Coconino football takes on top competition in the ‘Flight Club’ | Local

Enoch Watson, an aspiring sophomore who is vying for the starting role, said ahead of the event that he was excited to showcase his skills. A solid performance could win him some favor with the coaching staff.

After a year in the freshman ball, he saw the games as an opportunity to test his skills against university opponents.

“It helps you work on your own things, work as an individual,” said Watson. “To me, I’m a sophomore, there’s a lot to prove.”

But while the main goal is improvement, the competition has been quite heated.

Coconino was the only Flagstaff-based team in the tournament. Senior defensive back Andy Ruiz said success against the Valley teams mattered.

“We are always seen as underdogs, a small mountain town, so we come here to prove that we are better against some of these teams from here,” he said.

The Panthers fell 35:28 against eventual champions Saguaro in the first round of bracket play of the 4A Conference State Championship tournament. The Sabercats, an open playoff team from the 2020 season, had too much offensive firepower in a pure passing game.

Even so, tournament director and founder Chilly Carillo was impressed with the Panthers’ performance.

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