Monthly Archives: November 2004

colleges

Gauchos not going to bowl game

by Jason Stone

Glendale Community College’s football team will not be going to an out-of-state bowl game, and its season is now over.
The 6-4 Gauchos were considered for the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl in Salt Lake City, but the game chose in-state team Snow College and Rochester (Minn.) to play in the contest.
But it was not all a bad week for the Gauchos. Eight players were selected to the NJCAA All-Region 1 team — seven on the first team.
GCC also garnered eight picks on the All-Western States Football League team.
The Region 1 first-team included running back Johnny Lopez, wide receiver Eric McCain, offensive lineman Brett Leeds, defensive lineman Ronnie Tate, linebacker Torrey Huckaby, defensive back Reno Paccioni and punter Brian Pacheco.
Defensive lineman Jason Horn was a second-team selection.
On the WSFL team, Paccioni and Pacheco were first-team selections, while Lopez, McCain, Leeds, Tate and Huckaby were second-team picks.

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 29, 2004

high schools

Mtn. Lions upset Mtn. View in 5A; Cactus in 4A semis

by Jason Stone

It is rematch weekend for two Glendale teams still alive in the football playoffs.
Mountain Ridge stayed alive in the 5A playoffs by upsetting storied Mesa Mountain View in the quarterfinals last week.
The Mountain Lions blocked three field goals to pull out a 29-26 win to set up a rematch with Brophy in Friday’s semifinal game.
Brophy handed Mountain Ridge a 27-21 loss in the first game of the year, sparking a 1-4 start for Mountain Ridge.
The Lions rallied to win the Northwest Region championship, squeaked into the playoffs, then became the first No. 16-seeded team to win at the playoffs.
In 4A, meanwhile, Cactus faces another game against Saguaro in the semifinals Friday. The two teams faced off in Week 1 as well with Cactus rolling to a 33-10 victory. It turned out to be Saguaro’s only defeat of the season.
Mountain Ridge will play Brophy at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, while Apollo High School will host the Cactus-Saguaro game.

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 29, 2004

high schools

Mtn. Ridge game away from playing for state title

by Jason Stone

After Mountain Ridge’s dramatic 29-26 win at Mesa Mountain View last week, Mountain Lions coach Steve Belles said he was in “hog heaven.”
Who could blame him after his team blocked three field goals to beat the most storied program in Arizona history — and at their place no less?
“We left it all on the field,” Belles said. “We’ll have to try to find some for next week.”
When Mountain Ridge started the season 1-4, the season nearly appeared lost. But since the Lions have played with nothing to lose, they haven’t lost.
Their season will continue Friday when they face Brophy at Horizon High School. The game is a rematch of the opening game of the season when Brophy provided the year’s first eye-opening result with a 27-21 win over Mountain Ridge.
“It gives us a whole lot of motivation,” said running back Nick Bell about the rematch with the Broncos. “We just have to keep it going.”
Mountain Ridge, despite being the No. 16 seed going in, is playing like it belongs with the four remaining teams.
It knocked off No. 1 Paradise Valley in the first round after losing to the Trojans in the regular season and will try to gain more revenge against Brophy.
“We’ve been pretty much playing teams for redemption,” quarterback Austin Martin said. “But we’ve been fighting for the playoffs ever since (the 1-4 start).”
Brophy (11-1) lost only to Paradise Valley this season.
The key for Mountain Ridge might be the play of Bell, who was held to 51 yards.
But that came before backfield mate Tim Ham missed most of the rest of the season with an injury at midseason.
In Ham’s absence, Bell has elevated his game to superstar status. Against Mountain View, he scored three touchdowns, rushed for 266 yards and carried the load of the offense with 31 touches of the ball.
Bell’s third score — a 1-yard touchdown plunge — gave the Mountain Lions a 29-18 lead in the third quarter.
Mountain View, which last won the state title in 2002, made it close on a touchdown and 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
Then, with about four minutes to go in the game, the Toros lined up for a 33-yard field goal that would have tied the game.
But Brady Rohlwing, tipped the ball enough to make the kick short.
It was the Mountain Lions’ third blocked kick of the game after Martin, who also plays defense and special teams, blocked two earlier in the game.
“We decided to play special teams today,” Belles said. “It was awfully quiet (in the stadium) at the end of the game.”
Mountain Ridge made the Final Four for the second time in three years. The Mountain Lions lost in the 2002 game to Ironwood after winning its first 12 games prior to that.
The Lions then went undefeated in the regular season last year before being upset in the first round by Red Mountain.
This year’s team took the opposite route with its poor start. The team needed to win the Northwest Region to grab an automatic spot in the playoffs, then became the first No. 16 seed to win a playoff game. Now, they’ve won two.
“Any way this season turns out,” Belles said, “it’s been a rewarding season.”

