Alex Talamantes might very well be the smallest linebacker in all of the 6A Conference.
The junior is listed at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds and a free safety for the Mountain View defense.
In actuality, he is 5-7 and 150 pounds and playing outside linebacker.
He certainly doesn’t play like it or care about his size.
“I’ve always played with bigger boys coming up,” he said. “It doesn’t matter at some point and you don’t think about it. I play as hard as I can.”
He has 17 solo tackles, and 32 total tackles on the season. Talamantes had his best game of the year with 10 tackles including three for a loss against the physical Mountain Pointe offense last week.
The defense held up well in the second half in a 35-3 loss. The Pride was up 14-0 after two very easy drives to start the game, but the Toros showed a back bone.
“I take pride in that and that we stepped up,” he said. “We were embarrassed last year. We still have work to do for sure, but we can really come together in the second half of the season.”
The defense stuck together in part because of the leadership of Talamantes.
“I try to make sure we are up on defense, especially when we struggle,” said Talamantes, who also has a kickoff return for a score. “Everyone can lead or have a good time when you are winning. When you are losing or giving up big plays that’s when you have to step up.”
Desert Ridge (3-1)
The Jaguars defense loss some defensive end talent with Jalen Harris (graduate) and Jason Harris (transfer to Higley), but Desha Bennett has played well with two sacks, six quarterback hurries. … Desert Mountain quarterback Kendon Slovis has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in 136 attempts, while averaging 276.5 yards a game. … The Jaguars open Central Region play next week at Gilbert.
Last week: W, 31-7 Mesa. This week: Desert Mountain (3-1). History (since 2004): 6-0. Last five (dating back to 2016): 3-2
The Mustangs three wins have either surpassed or tied the total wins for a full season six times since 2004. … The Mustangs offense will face on the state’s top linebackers in Desert Vista senior Larry Davis, who has 35 tackles, including 7.0 for a loss, including four sacks, and a fumble recovery. … This week’s game is listed as an away game on some sites, but Dobson is hosting Desert Vista.
Last week: W, 35-13 La Joya. This week: Desert Vista (3-1). History (since 2004): 0-5. Last five (dating back to 2016): 3-2.
The Mesa defense will get a boost this week as Chandler transfer TJ Becker, who will take over at Mike linebacker, becomes eligible. … The Jackrabbits are bringing back some of the best players in program history – Via Sikahema, Deuce Lutui, Orlando McKay and Robert Holcombe, all of whom either won a national title in college or a Super Bowl title. … The Mesa offensive yardage has been split nearly down the middle – 198.2 rushing and 197.0 passing. … Basha wide receiver Ty Sifferman has been one of the more productive receivers in 6A with 33 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns, while Jaylyn Goodman has six TDs on just 16 catches.
Last week: L, 31-7 at Desert Ridge. This week: Basha (1-4). History (since 2004): 0-1. Last five: 1-4.
Mountain View (2-2)
Tate Allen has been a nice No. 2 receiver for the Toros as the senior has 20 catches for 199 yards and TD catch. … The rushing attack was bottled up last week against Mountain Pointe. After averaging 140.7 yards a game, the Pride D held the Toros 63 yards on 27 carries. … Brophy has had a difficult year, but not because of junior safety Marques White as he averages 11.3 tackles, has 7.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Last week: L, 35-3 Mountain Pointe. This week: Brophy (1-4). History (since 2004): 1-4, lost two straight. Last five (dating back to 2016): 2-3.
Red Mountain (2-2)
Mountain Lion junior tight end Carter Wheat, who has five catches for 67 yards and a score, is a big target at 6-3 and 215 pounds. His father, Warren, played at Camelback and BYU before being drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the eighth round as an offensive guard. … This week’s opponent, Gilbert, has been pretty impressive so far while averaging 256.3 yards passing and 147 rushing. Quarterback Jack Plummer has thrown 15 touchdowns and zero INTs in 98 attempts. The Mountain Lion defense has just one interception on the season. … Junior defensive end Francis Kumi is coming off a thee sack game and has four on the season.
Last week: W, 31-8 Boulder Creek. This week: at Gilbert (3-1). History (since 2004): 3-0. Last five (dating back to 2016): 2-3.
Skyline (2-2, 1-0)
Skyline is averaging 206.8 yards rushing and found the end zone 14 times. … Junior running back Aaron Wood is coming off his best game of the year, going for 142 yards and two TDs on 24 carries. … The Coyotes have faced the Huskies twice since 2004, losing by the identical scores of 21-14 in 2014 and 2016. … The Skyline defense will be challenged this week as the Huskies average 521.2 yards (257.8 rushing, 263.4 passing) and 50.2 points a game.
Last week: W, 52-35 at Skyline. This week: Hamilton (4-1). History (since 2004): 0-2. Last five: 3-2.
Westwood (2-3, 0-1)
Senior Manny Collier has done just about everything for the Westwood offense for 637 yards for scrimmage as he run the ball, caught the ball and completed a pass while also returning punts and kicks. … The Tolleson offensive attack has been pretty equal with 10 TDs passes for 634 yards and 423 yards rushing with eight TDs. … Coach Kyle Ide singled out Rayvon Williamson as one of the defensive standouts. The junior defensive tackles averages 3.4 tackles a game and has three sacks.
Last week: L, 41-7 Gilbert. This week: at Tolleson (2-2). History (since 2004): 0-1. Last five: 2-3.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.