2022 Southern Arizona High School Football Spotlight: Tucson Badgers

5A South: Tucson

Record 2021: 1-9 overall, 0-5 6A East Valley (last place)

Record 2022: 1-0 on aggregate

The Head Coach: Malcolm Nelson, 1-0 first season in Tucson and overall as head coach. He is a former defensive assistant coach for the Tucson Sugar Skulls professional indoor football team, in 2019 when Marcus Coleman was the head coach. Nelson replaces veteran coach Richard Sanchez, who left after one season for undisclosed reasons. Nelson has 18 years of coaching experience, mostly in arena football and has been a personal trainer. He worked as an assistant high school coach in North Carolina. He attended Clemson and Kent State and was a member of both schools’ football teams.

Tucson’s contingent is the same as before legendary coach Richard Sanchez resigned, coaches say (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


Key returners:

  • WR Amier Bowlds, Sr.
  • RB Prince MugishaJr.
  • WR Kwame sofaSr.
  • QC Devin NeumanSr.
  • WR Dominique CanoSr.
  • KG Desmond BenitezSr.
  • comics Darius Sauls, Sr.
  • RB prince marquisSr.

Supervisors :

  • The Head Coach: Malcolm Nelson
  • Assistant: Andrew Peralta
  • Assistant: Anthony Peralta
  • Assistant: Angel Swords
  • Assistant: Chris Budy
  • Assistant: Ikaika Pina
  • Assistant: Josh Powell
  • Assistant: Kevin Haywood
  • Assistant: Richard Drow

Remarks: Sanchez’s departure means Tucson goes from being one of Southern Arizona’s most experienced coaches with a 162-86 career record (with two state titles at Sunnyside) in 22 years as a coach. -leader to coach during his first stint in charge of a program. Malcolm Nelson, who coaches on an interim basis, said he views his role as a delegator and consultant to Sanchez’s staff, who opted to stay with the Badgers following Sanchez’s resignation. Many players have warmed to Nelson, mentioning that he is not a ‘micro-manager’. … Tucson won its season opener 29-21 on Friday against visiting Mesa Dobson, an opponent from last year’s Region 6A East Valley. The Badgers were reclassified by the AIA as 5A Southern beginning this season. Tucson has won seven of its last eight openers. …Tucson welcomes South Mountain, coached by the great Arizona Byron Evans, September 23. The teams played at Tucson High last year with the Jaguars winning 26-20. … Another game of note is Tucson which ends its season Nov. 10 at Cienega, which has Badger’s former coach Justin Argrave. Cienega’s sophomore coach coached Tucson for 10 years before joining the Vail school. … The Tucson coaching staff said the Badgers made no defections after Sanchez resigned. The program is primarily challenged by keeping players eligible and healthy.

Keep an eye on: RB Prince Mugisha, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior who has good size, athleticism and durability to carry the ball out of the backfield. With two more seasons to thrive, his future looks bright.


Badgers compete in the 5A Southern
*Region game

Date Opponent Time W/L Rec
9/2 dobsonian F, 29-21 1-0
9/9 @Skyline 7 p.m.
09/23 South Mountain 7 p.m.
9/30 @ Catalina Foothills 7 p.m.
10/7 @ Sunny side 7 p.m.
10/14 Mountain view* 7 p.m.
10/21 @ Desert view* 7 p.m.
10/28 Buena* 7 p.m.
11/4 Ironwood Ridge* 7 p.m.
11/10 @Cienega* 7 p.m.


Javier Morales, publisher, writer and editor of ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com, is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star Beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News, and Baseball America, among many other publications. He is also the author of the book “The Highest Life Form”, which is available on Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is currently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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