Manuel Alcantar, who had to work hard just to get enough kids out for football at El Mirage Dysart, feels he is walking into a gold mine at Laveen Cesar Chavez, where numbers aren’t an issue and there are athletes galore.

Alcantar is being recommended to the Phoenix Union High School District governing board as Chavez’s new football coach, Athletic Director Stacie Porras said in an email Friday.

“We’re going into a real good school where a good coach (Jim Rattay) left it in great shape,” Alcantar said.

Alcantar, a Peoria High graduate, built up Dysart’s struggling program in four years. The Demons went 2-8, 4-6, 7-4 and 9-2 in Alcantar’s tenure. In 2015, Dysart reached the state playoffs for the first time in 21 years. He resigned in December, shortly after Rattay stepped down at Chavez, where he led the Champions to a 6-5 record in the biggest conference, 6A, last season.

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When he stepped down after nine seasons at Chavez, Rattay said about the program’s future, “This is going to be the best team in school history,” citing 14 returning starters, including running back/outside linebacker Michael Rogers, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tank who averaged 13 yards a carry as a junior.

“This is a huge jump for us,” Alcantar said. “We’re excited. It’s a big-time school. It was a lot different at Dysart. We won’t have the struggles. We’ll have the numbers. We’ll see what happens.”

Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at