By: Richard Obert, azcentral sports | January 13, 2017
Scottsdale Saguaro’s Jason Mohns will be head coach of a national all-star high school football team for the first time.
Mohns, who has led Saguaro to a 65-7 record and four consecutive state championships since he took over Saguaro’s program in 2012, leads Team USA Under 16 national team against Canada on Tuesday night inside the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
There are no Arizona players on the team, but Mohns loaded his coaching staff with three of his Saguaro assistants — defensive coordinator Jim Camarillo, offensive line coach Mark Martinez and defensive backs coach Bryant Westbrook — and with Chandler Hamilton coach Steve Belles. Mohns also has Salt Lake City East head coach Brandon Matich and Woodinville High (Washington) head coach Wayne Maxwell on his staff.
Last year, Mohns was an assistant coach on Team USA’s under 18 team that got beat by Canada, so he puts great stock in this game.
“They got after us good,” Mohns said. “It was an eye opener. We’re thinking we’re the only country that plays football. It was an eye opener to see the level of play from a Canadian team. They hand-select their teams. It’s a good level of competition.”
What is being billed as International Bowl VIII and featuring eight games in various age groups over the course of Monday and Tuesday, it will be streamlined on ESPN3. The Under 16 national team’s game against Team Ontario is the last, on Tuesday night, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Mohns and his staff arrived to Dallas on Thursday. Players arrive Friday to begin preparation for the game.
The players on the team comprise mostly of players entering their sophomore year next football season.
“They’re on the cusp of being varsity players,” Mohns said. “They’re getting their feet wet. It’s fun coaching kids who really want to learn. It’s a great experience for the kids. A lot of the kids won’t play after high school, but this gives them a chance to play on TV and in the Cowboys’ stadium. Who knows how many of them will ever play in a state championship game. They get to put Team USA jersey on. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
Mohns is calling this a business trip, because he believes, “Canada is not here for vacation.”
“They take pride,” Mohns said. “Any time they can beat USA in anything, they’re going to take advantage. As a head coach, I think any time you name is on something, you take a lot of pride in it. I’m not here for a vacation. I’m not here to sight-see. There are no shopping trips. We’re here for football and to win.”
Queen Creek Casteel defensive back Cameron Brown and Chandler defensive tackle Chris Monoa were selected to play on the U.S. National Under 17 team against Japan on Monday.
Glendale Apollo wide receiver Joshua Raskin was chosen for the U.S. Under-17 Select Team to face Football Saskatchewan on Monday.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert