Monthly Archives: September 2004

high schools

Ironwood wins thriller over Deer Valley

by Jason Stone

Ironwood coach Larry Allen called it one of the most thrilling games he’s been a part of.
Fortunately for Eagles fans, the result was a victory as well.
Ironwood and Deer Valley, two city foes that used to be region opponents, staged an exciting non-region game last week with Ironwood eking out a 27-24 overtime win in a game that featured big plays throughout.
Skyler Hagg rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns — including tying a state record with a 99-yard gallop in the first quarter, and scored on two other plays for Ironwood, which improved its record to 2-2.
Deer Valley fell to 1-3 after opening the season with a win.
“It was an exciting game, there were big plays, there was a big crowd and it was everything you’d want in a high school football game,” Allen said.
Deer Valley tied the game in the fourth quarter when Jason Their returned a blocked field goal 57 yards.
With the game in overtime, the Skyhawks made a 28-yard field goal to go up by 3 and force Ironwood to score on its possession.
The Eagles did that right away as Luka Bakemeier hit Alex Sagadin on a 10-yard pass on the first play.
“I give Deer Valley credit,” Allen said. “They played hard. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Hagg was the star of the game in regulation for Ironwood. The junior broke off a 99-yard run in the first quarter when the Eagles were pinned just inches away from the goalline. He took the ball two yards deep in the other end zone and ran coast to coast.
“I’ve never seen a run that long before in my life,” Allen said. “It was 99 yards and three-fourths of a yard.”
Ironwood’s 14-0 first quarter lead evaporated on two Austin Gaysue touchdown runs that left the game tied at 14 at halftime.
Hagg then worked some more magic in the third quarter with an 87-yard run that put Ironwood back up by 7.
The Eagles tried to go up by 10 with the fourth-quarter field-goal attempt that was blocked.

Published at • Sept. 30, 2004


GCC falls down at Pima CC 28-7

by Jason Stone

Before the season, Glendale Community College football coach Joe Kersting said the Gauchos’ defense was going to have to carry the offense in the early part of the year.
Kersting wasn’t kidding.
GCC scored only seven points Saturday in a 28-7 loss at Pima Community College.
The loss was GCC’s second in a row and first Western States Football League defeat.
It also assured no national championship this season, but because Pima is not a Maricopa County school, the Gauchos are still eligible to host the postseason Valley of the Sun Bowl, which goes to the best team in the Valley.
GCC will try to complete the first step of making the postseason when Scottsdale Community College travels to Glendale for a 7 p.m. game Saturday.
Scottsdale (2-1 overall, 1-1 WSFL) is coming off a 27-10 loss against No. 1-ranked Dixie State College.
Dixie, Pima and Arizona Western are the conference’s only 2-0 teams after two weeks of league games.

Published at • Sept. 30. 2004

high schools

Cactus, Apollo set to battle

by Jason Stone

It was a game Apollo fans hope to forget. It is a repeat Cactus fans do not expect.
Cactus scored 36 points in the first quarter last year en route to a 60-6 thrashing of Apollo in Week 5.
The Cobras were on their way to a state-runner-up finish in 4A, while Apollo was left home for the playoffs with a 3-7 final record.
In the rematch this year, both teams are expecting a closer game.
“I don’t think we’ll blow anybody out the rest of this season,” Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier said. “I think every game (including Friday’s) will be a seven-point-or-less game either way.”
Apollo is a half-yard away from being 3-1 after missing on a 2-point conversion two weeks ago, while Cactus is 4-0 despite winning two games in the final minute on field goals.
Other games featuring local teams include Mountain Ridge’s anticipated game against third-ranked Paradise Valley. Mountain Ridge won its first game last week.
Ironwood, fresh off a thrilling 27-24 overtime win over city-foe Deer Valley, hosts Desert Vista, while Deer Valley makes the long trek to Kingman.
Independence is home to Bradshaw Mountain and Glendale hosts Sunnyslope in the Cardinals’ second region game of the season.

