Scott Bordow's rural road trip: Bagdad has become a football power in Division VI

Scott Bordow's rural road trip: Bagdad has become a football power in Division VI

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Scott Bordow's rural road trip: Bagdad has become a football power in Division VI

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Bagdad defenders swarm a Mogollon quarterback during the Division VI high school football state championship game on Nov. 15, 2014, in Phoenix.

Bagdad defenders swarm a Mogollon quarterback during the Division VI high school football state championship game on Nov. 15, 2014, in Phoenix.

The sign leading into Bagdad.

The sign leading into Bagdad.

A little more than 2½ hours after I picked up the rental car and got a diet Pepsi and licorice – red Twizzlers – for the road I drove into the parking lot of Bagdad High School, the first stop of my rural prep football tour.

Bagdad has become a power in Division VI, which plays 8-man football. It won the state title two years ago and then lost in last year’s state championship game to Mogollon. It will again be among the favorites in Division VI this year.

BORDOW’S RURAL ROAD TRIP: High school football, fast food, Diet Coke

Credit coach Dalton Mills, a former Bagdad player who returned home in 2008 as an assistant coach and became the head coach in 2012. The kids are from blue-collar families that work the copper mines in and around town, and the team reflects that hard-working ethos.

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Despite being in the middle of nowhere – the closest “big city” is Kingman about 90 miles away – college recruiters are noticing kids in Bagdad. Tony Jauregi, Bagdad’s starting quarterback the last two years, will continue his career at Central College, a private four-year institution in Iowa. Mills said the success of Jauregi and other players has convinced his current kids that they can be seen noticed by recruiters, even if they’re far off the beaten path.

Look for more on Bagdad later this month in a Sunday story at azcentral.com

I’ll be in Kingman Tuesday for the second stop of my five-day tour. I may switch to Diet Coke just to change things up.

High school football preseason practice:

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Scott Bordow's rural road trip: Bagdad has become a football power in Division VI
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