The ring is the thing for the Phoenix Outlaws, and over the years, they’ve acquired quite a few of them.
The Outlaws, who are owned and coached by John Polchin, have been around since 1999, and especially since the 2012 season, they’ve been dominant. Phoenix has won four state championships in the past five years. That’s a run that includes five straight championships appearances and a three-peat from 2014 to 2016. The 2013 season saw the Outlaws make the big game, but they lost. With that said, they still boasted an undefeated regular season, and they got right back at it in 2014, not just with a state championship, but a national runner-up spot as well.
This is an organization that knows a thing or two about winning big games, and its longevity speaks for itself. The semi-pro, arena and indoor football ranks are full of teams and organizations that bounce from place to place, owner to owner and team to team. It’s not a level of football known for its consistency, but that can’t be said about the Outlaws. They’ve been a staple in Phoenix for 18 seasons, and Polchin has been the owner and head coach since day one.
Heading into the 2017 season, Polchin and his organization will be looking to build off of an 11-2, championship season.
“We had eleven first year starters so our veterans and coaches did a great job of getting everyone sold on the system and bringing them to championship form,” the head coach told Developmental Football USA, reflecting on 2016. “It was a very rewarding season.”
Speaking of newcomers, Polchin relayed that the Outlaws will be hitting the field with a new quarterback under center in 2017. Justin Evans will be making his Outlaw debut, but he’s no greenhorn. He’s a veteran football player and Phoenix is looking for a big season from him.
“He has adapted to the system well and we are expecting great things from him,” Polchin said of his new quarterback.
Making life easier for the new quarterback will be a familiar face at wide receiver, C.J. Venezia, formerly of Saguaro High and Phoenix College. “He has lead the league in receiving each and every season and has over 5,000 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns in his Outlaw career,” Polchin relayed. “I do not expect that trend to change.”
Defensively, first-year cornerback Andre Jones is a player who Polchin believes is the “real deal” for the Outlaws. Phoenix will be looking for Jones to be a leader and mentor on defense, and he’ll be a big part of that unit along with middle linebacker Tyson Muse.
“He’s back for another solid season and his track record as a leader is unquestionable,” Polchin said of Muse.
The Outlaws kick the 2017 season off at their home field, Sunrise Mountian High, at 7:00 p.m. on February 11th. They’ll be welcoming in the Southwest Stampede, though Phoenix will technically be the visiting team for the game.
Phoenix has a ten game season with two byes sprinkled in at the end. And no matter how the season actually ends up, Polchin and his organization will be heading into it with the same lofty expectations.
“Our expectations for the 2017 season are the same as they always have been,” he told DFUSA. “To win with class and get to that last game doing things the right way. We’re looking for our 6th consecutive championship game appearance, and God willing, our 5th championship win in six years.”
If history is any indicator, the Outlaws should be well on their way towards accomplishing those goals very soon.