Published at • Sept. 30, 2004


Freshman helps lead way for Gauchos

by Jason Stone

Rob Coombs knew he had a leader when he recruited Katie Valencia to his Glendale Community College women’s soccer team.
Coombs had so much faith in the freshman from Flagstaff, in fact, that he named her one of three captains for this year’s team — and the only freshman of the three.
But his judgment at giving Valencia a big leadership role on the team was justified the most, he said, after the team’s worst loss of the season.
Pima Community College pummeled GCC 8-1 last week in a game that Coombs called “brutal.”
But the game ate away at Valencia’s psyche and the 18-year-old did not want to let the feeling go away.
“She called me up after the game to talk about the team and where the program is going,” said Coombs, who is in his second year as GCC’s coach. “Nobody else called me to talk about the game, but she really cares about where the team is headed.”
Valencia has been a player that Coombs said, “pretty much embodies what I like in a soccer player.”
“She’s hard-working and she puts the team ahead of herself.”
Valencia’s selfless play has actually resulted in some personal achievements.
The center midfielder has scored six goals, placing her fourth among Arizona Community College Athletic Conference freshmen.
Not bad for a player who never had a home field in high school and practiced more in a gym than on a soccer field.
“It’s weird, because everybody here talks about ‘protecting the home field,’ when we have a home game,” Valencia said. “In Flagstaff, I never had a home game.”
Flagstaff High usually practiced and played their home games in Camp Verde — an hour’s drive from Flagstaff. Practices were usually moved into the gym because of snowy spring weather in Northern Arizona.
That did not stop Flagstaff from becoming one of the top teams in the state, however. Valencia said the team worked on extra conditioning when it could not get on a field and that paid off when playing at lower elevations.
In fact, it was in a state playoff game against Cactus last year that Coombs made the big sell to Valencia.
Coombs, who also is the girls coach for the Cobras, approached Valencia’s family before Cactus’ 3-2 overtime win and persuaded the family to take a trip south.
“I didn’t even really think about playing college soccer,” said Valencia, who played club soccer from age 4. “But then I decided to give him a call over the summer and GCC has a pretty good nursing program, which I wanted to do.”
And now she’s thinking about moving to a university after her two years are up at Glendale.
Valencia has kept a Mia Hamm poster in her apartment, giving her inspiration to continue her soccer career, perhaps at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
“I loved living up there,” she said. “It’s all in your perspective.”
From GCC’s perspective, recruiting Valencia was a big move forward.

Published at • Sept. 30, 2004

Coyotes’ season on hold

by Jason Stone

Shane Doan’s game-winning goal for Team Canada in the World Cup of hockey last week might be the only meaningful tally a Phoenix Coyotes player scores all season.

As expected, NHL owners officially locked out players after the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired Sept. 15.

Coyotes president Douglas Moss made this official statement about the lockout:

“The NHL Board of Governors and commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the opening of training camps will be delayed and the start of the 2004-05 regular season is in jeopardy until a resolution is reached in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association.

“The league has our full support as we take this difficult, but necessary, step toward creating a new economic system that will help our club in the future.

“The Phoenix Coyotes organization apologizes for the inconvenience this necessary action will cause its loyal fans, employees and business partners. We hope our team will be back in action soon.”

Glendale Arena was to host a series of preseason games before the regular season kicked off in two weeks.

The Coyotes, who also manage other events at Glendale Arena, are now scrambling to fill the dates in the arena with other events while hockey is put on hold.

Among the notable events already scheduled are concerts featuring Steven Curtis Chapman Oct. 22, Avril Lavigne Nov. 17 and the just-announced date with Yanni Nov. 7.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially cancelled all their preseason games and their home opener for the regular season schedule.

The Coyotes still have the Oct. 1 home opener against Los Angeles listed on the Glendale Arena schedule.

Coyotes make roster moves despite stoppage

Despite the league’s lockout, the Coyotes were active in roster moves last week.

The team signed free-agent left wing Landon Bathe to a two-year contract and free-agent center Olivier Latendresse to a three-year deal.

The team also assigned goaltender Jean-Marc Pelletier to the Utah Grizzlies of the American Hockey League. Utah is the Coyotes’ new top minor league affiliate.

Pelletier played in four games with the Coyotes last season, and spent most of the season at Springfield in the AHL.

Published at • Sept. 22, 2004