AJHS Holds its Own Against 5A Opponent; Ready for Season-Opening Trip to LA
By Daniel Dullum
SCOTTSDALE – Before Apache Junction embarks on its seven-hour, 446-mile season-opening road trip to California, the 4A Prospectors faced 5A Desert Mountain in an Aug. 9 scrimmage.
Desert Mountain, which had dropped down to 5A from 6A, suited up 32 seniors. But AJHS Coach Vance Miller said the Prospectors competed favorably with the bigger opponent.
“It’s one of the most loaded teams (Desert Mountain) has had in the last few years,” Miller said. “Their quarterback (Kedon Slovis) is headed to USC and he’s every bit as good as we thought and he puts a nice touch on that ball.
“Our kids were up to the challenge. They were faster than us, they were bigger than us, they were taller than us, and we traded scores with them. They got one more, but that’s OK. It was expected from a 5A school.”
Miller added, “We’re at the bottom end of the 4A when it comes to size, but our kids showed up. I was absolutely impressed. We did a fantastic job on both sides of the ball.”
On offense, Miller said junior quarterback Gibson Limongello showed significant improvement.
“Gibby is a full year older, a full year more mature,” Miller said. “His eyes are seeing the field and his ball has a lot more speed behind it. Our receivers are getting open. My coaches are doing an outstanding job. They guys are really responding to the coaching.
“Defensively, our kids were flying to the ball. We had 11 guys on the ball on every single play.”
On Friday, the Prospectors travel to the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley to face Royal, a California Southern Section 8 school. Miller said he wanted to scrimmage Desert Mountain because of the similarities to the Royal Highlanders, who were 6-5 last season.
“They’re the same size, the same size school, same amount of kids, (Royal) runs a similar type of offense, and this is what we’re going to see,” Miller said. “It’s going to be a battle and we’re going to have a lot of fun.
“It’s something new for the kids. They are so excited.”
Photo above: Action from the early moments of the scrimmage, with the Prospectors on offense. Photos by Daniel Dullum