Buckeye Union warming up for the Estrella Foothills match.
Ian Monje is a student at the ASU Cronkite Journalism School and covers Buckeye Union High School for AZPreps365.
BUCKEYE — Buckeye Union High School’s football season ushered in a new era with head coach David “Puni” Ellis.
In his first season as head coach, the Hawks started hot with a 4-1 record heading into their next game against district rivals Estrella Foothills.
For all athletes, competitive games are the most intense of the season. It’s important for these athletes to keep their feet on the ground and not let tension get in the way of their play.
This is where leadership is most needed. This is a point that the coaching staff of Buckeye, including Puni, are focusing on.
“Leadership qualities are one of the biggest things we emphasize, especially for seniors,” says Puni. “It’s about keeping your composure.”
Chemistry is important for any sports team. It has been built on countless events and hours of time spent together.
In fact, the Hawks take chemistry so seriously that the team plans a trip to Hawaii every few years thanks to their fundraising efforts.
Senior Running Back Viliami “Vili” Tongotea is the vocal leader who leads the pre-game chants. Loud and passionate groups rally to each other to build up for the game.
The unity they show every game is truly unique and unlike any other team. Senior Defensive His end Aidan Nobbs is a player who is very happy with the team’s chemistry.
Knobbs is also the leader of the Hawks. His energy and competitiveness are felt when the pads are on, whether it’s practice time or game time. He demonstrates it with every snap.
For Nobs, leadership is accountability.
“Leadership, to me, means standing up when everyone is goofing off and cheating and the coach is trying to get their attention. Please.”
Nobs is also a very diplomatic leader. He is a player who always locks in and allows the team to focus on the task at hand.
“These guys cannot be taken lightly,” Nobs said. “You can’t underestimate them if you know they’re not that good of a team.”
It is especially important for young players to rely not only on coaches, but also on experienced seniors.
Senior linebacker Brock Holt is one of the key leaders in the locker room. He has a “forgive and forget” mentality after every match.
His “forgive and forget” mentality was nurtured after a crushing loss to Cesar Chavez High School, a school that plays in two Buckeye divisions.
The Hawks are unfazed by defeat with the attitude they have.