By ARMANDO HARMON
After ending last season 3-8, the Pima Community College Aztecs look to turn things around with returning stars like line- backer Francisco Dicochea III and quarterback Justin Martin.
LeBronze Allen an out-of-state wide receiver from Louisiana is a new addition to the team.
It all starts with defense.
With an average of 2.4 tackles and ending the season with a total of 19 tackles, Francisco Di- cochea III is looking to lead the defense as one of the captains.
“I’m expecting big things from the defense and our team this season,” Dicochea said. “I can’t wait to get out on the field.”
Dicochea, a Tucson native, played football at Cienega High School. At Cienega, he received offensive player of the year playing wide receiver.
After graduating in 2015, Dicochea enrolled at the University of Arizona and made the team. After his first year, things didn’t go his way, so he jumped at the chance to play for Pima.
“Pima gave me a better opportunity to play, so I came here,” Dicochea said.
After Dicochea left the Wildcats, it wasn’t tough for him to stay motivated because he was where he wanted to be.
“Getting to a bowl game and shocking the National Junior College Athletic Association football world is our focus right now,” Dicochea said.
Dicochea is majoring in gen- eral studies, but after college, he plans on becoming a pastor. He has worked in youth ministries in the past.
On the other side, second-year quarterback Justin Martin is back to lead the offense.
Last season, Martin was the starting quarterback for the Aztecs. As a freshman, he ended the season with 1,918 yards, av- eraging 213 per game, and with 17 touchdowns. He also earned All-Second-Team for a quarter- back in college because of last season’s performance.
The California native was raised in Tucson. He spent his time playing football at Cholla High School and decided to transfer to Pueblo High School his junior year.
At his time at Pueblo, Martin managed to win Player of the Week twice and Player of the Year for his section.
Pima offered Martin a full scholarship, and he took the only offer on the table.
“It wasn’t so good because as a quarterback you want to win and that’s what I didn’t do,” said Martin when asked about last season’s stats. “So this year, that’s what I need to focus on.”
Martin is working on complet- ing his general studies. After college, Martin dreams to play in the NFL.
“Last year’s team picture a group of individuals, and this year, picture a group that’s play- ing together. We all have that bond,” said Martin of the team chemistry.
Like many college students, Martin enjoy sleeping or playing video games and beating his teammates in NBA 2K.
“He’s got some competition with two freshmen chomping on his butt,” said Glenn Posey, of- fensive coordinator and quarter- back coach.
A new face on the team is LeBronze Allen. Allen was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, and was recruited to join the Aztecs.
Growing up was rough for Allen, but in the sixth grade his family moved to make conditions started to get better.
At New Iberia Senior High School, Allen only played foot- ball his senior year on the varsity team yet made All-First-Team for his district.
After graduating from high school, Allen moved to Califor- nia to play football. However, after complications, he sent a lm of his highlights to Pima and Garden City Community College in California, but the Aztecs gave him the better offer.
“I’m looking to bring a dog on the outside,” Allen said. “I’m a wideout and looking to be a playmaker.”
For being one of the new kids, Allen befriended Octavion Phelps, another wide receiver.
“It’s a brotherhood,” Allen said. “We could leave our phones out in the locker room and they’re not going to be taken. It’s all good. The coaching staff, I love it.”
Allen is majoring in general studies, and he plans on transfer- ring to a Division I school as well.
“Build the program, so kids can come here because we are going to get them to the next level,” Posey said.