Rolly Escarcega (14) is a standout for Foothills' football and basketball teams and wants to lead the Falcons to their first-ever playoff victory on the gridiron. KELLY PRESNELL / ARIZONA DAILY STAR 2009

The preseason high school football All-Southern Arizona team continues today with No. 17 on our list of 22 players.

Check out a video clip on KVOA (Channel 4) tonight at 6 and 10.

The team was chosen by the Arizona Daily Star and the staff at KVOA and will be revealed daily through Sunday.

Rolly Escarcega • LB/TE • 6-3, 245 • Catalina Foothills, Sr.

• Who he is: Above all, an athlete. For as good as he is at football, Escarcega is among a select few also impressive at basketball. As a bruising center and power forward last season, the 245-pounder helped the Falcons win 11 straight games after winter break and make the state semifinals. (Foothills lost by six to Tempe McClintock, the eventual 4A-I champion.) Escarcega says his hoops dominance is a result of his experience as a linebacker, and although Foothills' football team has not enjoyed the same success, Escarcega has been a bright spot. He anchored a defense that held opponents to 13 points or fewer in six games, but the team finished 4-6 and missed the playoffs.

• Proof he's good: He has been recruited by the likes of Boise State. San Jose State is interested, too, and if he again can shut down runs and short passes, even more interest will come. It would help if the Falcons make the playoffs this season, and Escarcega believes that's possible. Last season was the first for coach Scott Cortese, and now that the team has had a year to adjust to Cortese's coaching style and his 4-4 defense, perhaps the Falcons can break through. Another tough region schedule awaits, including games against last year's state finalists, Canyon del Oro and Sabino, but that might not be a bad thing. In Week 7 last year, Foothills' defense was the first to somewhat shut down CDO's Ka'Deem Carey. The Falcons, behind Escarcega, held him to 40 yards in the first half. Carey finished with 132 and a TD, a performance close to the bottom of his list in terms of yardage.

• He said it: "I just want to become a leader of the team and try to get a winning record and hopefully have Foothills get their first playoff win ever. I want to play at the next level."

Michael J. Craven


• What: Day 17 - Rolly Escarcega

• TV: 6 and 10 p.m., Ch. 4