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 29, 2004

high schools

Deer Valley basketball battles high expectations

by Jason Stone

Deer Valley’s boys basketball team is already hearing from the doubters.
They’re too talented for their own good, some are saying.
They don’t have enough basketballs to spread around to keep everybody happy, others are predicting.
And some say, like the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA, more than one superstar on a team will eventually lead to dissension.
Welcome to the wonderful “problem” Skyhawks coach John Fellens has to deal with. With five potential college Division I players in the starting lineup — including a pair of seniors who have already committed to Stanford and Indiana — Deer Valley is not only expected to win its first state championship in basketball, it’s expected to dominate.
That is, if the team isn’t torn apart by selfishness, detractors say.
“We know that everybody thinks we’re over-hyped,” junior guard Christian Polk said. “But we’re all making sacrifices on this team (to win).”
With 6-foot-8 Stanford-bound forward Lawrence Hill and Polk back in the fold, Deer Valley was already the odds-on pick to get past the quarterfinals of the state tournament — the team’s final stopping point in two of the last four seasons — and contend for a state title.
But Chandler High forward Joey Shaw, who played with Deer Valley’s players with the Arizona Magic club team in the off-season, transferred to the Glendale school after …

Published at glendalestar.com 

high schools

Cobras nearing another berth in 4A title game

by Jason Stone

Cactus football coach Larry Fetkenhier has been less than thrilled about the public perception of his team — especially from the media.
But with the Cobras just one game away from a second straight appearance in the 4A state championship game at Sun Devil Stadium, the general public won’t be able to ignore Fetkenhier’s team much longer.
Cactus rallied from a halftime deficit in the quarterfinals against Cienega last week to score 23 unanswered points in the second half to roll to a 29-7 win to advance to the 4A Final Four against Saguaro this week.
Saguaro’s only loss this season came to Cactus in the season’s first game, giving the Cobras the mental advantage going into the rematch.
A win against the Sabercats — the game will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Apollo High — and the Cobras will make the doubters believe.
“Once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen,” said Fetkenhier, who is in his 21st season with the Cobras, and has directed the school to three state championship game appearances. “But you guys in the media said we didn’t belong (in the playoffs).”
The Cobras certainly looked like it belonged in the first two rounds of the playoffs, which included a 13-point win over Millennium in the first round two weeks ago.
The Cobras are the No. 2 seed in the tournament, despite winning three games in the final seconds with field goals and rallying to win after digging a 29-0 deficit in their homecoming game.
“This is Freud’s team,” Fetkenhier said. “We have been up and down and all over the planet. We easily could have been 5-5 (in the regular season).”
Instead, the Cobras have snaked their way into the Final Four on guts.
That was evident in last week’s win over Cienega, a team from Vail making its first playoff appearance.
Cactus only ran 16 plays in the first half and helped Cienega keep drives alive with penalties for roughing the passer and roughing the snapper.
But the one-point deficit was turned around in the third quarter when Richard Morris, the team’s leading rusher, broke off a 43-yard touchdown run to give Cactus a 12-7 lead. The 2-point conversion try failed.
Kicker Ezra Ricks, the hero of the three last-second victories, booted a 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Cobras a 15-7 lead.
Cienega’s coaches then gambled when they decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 25. The play failed and Cactus turned it into points when quarterback Jonathan Tobin tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Flores to extend the lead to 22-7.
Cactus finished the scoring when Sterling Skidmore broke numerous tackles and zig-zagged his way to a 32-yard touchdown run.

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 29, 2004