Monthly Archives: October 2012

Millennium dominates Willow Canyon

The playoffs started a week early for Goodyear Millennium and Surprise Willow Canyon.

The winner of Friday night’s Division II game knew it would likely be heading to next week’s playoffs. But Willow Canyon’s home crowd only saw one team ready for the playoffs, and it wasn’t theirs.

Millennium avenged last year’s season-ending loss to Willow Canyon — which kept it out of the playoffs — with a convincing 27-7 win that wasn’t even that close.

“I’m so proud of the team,” Millennium coach George Martinez said. “We told the team that this was their first playoff game. Last year they beat us, but I knew we had to get payback somehow.”

Millennium (7-3) thought it may have wrapped up a playoff spot last week in another game in Surprise. But a late 21-7 lead at Valley Vista turned into a heartbreaking loss. However, there was no doubt about Millennium’s return trip to Surprise.

633436With a dominating defense and a ball-control offense, Millennium jumped out to a 19-0 first-half lead and didn’t allow Willow Canyon’s offense to get untracked all night.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Willow Canyon (5-5) still had minus-7 total yards and only two first downs. It wasn’t until trickery on fourth down — a double pass — that got Willow Canyon out of negative territory.

Martinez credited the game plan of defensive coordinator Jason Randels.

“The kids love playing for this guy,” Martinez said.

Millennium was able to hold talented running back Antony Thompson in check all night. The senior came into the game with 1,322 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns, but was able to amass only 64 yards rushing in this game — 50 of which came after Millennium was already up by 27 points.

Willow Canyon quarterback Tristan Madden was sacked seven times in the game, including three by junior linebacker Dwayne Gaither.


Published at azcentral.com • Oct 26, 2012

Defense comes up big in Cactus win

 

Glendale Cactus has been riding its defense all season long. That didn’t change Friday night in a big Division III win at high-scoring Peoria Sunrise Mountain.

Sunrise Mountain was able to move the ball all night, but when it mattered most, Cactus’ defense came up big in a 49-28 win.

Cactus (7-2) held Sunrise Mountain to nearly half its season average and never gave up a lead it took just before halftime.

“To hold them to 28 points is a hell of a job,” Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier said. “They’ve scored a lot of points against everybody.”

Cactus was able to score more in this one as it capitalized on some key Sunrise Mountain mistakes.

One play after Sunrise Mountain fumbled on its first snap of the second half, Cactus’ Jaylon James took a run in 22 yards for a touchdown to give Cactus a 27-14 lead.

Sunrise Mountain answered with a 13-play scoring drive to stay within a touchdown. But Cactus kept some distance as David Neel returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown and a 35-21 lead after a 2-point conversion.

Sunrise Mountain was able to mount another long drive to get back within a touchdown at 35-28, but Cactus’ defense gave up no more.

First, Cactus forced a fumble and turned it into James’ third rushing touchdown. Then on Sunrise Mountain’s next possession, two drive-killing sacks gave the ball back to Cactus.

Cactus ultimately had to punt, but Sunrise Mountain muffed it, setting up Cactus deep in Sunrise Mountain territory.

James’ fourth touchdown two plays later iced the victory and made the game look like more of a blowout than it was.

Sunrise Mountain (7-2) outgained Cactus by about 200 yards, but that was no comfort to Sunrise Mountain coach James Carter.

“We can’t have turnovers against a good team,” Carter said. “And we had too many missed tackles.”

Cactus’ defense stepped up big at the end despite playing most of the game without talented defensive back Anthony Alcala.

Alcala was ejected in the first half for throwing a punch at a Sunrise Mountain player in a tackle pile. He will have to sit out next week’s big game against Peoria Liberty.

McEnroe still entertains in loss to Courier

John McEnroe admits he is part entertainer when he plays in front of crowds these days.

So after each match he played Saturday in the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championship at Surprise Racquet Center, the tennis elder statesman took off his blue Nike shirt and tossed it into the crowd.

One adventurous fan decided to ask for more and yelled for McEnroe to throw his underwear into the stands.

McEnroe shot back: “We’re playing in Surprise. We’ll all be in for a real surprise later.”

The 53-year-old McEnroe was certainly the drawing card to a two-day tournament that featured six Grand Slam champions in the field. Former world No.1 Jim Courier defeated McEnroe 8-7 in a one-set tie-breaker in Saturday night’s final match to kick off the 12-city Powershare Series tour.

Other players included former Grand Slam winners Martina Navratilova, Michael Chang and Tracy Austin as well as Todd Martin.

In the eight-point, pro-set championship match, both players held serve until Courier broke McEnroe to go up 7-5. Courier immediately returned the service break then swept all the points in the next game to force a tiebreaker.

A clearly fatigued McEnroe, who beat Chang 6-2 in a semifinal match immediately before the championship, looked slow in the tiebreaker and didn’t move as he watched Courier place a hard-hit shot to his left to clinch the 7-1 tiebreaker win.

