Monthly Archives: October 2004

high schools

Skyhawks nearly pull off upset

by Jason Stone

Deer Valley has been looking for a signature win in the three-year tenure of coach Sven Christianson.
For most of 47 minutes last Friday night against Maryvale, it appeared the Skyhawks were about to finally get it.
Maryvale scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to ruin the Skyhawks’ upset bid 14-7.
In a defensive slugfest, Deer Valley held a 7-0 lead until four minutes left in the game when Maryvale scored a potential game-tying touchdown. Instead of kicking the extra point, Maryvale went for 2.
Deer Valley stopped the play, giving the Skyhawks the chance to run out the clock to win the game.
But Deer Valley’s offense couldn’t move the ball and had to give it back to Maryvale.
Maryvale, which came into the game ranked in the 5A power points poll and is expected to challenge Mountain Ridge for the Northwest Region crown, drove the ball down and scored on a 5-yard run and converted a 2-point conversion.
“It really is a tough loss for our kids,” Christianson said. “For us to go out and win 47 minutes of football and to lose it in the last minute is discouraging.”

IRONWOOD: Eagles keep pace with Peoria in region

Ironwood kept pace with Peoria in the Desert West Region last week as the Eagles whipped up on Westview 37-20.
The win moved the Eagles up to No. 20 in this week’s 5A power points poll, which is four spots out of a playoff spot.
But Ironwood stayed perfect in the region by beating Westview and seems destined to play Peoria in a region title game on the regular season’s last night.

MOUNTAIN RIDGE: Lions win second in row

Mountain Ridge gained more momentum last week with a 35-20 win over Trevor Browne, the team’s second in a row. The Mountain Lions are now 3-4, but undefeated in the Northwest Region.

APOLLO: Prince leads Hawks to win over Falcons

In need of ways to turn around its season, Apollo chose a Prince last Friday. Prince Amukamara made his biggest impact for the Hawks in the team’s 40-28 win over winless Cactus Shadows.
Amukamara returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown, rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, caught a 15-yard TD pass, and ran in a 2-point conversion as the Hawks improved to 3-4 before this week’s big game against Independence.
Apollo’s running game, bolstered by Amukamara’s big night and Chris Nielson’s team-high 142 yards, churned out 337 yards against an overwhelmed Cactus Shadows (0-7) team.
The Hawks did not make it easy, however. They trailed 7-0 in the first half and led only 26-21 at halftime, when both teams began lighting it up before the break. Cactus Shadows scored a touchdown to cut the score to 32-28 in the third quarter, but Ralph Cruz ran it in from 4 yards out and Nielsen added a 2-point conversion run to provide the final margin.

CACTUS: Cobras roll to another shutout 34-0

The Cobras were a balanced machine in a 34-0 win over Shadow Mountain last week. The team passed for 211 yards and rushed for 207 to offset a night in which the team committed 11 penalties. Still, like it did two weeks ago against Apollo, the Cobras’ defense gave up nothing all night. Shadow Mountain has scored only 69 points all season.

Published at glendalestar.com • Oct. 21, 2004

high schools

Football playoff race tightening up

by Jason Stone

There are only three weeks to go before the 5A and 4A football postseason begins, meaning local teams have only three more shots to jockey for playoff positioning.
In 5A, Deer Valley missed a great shot at setting itself up for a postseason spot last week when it lost in the final minute to Maryvale.
The Skyhawks now need to win out — including Friday at Trevor Browne — and get help from other teams to make the playoffs.
Mountain Ridge, meanwhile, stayed on course with a big win over Trevor Browne and is still unbeaten in the Northwest Region.
Likewise, Ironwood stayed perfect in the Desert West Region and plays a tough game against Sunrise Mountain this week. The game has major playoff implications.
In 4A, Independence comes off a huge emotional victory to play Apollo, which stayed in the playoff race with a win over Cactus Shadows last week. This year’s battle takes place at Apollo.
Cactus blanked Shadow Mountain to remain unbeaten and plays at Bradshaw Mountain this week.
Glendale High, which fell to 2-6 last week, travels to McClintock.

high schools

Mountain Ridge wraps up volleyball title

by Jason Stone

Mountain Ridge volleyball coach Jon Devanney said his team’s loss in the Westwood tournament last month was the best thing that could have happened to the Mountain Lions.
“When we lost (to Salpointe), I think maybe it was maybe overconfidence,” said Devanney, whose team entered the week 30-1. “If we would have went through that thing and never have lost, it would have been tough to keep working hard.”
Mountain Ridge didn’t stay out of the top spot in the minds of many for long. Since the tournament loss, Mountain Ridge hasn’t tasted defeat again.
The Mountain Lions are the top ranked team in an unofficial power poll conducted by the Mesa School District, and the Mountain Lions wrapped up the regular season championship of the Northwest Region and will host the region tournament next week.
Despite soaking in all of the state’s attention, Devenney said his team is not paying attention.
“We talk about what we want to accomplish, but we don’t really talk about what other people think we’re going to do,” Devenney said. “People saying we’re the best team doesn’t mean we’re the best team.”

DEER VALLEY: Skyhawks get firm grip on 2nd in Northwest

Deer Valley appears to be the second seed in next week’s Northwest Region tournament. The Skyhawks carried an 8-3 region record into their final match against Goldwater last night. Results of the match were unavailable at press time.
Mountain Ridge is hosting the postseason tournament, beginning Oct. 25.

