The Douglas Bulldogs and their new coach, Abner Cortez, will scrimmage the Tombstone Yellowjackets Thursday at 4 p.m. in Tombstone.
The scrimmage will give the new coach and his staff an idea of what to expect from his team this coming season.
Cortez, who played for Douglas High School and Cochise College, has been an assistant coach in the Bulldogs basketball program the past four years, serving under Oscar Mariscal and John Batty.
When Batty resigned at the end of last season, Cortez applied for the head coaching position and was hired by the DUSD board over the summer.
Serving as his assistant coaches this year will be Alexio Esquer and Estefan Mora.
“When the opportunity presented itself to put in for this position, I felt it was something I had to do,” he said. “I was able to learn a lot from Coach Mariscal and Coach Batty. Now I’m taking what they’ve taught and prepared and try to build on to that foundation.”
Cortez also credits Cochise College coach Jerry Carrillo for helping prep him to be a head coach.
“There are so many coaches that I look up to that I am implementing things that I have learned from them into what we are doing today,” he said. “I always saw myself coaching somewhere, I just didn’t think it was going to be this soon. It’s exciting to now lead where I was once a part of playing.”
Being a former player not too long ago, Cortez says he can relate to what his players are going through in practice and games.
Going into the scrimmage, Cortez says he wants to use this as a preparation tool for when the season opens the following week.
“We hope to transfer all the things that we’ve been practicing and put it out on the court and see what happens,” he said.
Cortez has selected his players for the upcoming season. Leading the Bulldogs this year will be Francisco Lugo, Samuel Ramos and Jorge Lujan. Cortez was also able to get senior Christian Estrella to come back out for the team.
“A lot of these players put in some quality time in the gym over the summer trying to get themselves ready for the upcoming season,” he said. “I’m anxious to get the season underway.”
The Bulldogs kick off the 2019-2020 season Monday, Nov. 25 at Tanque Verde before playing at home for the first time this season the following night, Tuesday, Nov. 26, when the Douglas Bulldogs host the Safford Bulldogs in a 7 p.m. game.
Nov. 29-30 the Bulldogs will be in Sierra Vista playing in the SSCEC Classic, playing four games in two days against schools from Phoenix, the Tucson area, and Buena.