seven defense
Base offensive set: Spread
Base defensive set: Eagle 3-4
Top offensive players: WR/QB Brannon Flowers (Sr.); WR Jaden Mitchell (Jr.); OG Brandon Smith (Sr.); OT Joe DelSangro (Sr.); C Nick Benham (Sr.)
Top defensive players: DT Desmond Kuresa (Sr.); ILB Jason Sanders (Sr.); DT John Munoz (Sr.); ILB Tyler Streicher (Sr.)
Key losses: ILB Ryan Knipp; TE/DE Austin Cooper; RB Ty’shun McClinton
Outlook: The Diamondbacks won the first playoff game in school history last fall, and will try to build off that positive season. But they’ll have to do it with a new coach, as Brad Talich stepped down in the offseason after just one year at the helm.
Ovens has been an assistant at Desert Oasis for the past two seasons, and inherits a club with solid experience.
Flowers, who showed tremendous athletic ability as the team’s quarterback last season, is expected to move to receiver this year. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 876 yards and seven TDs and also rushed for 585 yards and eight scores as a junior.
If junior Mitch Moniz can handle the quarterback position, the duo of Flowers and Mitchell (11 catches, 172 yards, 4 TDs) should be formidable.
Replacing McClinton, who rushed for 1,415 yards and 20 TDs will be a difficult task, but Smith, DelSangro and Benham give the Diamondbacks a solid foundation up front.
On defense, the Diamondbacks will need to replace leading tackler Knipp. But Sanders, who was second on the team in tackles, and Streicher, bring experience on that side of the ball.