IRONWOOD: Eagles clinch regular season championship

Ironwood clinched the Desert West Region last week with a 25-16, 25-17 win over Peoria and is looking to finish the regular season undefeated in the region.
The Eagles beat the Panthers for the second time in two weeks Oct. 12 to move to 9-0 in the region with a match against Westview remaining tonight.
Ironwood carried a 31-5 overall record into the final week and will host next week’s region tournament. The Eagles have regular season matches against Sunrise Mountain and Westview remaining.

APOLLO: Hawks qualify for postseason region tournament

Apollo beat Notre Dame and Independence last week to clinch a spot in the Desert Sky Region tournament next week. At 5-5, Apollo is at least guaranteed one of the top five spots in the region tournament with two matches remaining.

Published at glendalestar.com • Oct. 21, 2004

colleges

GCC’s defense comes up huge

by Jason Stone

Glendale Community College’s offense has had no trouble moving the ball this season.
Converting long drives into points, however, has been another story.
The Gauchos had more miscues in the red zone last week against Mesa Community College, but the defense saved the day in a 21-13 Western States Football League game.
“It was a lot more exciting game than we’d wish it would have been,” said GCC coach Joe Kersting, whose team evened its record at 3-3. “We got a lot of yards but didn’t score a lot of points.”
GCC did not score on one possession from the 1-yard-line, threw an interception into the end zone on another possession and also missed a field goal.
But when the game was on the line, GCC’s defense stopped Mesa in similar fashion.
Mesa broke off a long run with four minutes left in the game, but Reno Paccioni made a game-saving tackle at the GCC 3.
The Gauchos then held a goal-line stand, stopping Mesa from reaching the end zone in four plays.
GCC tried to push its way out of the end zone, but was forced to punt from it with two minutes left in the game.
But the punt snap was high and a broken play turned into a first-down run for GCC punter Brian Pacheco.
“He made a tremendous catch (of the snap),” Kersting said. “He probably could have gotten the punt off, but he was moving forward and to the left, and he ran with it and got 15 yards.”
Mesa, which had the WSFL’s top running game coming in, gained 170 against GCC’s defense.
“Our defense played really well against Mesa,” Kersting said. “We only gave up 170 yards, which is quite a bit, but not as much as they have been averaging.”
GCC will see another running team this week when New Mexico Military (2-5, 1-4) brings its option offense to Glendale for the school’s homecoming.
The Gauchos played an option team earlier this season in a game against the Air Force Academy JV, a game GCC lost.
“They’re a big-time running team,” Kersting said. “Last time we faced an option team, we played very poorly. We’re hoping for a great deal of improvement.”
Kersting’s teams have never lost to GCC since the coach came to campus in the 1980s.
GCC is still alive to host the Valley of the Sun Bowl, but its chances were hurt when Scottsdale (5-1 overall) upset Pima last week. The Artichokes are in the drivers’ seat to host the game, which goes to the Maricopa County school with the best record.

Published at glendalestar.com • Oct. 21, 2004

high schools

Independence defeats Greenway for first time ever

by Jason Stone

Kelley Moore knew the love existed. The Independence football coach just figured people were afraid to show it.
But emotions flowed on Greenway High School’s field last Friday night after Independence, a team opponents used to schedule for their homecoming, won perhaps the biggest game in the school’s 25-year history.
For the first time in two decades, Independence is in the driver’s seat for a Desert Sky Region championship and one of 16 4A playoff spots.
Only one other time has Independence made the playoffs and won a region title. And according Moore’s records, never have the Patriots beat Greenway.
“The emotion that poured out of the parents let me know how big it meant to them,” said Moore, who has lifted the Patriots from one victory in 2001 — the year before he arrived — to a 6-2 mark entering this week’s big game at Apollo.
“Hang a banner,” said junior Marshawn Ross. “That’s all we’re thinking about is hanging a (region championship) banner.”
For Independence to reach its goal, it will have to get past a dangerous game this week against Apollo. The Hawks have lost the last two against Independence and are hoping the Patriots suffer a letdown after the historic win.
“We can’t let up now,” Moore said. “Every game is a must win. We knew we had to run the table.”
Defensive performances like the one Independence turned in against Greenway could lead to the Pats running the table.
After Greenway grabbed a quick 13-6 lead with two quick second-quarter scores, Independence’s defense played at a championship level.
The Pats forced the Demons to punt on their first four possessions in the second half and stopped a last-minute rally attempt.
Independence, which took the 14-13 lead before halftime with a quick TD pass and 2-point conversion, played ball control for the second half, but gave up the ball with only minutes remaining in the game.
Greenway shot itself in the foot by dropping a potential 20-yard pass. Independence then iced it by intercepting a desperation fourth-and-long attempt with under a minute to go.
Until that moment, the game was up in the air and Patriots’ fans became visibly tense in the stands as Greenway moved the ball, needing only a field goal.
But Independence made the plays that did not go its way in year’s past.
“We don’t have any delusions of grandeur that we’re one of the top 5 or 10 teams in the state,” Moore said. “We just want to make the playoffs and be one of the top 16 at the end of the year.”

Published at glendalestar.com • Oct. 21, 2004