It could be and should be if it already isn't — billed the De La Torre Bowl Friday night when Dobson and Poston Butte lock up against one another on the football field at Dobson. Two honorable family men from different generations. A game Dobson football coach George De La Torre has anticipated playing since he and Poston Butte coach (and son) Mike De La Torre agreed to it back in the spring.
“We got to talking and when we were putting together schedules we decided we ought to play each other,” George De La Torre said. “From the eye of the spectator they may look at it as an adversarial type thing. Some animosity attached. That's not how we look at it. We'll be competitive during the game, but it's father and son all the time.”
Football has been a part of their lives from the get-go. George De La Torre has been a coach for more than 30 years, either as an assistant or more recently a head coach now for almost a decade at three different schools. Mike played football growing up, was a standout offensive lineman in the mid-1990s at Red Mountain while his father assisted Jim Jones there.
Mike moved on to play in college at Arizona Western and Western New Mexcio. Once finished as a collegian, MIkefollowed in his father's footsteps and hooked on as a coach at Chandler High with Richard Gray and Jim Ewan. Mike served as defensive coordinator for Ewan before leaving there to assist his father one year at Florence High.
That year at Florence was final grooming for Mike. He was named Poston Butte's head coach the next season. Poston Butte is the sister school to Florence in the Florence district.
“I'm very proud of him,” George De La Torre said. “I like the way he does things. In some ways he's helped groom me as a coach. His teams are very fundamentally sound. He's a very good teacher and coach. He's very patient. I coached offensive line and he played offensive line. We take pride in that area.”
For Mike De La Torre, the reality of father vs son didn't take hold until they swapped film over the weekend, even though he's been comfortable with the matchup it since it became official months ago.
“I've always been on his side either as a player or coach,” Mike De La Torre said. “This is a different role. But having played for him and coached for him, I think we are alike in a lot of ways. He's very consistent. Takes a blue collar approach. When he was coaching me at Red Mountain I felt pressure (self-imposed) to be perfect. I didn't want others to think I was playing because he was my dad. I've learned a lot from him.”
This is Mike De La Torre's fifth year as head coach at Poston Butte. A system of doing things has been established and its working. Dobson, a school that has been open more than 30 years, is in its second year under George De La Torre. Dobson is close to where Poston Butte was say three years ago as the program undergoes a new foundation that hopefully will bring more success in the win-loss column.
The De La Torre Bowl Friday may be the one-and-only between father and son as head coaches. Mike De La Torre is testing the administrative waters this season at Poston Butte along with coaching. It''s a tall order. There is a chance he could move on toadministration full time next year. Dobson and Poston Butte will play again next year, but it won't be the De La Torre Bowl with only one De La Torre in the mix.
As for the spoils of victory in this one, George De La Torre is on record saying the losing coach will have to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the rest of the family. According to Mike Mike De La Torre, the grand kids are angling for something more.
“Our three kids are rooting for me, I think,” Mike De La Torre said. “But they want to know what the bet is. I think they are will try to work on their grandfather the next couple days so they know something is put down on it We'll see.”