This fall, assuming sports are able to return by then, the Eagles play a more top-heavy nonconference schedule on paper compared to the 2019 season.
Although the Eagles won’t play a bottom-of-the-barrel program such as Dysart in 2020, Flagstaff will battle Thunderbird, which went just 3-7 a season ago, and 3A Winslow, which went a solid 7-3 in its conference.
But throw in 4A Marcos de Niza with a new head coach and there is plenty of challenge in the Eagles’ slate outside of region games.
“I don’t think those are unwinnable games for us,” Hanley said of the games against Peoria and Marcos de Niza, adding that he believes the schedule is tougher than 2019’s.
Flagstaff opens the region against Mingus Union, then hosts Thunderbird, following which the Eagles will travel across the I-40 to face Winslow on the road Sept. 18 to wrap up the nonregion schedule.
The game against Winslow is a bit of a throwback rivalry that goes back to the early 1920s when Flagstaff and Winslow played each other in the Northern Arizona Conference, according to the AIA archives.
The last time the two programs faced off was in 2012 in an 18-10 Flagstaff win in Winslow. The two played back to back in 2011 and 2012 following a near 30-year hiatus. In the all-time series, Flagstaff is 33-20 against Winslow.