The spring season is right around the corner for many teams in Arizona and one team new to the party is destined to make a name for themselves. During the off-season, several Arizona Desert Football League All-Stars joined forces with other college and high school standouts to form the Arizona Roll Tide.
“My vision for this team is the be the best team in all of Arizona,” Roll Tide owner Bo Battle told Developmental Football USA. “Not only the best, but also the most organized and disciplined, as my ultimate goal is to help these young men achieve their goals, whether it be on a college level or professionally.”
Bringing in quarterback Jake Mortensen makes the Roll Tide an instant contender. In three years playing at this level, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound gunslinger has led teams to the championship game three times and won two of them. In last year’s championship game, Mortensen had to exit during the second quarter to a wrist injury, so he’s been itching to get back on the field and win another title.
Also featured in the Roll Tide’s offense will be 6-foot, 242-pound running back C.J. Palmer.
“We expect him to have the best season of his career,” Battle said. “Which that says a lot because he has been one of the best backs in the league for the past three seasons.”
Joining Mortensen on Palmer offensively are two newcomers at wideout in 5-foot-7, 155-pound Luis Alvarez, 6-foot-2, 165-pound Terrence El-Meniawi, and offensive lineman Tony Smith, who plays both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, we have some of the best talent Arizona has to offer,” Battle said. “Starting with strong safety Darnell Coleman, cornerback Keith Francis, defensive tackle Willie Harvey, defensive end Siah Buchanan, and former Kansas State Wildcat, defensive end-tight end Xavier Davis. All of these players bring experience, knowledge and aggression.”
They’re not lacking in size, either. Davis stands 6-foot-6, 245-pounds, Harvey stands 6-foot-4, 320-pounds and Buchanan at 6-foot-4, 318-pounds to fill out what should be a ferocious defensive front.
Jordan Dixon, Terrell Moore and Chris Radney fill out the linebacking corps and Joseph Esquivel is another solid piece of the secondary.
“In terms of coaching, I can honestly say we have some of the most knowledgeable coaches in all of Arizona,” Battle said. “Leading the way is our head coach, Cedric Collins, who brings many years of professional, college, and high school experience to the table. Additionally, we have our offensive coordinator Jon Roberts, defensive coordinator Delvin Austin, and assistant coach Josh James.”
The AZDFL is entering its fourth season and this year could be the most interesting one yet with six new teams joining the fold, including last year’s Arizona Football League Champions, the West Valley Head Hunters. The AZDFL defending champions, the Gilbert Warriors have also added some new key pieces, which they will need if they hope to repeat.
“I expect the Roll Tide to be in the mix for this season’s top team,” Battle said. “We currently have a solid roster of more than 50 players. Our overall team goal is to achieve something that has never been achieved in this league and that is to run the table with a perfect, undefeated season.
“To my knowledge, no first-year team in all of Arizona has ever won a championship at this level, so the goal is to do what has never been done, all while remaining disciplined.”
For more information on the Arizona Roll Tide, check out www.azrolltide.com, or contact the team on Facebook, on the page AZ Roll Tide.
“We are still accepting players and coaches that are on the same page as us, as it pertains to character, hard work, and being disciplined,” Battle said.