By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Grand Canyon University Flag Football Coordinator Justice Guerrero wasn’t sure what to expect from his two teams in the spring season of the City of Scottsdale 8 vs. 8 Division II Flag Football League.
As it turned out, GCU’s turnaround from one season to the next was impressive. GCU Lopes finished with a 5-3 mark, while GCU White went 3-5, and both teams made the playoffs.
GCU Lopes lost in the opening round of the postseason before GCU White had its playoff game postponed due to weather and eventually canceled due to the coronavirus.
“The guys were motivated to prove we were better than what we showed in the fall,” Guerrero said. “It was really cool to see the progression. The guys stuck it out, worked hard over winter break and came back ready to roll.”
Both GCU teams competed in the Scottsdale Adult League, which hosted an eight-week regular season with games taking place on Saturday mornings at Chaparral Park.
Because the league is recreational and not school-affiliated, it featured teams with players of all ages. Guerrero said many of the teams included players in their 30s and 40s, and that the physicality of the league was something his teams had to adjust to.
“It’s very physical, but it’s a blast,” said Guerrero, who coached both teams and played for GCU White. “There’s a good amount of trash talk that goes on because of the age differences, and that’s always fun. Our guys stepped up and held their own in the spring.”
Quarterback Tyler Henry was a big reason for GCU Lopes’ success. Henry was a spark plug for the Lopes’ offense, throwing for many yards and touchdowns in nearly every game.
Guerrero said Henry was a difference-maker on and off the field.
“I think it really helped that he was involved in the fall and was able to learn the offense,” Guerrero said. “By the time our spring season started, he was dialed in. He had guys on the outside that he was comfortable throwing to, and he really took off. It got to the point where I just let him call the offense, and he did a great job with it.”
As for GCU White, Guerrero gave credit to Hannahh Moncrief, the lone female on the team.
Moncrief played middle linebacker and receiver for GCU White. More importantly, her work ethic set the tone for the team.
“I don’t think she ever missed a practice,” Guerrero said. “She really challenged the guys with her work ethic. When she first came out, her footwork wasn’t great, but we worked at it a lot and she improved a ton in that area. She never complained and had a great attitude. Everybody on the team recognized that and appreciated it.”
As for the future of the program, there will be a changing of the guard at head coach. Guerrero is set to graduate in the summer and will pass the torch to one of his current players.
Despite any changes, the program still expects to play in the fall and spring next year.
“There are a few guys who are interested in taking over for me,” Guerrero said. “I still plan to live in Phoenix after I graduate, so I’ll be around to answer questions and help the guys out in any way that I can. I think the future is bright with this program.”
Interested in joining GCU Men’s Flag Football? Check out the team page to learn more!