Skyline Gila River Mustangs Show Promise at First Tackle Football Home Game
October 6, 2023
Gila River Indian News
As dusk approached on Thursday, Sept. 28, the Skyline Gila River Mustangs took to the field hosting Heritage Gateway Academy from Mesa. Under bright lights and to roars of the supporting crowd, the stage was set for the first home game of the Skyline Gila River High School’s inaugural tackle football program.
Community youth comprise most of the football first team, led by coach Darius Turner, for this season’s first-ever tackle football season. The team has two wins and two losses, having defeated Heritage Academy 34-28 at their first home game.
Skyline Gila River competes in the Canyon Athletic Association. The association is distinct, with teams from across the region participating in eight-man gameplay instead of traditional 11-player matches on the field.
John Davis, District 5, was at the game to support his son, Ino Davis, and nephew Dominik Arredondo. “This program is giving our boys a healthy outlet to be productive while in school, so it’s good to see how well they’re doing for the first season,” said Davis. He said he enjoys attending the games with fellow GRIC members and supporting their children as a Community. Davis saw the progress the boys had made since the summer, and to see them build off the experience each game presented was gratifying.
Also spotted in the cheering audience was District 4 member Trina Hart. She attended to support the team and her grandson, Elijah Hart. She saw the school go from flag football to tackle and mentioned that Elijah was having fun playing tackle football. “We’re a Community so everyone should come out and get involved and support our youth because every little bit helps, and I want to see more of our people here,” said Hart.
She said the sportsmanship, camaraderie, and coaches are what her grandson find most satisfying as a player.
“I’m really excited for our team and seeing them learn new skills on the field and it’s apparent that our teachers, staff, and families are excited too,” said Keith Brown, Skyline Gila River Principal.
“Our coaches are stressing academics first, so football is being used as a motivator for our students to strive for academic success and serve as good citizens, so I hope more of the Community can come out and see what we’re doing here with the football program and all our athletic programs.
Brown said that football has created a noticeable difference among the team regarding attendance, behavior, and grades. He’s proud of how well the team performs on and off the field.
“We’re in a really good league, but our goal is to make the playoffs this season. Our boys are putting in the work and the long-term goal is to win a championship,” said Daveda Taylor, Skyline Gila River’s Athletic Director. “These kids work really hard and they’re from the Community and I hope that GRIC knows that we’re here serving their youth and we want them to see how dedicated and disciplined they are,” said Taylor.
Taylor would especially like to see the Community come out for their homecoming game on Thursday, Oct. 19, where they will take on Imagine Coolidge at 7 p.m.