“I had my chances, but at the end when I really needed it I couldn’t find it,” McEnroe said. “I think in the tiebreaker I mentally got defeated.”

Courier, who is 11 years younger than McEnroe, avenged a loss to Pete Sampras in last year’s championship game in Surprise. Courier and McEnroe are long-time rivals and Davis Cup partners, and their familiarities with each other’s game made for a close battle most of the way. It also led to some humorous interplay between the two.

After the left-handed McEnroe held serve at 4-3 with a nice forehand shot that barely stayed inside the line, Courier yelled to McEnroe, “You’re supposed to miss that, man.”

Not to miss a chance to get a laugh from the crowd, McEnroe said back, “Not in my world.”

Courier made it to the championship match after beating Martin, the 2009 winner in Surprise, in a tiebreaker in the first semifinal. Courier and McEnroe also played a mixed-doubles exhibition match with Austin and Navratilova on Friday night.

“We enjoy what we’re doing,” Courier said about the kickoff of the tour that also includes Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl in select cities.

“There is a time and a place to connect with people, but it’s tennis in the end.”


Published at azcentral.com • Oct 14, 2012
Published at USAToday.com • Oct. 15, 2012

Desert Edge defeats Liberty in convincing fashion

Peoria Liberty entered Friday night’s big Division III home game against undefeated Goodyear Desert Edge averaging 57 points a game.

So when Desert Edge shocked everybody in north Peoria with a 26-0 statement win, Desert Edge coach Rich Wellbrock made sure his defensive coordinator Travis Guiney got his due.

“That’s G-U-I-N-E-Y,” Wellbrock carefully spelled out to reporters after the game. “Coach Guiney put together a great game plan and the players executed it to perfection.”

Desert Edge proved it is for real, moving to 8-0 and handing Liberty (7-1) its first loss in shockingly easy fashion.

libertydeLiberty came into the game averaging 440 yards of offense but it barely cracked 200 against Desert Edge. Star quarterback Tyler Rogers was frustrated all night, tossing two interceptions after having only three all season before the game.

More importantly, Desert Edge kept Liberty off the scoreboard for the first time in school history.

Kyle Woolard, one of Desert Edge’s main offensive weapons, played more defense than usual against Liberty and intercepted a pass in the first half that changed the game.

With the game still scoreless with a minute left in the first half, Woolard scored on a 3-yard run then he intercepted Rogers on Liberty’s next offensive play.

That led to Sawyer Lung’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Ismael Murphy-Richardson to turn a scoreless game to 14-0 in just 30 seconds.

With Desert Edge in control in the second half, Wellbrock called on the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Woolard to eat up the clock. Woolard continually helped move the chains and ended with 192 rushing yards to go over the 1,000-yard milestone for the season.

“We haven’t proven anything yet,” Woolard said. “We’re not even close to the playoffs.”

Liberty had two chances to score in the first half but it missed two field goals.


Published at azcentral sports • Oct 12, 2012

Prescott loses Mengarelli, shuts out Goldwater

 

Prescott has been riding its star running back all season long. So when Brady Mengarelli was knocked out of Friday’s Division II game at Phoenix Goldwater with an ankle injury, the team needed its defense to respond.

It did just that in a dominating 21-0 shutout of Phoenix Goldwater.

“The defense was unbelievable, and they really bailed us out tonight,” said Prescott coach Cody Collett, whose team improved to 5-2.

In a game filled with penalties and poor offensive execution both ways, Prescott was able to scrap out the win by stuffing Barry Goldwater’s offense all night long.

Brady MengarelliPrescott’s defensive dominance included: Allowing only 74 total yards, including 10 rushing; three interceptions and four forced fumbles, one of which it recovered for a touchdown; and stopping Goldwater’s running game for losses on 15 of its 24 attempts.

That was just what Prescott needed on a night when Mengarelli, the state’s leading rusher, exited the game in the first half with an ankle injury.

When Mengarelli left the game, Prescott was already up 14-0 but was still able to pull away in the second half.

First, Jared Tiefenthaler recovered a fumble in the end zone to give Prescott a 21-0 lead in the third quarter. Then Prescott’s defense picked off a pass in the end zone early in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout.

Even without Mengarelli and his 1,500-plus yards this season, Prescott was able to control the ball to run off the final seven minutes of the game.

“When he went out we knew we had to have ball control and eat up the clock,” Collett said.

Mengarelli had 63 rushing yards before leaving the game, but could have had more had a 73-yard touchdown run not been called back by offsetting penalties late in the first quarter.

He said after the game he didn’t play in the second half for precautionary reasons, and he should be ready to play next week against Cottonwood Mingus.

Goldwater (1-6) saw ominous signs early. It fumbled its first two snaps and was lucky to recover both. But it set the tone for the game as its longest drive of the night lasted just 2:36.


Published at azcentral.com • Fri Oct 5, 2012