Thatcher football coach Dave Jefferies leaving for Benjamin Franklin

Thatcher football coach Dave Jefferies leaving for Benjamin Franklin

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Thatcher football coach Dave Jefferies leaving for Benjamin Franklin

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Dave Jefferies is returning to roots he took up after high school, coming back to the East Valley, leading charter school Benjamin Franklin’s high school football program in Queen Creek.

Jefferies said his children were attending the Benjamin Franklin Charter School, before he moved to Thatcher more than three years ago to be the head football coach.

He was 30-7 at Thatcher, leading the Eagles to the Division V semifinals two years ago and the quarterfinals this past season with quarterback/safety Heath Motes leading the way. Motes made All-Arizona and was named the Small Schools (Divisions IV-VI) Player of the Year.

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He said he will finish the school year out at Thatcher, but will sign the papers Friday at Benjamin Franklin and “hit the ground running” this summer at charter school.

“I’m sure people are thinking it’s because (Motes) will be gone that I’m leaving now, but honestly there were other things,” Jefferies said. “But it was easy to do it with him.”

Jefferies’ family relocated to the Valley after Dave graduated from high school in Yuma.

Jefferies spent 13 years as an assistant football coach in the Gilbert district, helping out at Mesquite, Mesa Desert Ridge and Campo Verde.

Benjamin Franklin was established as a charter school in 1995. But it only began high school a couple of years ago. The football team with freshmen, sophomores and juniors played an independent schedule last season, going 4-7.

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Thatcher opened the Division V playoffs this past season with a victory over another charter school from Queen Creek, American Leadership Academy, which beat Benjamin Franklin twice last season.

Benjamin Franklin started two years ago in 8-man football in the Charter Athletic Association with just freshmen and sophomores.

Jefferies said he expects the Arizona Interscholastic Association to place Benjamin Franklin in Division V this next school year.

“I knew a lot of the leadership within Ben Franklin,” Jefferies said. “I’m looking at it as Tempe Prep probably was eight or nine years ago. We’ll use that as motivation.”

Tempe Prep became the first charter school to reach the state final this past season, before losing to Yuma Catholic in Division V.

Benjamin Franklin has its own football field with synthetic surface.

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“Coach Jefferies has the character and drive that makes him a perfect fit not only for our football program, but for our school,” Principal Mark McAfee said in a school release. “He exemplifies the qualities we are working to instill in our young men and women at BFHS. His track record speaks for itself as his teams not only win football games but they represent their school and community with class.”

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