Monthly Archives: September 2003

high schools

Deer Valley, Ironwood renew rivalry

by Jason Stone

It will be like old times when city foes Deer Valley and Ironwood meet tonight at Ironwood.
The two schools have frequently met over the last decade since Ironwood’s move up to the 5A level in the late 1990s.
But Arizona Interscholastic Association realignment broke up the two former region rivals, sending Ironwood to the new Desert West Region.
That doesn’t mean the two teams don’t mind still playing, even for a new coach such as Ironwood’s Larry Allen.
“I didn’t realize how close the schools were,” said Allen, a former high school coach in Colorado, who moved to Ironwood during the offseason.
The DV-Ironwood game highlights two 5A contests locally. No. 3-ranked Mtn. Ridge hosts Westview in a playoff rematch from last year in the other game.
Here is a look at the two games:

Deer Valley at Ironwood

Time: 7 p.m., Thursday
Place: 6051 W. Sweetwater Ave.
Records: Deer Valley 1-2, Ironwood 1-2
One team will be building momentum after tonight’s game. Both teams are riding high after picking up their first victories of the season a week ago.
Deer Valley won a tight game at Tucson, while Ironwood was victorious at home against Brophy in the annual homecoming game.
“Overall, we improved everything from the last week,” Allen said about Ironwood’s 13-6 victory.
The Eagles could have scored another touchdown, but officials ruled the ball did not break the goalline during a third-quarter drive.
Deer Valley, meanwhile, put together a solid effort that finally saw its ground game going. The Skyhawks had a running back gain over 100 yards to help offset a slow night from quarterback Travis Comer, who only passed for 25 yards.
Allen is happy about the way his offense moved the ball last week. The Eagles compiled a 17-play drive that did not result in a touchdown but set the tone for the game.
“They were pretty good,” Allen said about Brophy. “We stepped it up. We made lots of mistakes, but in the platoon system, we’re going to get better every week.”

Westview at (3) Mtn. Ridge

Time: 7 p.m., Friday
Place: 22800 N. 67th Ave.
Records: Westview 1-2, Mtn. Ridge 3-0
It’s too early to be talking playoffs, but Mountain Ridge is involved in a playoff rematch from last year.
Westview, a team that graduated all but three starters, faces a Mountain Ridge team that feels fortunate to be undefeated after last week’s narrow escape at Chandler.
“They still seem athletic from what I’ve seen (on tape),” Mountain Ridge coach Steve Belles said. “But Paradise Valley just manhandled them (a 31-7 loss). It seems that turnovers killed them.”

Published at glendalestar.com • Sept. 24, 2003

high schools

Mountain Ridge holds on to beat ex-coach

by Jason Stone

Mountain Ridge coach Steve Belles might want to send an extra holiday gift to Nick Walters this December.
Walters gave Belles and the rest of the Mountain Lions an early gift last week.
With Mountain Ridge playing what Belles called “the worst game in the three years I’ve been here,” Walters saved the day with two fourth-quarter interceptions to preserve a 20-17 win over a top 10 team.
Ridge beat then-No. 7 Chandler, a team coached by Jim Ewan, the man Belles replaced at Mountain Ridge.
“We found a way to win, which is good,” Belles said. “We just had too many mental mistakes — missed assignments, blocking assignments.”
Chandler led the game twice before Mountain Ridge’s Cody Rohlwing found Austin Martin on a 10-yard pass late in the second quarter to make the score 17-14.
Chandler tied it with 21 seconds before halftime on a 45-yard field goal.
Mountain Ridge’s Berkley Forbes hit a 41-yard field goal with 5:52 left in the game for the game-winning score.
The victory wasn’t sealed, however, until Walters intercepted a pass in the end zone midway through the quarter, then picked off another pass as Chandler was moving the ball on the game’s final possession.
“He did what (defensive coach Kyle) Hofman taught him to do. Those were two big plays. I have to give credit to Coach Hofman.”
This week, Mountain Ridge (3-0) hosts Westview in a playoff rematch from last year’s quarterfinals. Ridge won the game to set up a rematch with Ironwood in the 5A semifinals.

Published at glendalestar.com • Sept. 24, 2003

high schools

Independence has tough test at Centennial

by Jason Stone

Independence football coach Kelley Moore might be joking about needing hospital beds after his team plays third-ranked Centennial this week.
But his No. 8-ranked Patriots will certainly be up for some hard hitting tonight in Peoria.
 “We have been struggling for about three weeks,” said Moore, whose team is actually 3-1 after pasting Apache Junction last week. “We have yet to have a complete team. We have 10 starters out with something (injuries), not necessarily serious. The other kids jelled because the other kids are gone. It wasn’t easy and doesn’t get any easier for us.”
In other local 4A games, No. 2 Cactus will travel to Buckeye to play an undermanned team (see story, B5), while Glendale hosts San Luis and Apollo hosts Mingus.
Here is a look at those games.

(8) Independence at (3) Centennial

Time: 7 p.m., Thursday
Place: 14388 N. 79th Ave. (Peoria)
Records: Independence 3-1, Centennial 2-1
Centennial proved it can play with the big boys two weeks ago when it played No. 1 Chaparral tough before losing 24-13.
The Coyotes rebounded from that with a 48-35 victory over current No. 5 Washington in a game that was a blowout most of the way.
Centennial has speed that Independence has not seen this year, which concerns Moore.
“Their team speed is far superior to ours,” Moore said. “We’re going to have to drive the ball. They’re big and they’re fast. They run around just like we teach our kids to do.
“The kids are excited,” Moore added. “I love playing Centennial. If we win, we answer it, if not, we go back to work.”
Independence has been living and dying with the big play all season. It will likely need a few of those to beat the Coyotes.
“It’s a good thing and it’s also a weakness because we haven’t had to drive the ball,” Moore said about IHS’ quick strikes. “Last week (against Apache Junction), we had a 14-play drive. One of our goals was to have one of those because we needed to know what it felt like.”

(2) Cactus at Buckeye

Time: 7 p.m., Friday
Place: 902 Eason Ave. (Buckeye)
Records: Cactus 3-0, Buckeye 1-2
The Cobras still look unstopable, especially on defense. Amphitheatre did not score until the third quarter last week, giving Cactus 10 quarters of shutout football to start the season.

San Luis at Glendale

Time: 7 p.m., Friday
Place: 6216 W. Glendale Ave.
Records: San Luis 1-3, Glendale 3-1
Glendale’s late-game magic wore off last week with a late loss to Pinnacle. San Luis is new to the Skyline Region.

Mingus at Apollo

Time: 7 p.m., Friday
Place: 8045 N. 47th Ave.
Records: Mingus 1-3, Apollo 1-2
Mingus and Apollo bring atypical losing records into this week’s game, which could add more frustration to the loser.

Published at glendalestar.com • Sept. 24, 2003

high schools

Mountain Ridge, Cactus remain perfect

by Jason Stone

Mountain Ridge and Cactus kept up their torrid paces after the third full week of the prep football season last week.
Ridge needed a fourth-quarter field goal and a last-minute defensive stand to pull out a 20-17 victory over Chandler, which is coached by Mountain Ridge’s former coach.
Cactus, meanwhile, whipped Amphitheatre 24-13 in the first matchup between the two teams.
Glendale suffered its first loss in 4A, while Deer Valley and Ironwood picked up their first 5A wins.
Apollo lost its second game of the season at Agua Fria.

Published at glendalestar.com • Sept. 24, 2003

high schools

Steroid use adds wrinkle to game

by Jason Stone

If 11 players on the Cactus football team were found to be using steroids, Cobras coach Larry Fetkenhier would not immediately kick the players off the team.
But those Cactus players would have to go through a lengthy probationary period to assure the coaches that the player is serious about returning.
“If I threw you off the team for using drugs, I would be cutting off my ability to help you,” Fetkenhier said. “I’m here to help students.”
Buckeye coach Bobby Barnes decided to sever ties with 11 players in a similar circumstance last week.
Fetkenhier and the Cobras discussed steroid use this week in the wake of the Buckeye ring, which found the students using the drug to enhance performance.
“It’s a wager if you’re using that stuff,” Fetkenhier said. “It’s like not using your seatbelt. You are wagering that nobody is going to hit you.”
Cactus (3-0) will face a shorthanded Buckeye (2-1) team that only had 11 players as substitutes last week.
Fetkenhier said he is hoping the distractions don’t affect his team as well.
“I think we shouldn’t be affected by it,” Fetkenhier said. “Our guys read the papers, they listen to what everybody says. I just hope they don’t take a vacation.”
Not all local coaches are giving their teams a brush-up on drug rules this week.
Mountain Ridge coach Steve Belles said he only mentions steroids when the team begins offseason training each January and has not had to confront a player about possible use.
“We don’t have to discuss it,” Belles said. “They know if they do that, they’re gone (off the team).”
Steroids received national attention last year when Major League Baseball stars were questioned about it. Former slugger Jose Conseco estimated that 80 percent of Major League players use some sort of enhancing substance.
“I’m not even sure it helps a high school athlete,” Fetkenhier said. “But, to me, I know it sounds weird, but the best compliment an athlete can get is somebody telling him, ‘He must be on steroids.’ If the athlete knows he’s truly clean, then he’ll know other people are just making excuses (for the success).”

Published at glendalestar.com • Sept. 24, 2003