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The battle at the bottom of the Division I top-10 rankings

August 28, 2013 – 12:24 pm |

There were two schools of thought when it came to choosing the final three teams in the Division I preseason football rankings:
1) The traditional powers should get the spots based on their overall tradition of …

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Football, Headline »

The battle at the bottom of the Division I top-10 rankings

August 28, 2013 – 12:24 pm |

There were two schools of thought when it came to choosing the final three teams in the Division I preseason football rankings:

1) The traditional powers should get the spots based on their overall tradition of excellence. Brophy, Desert Vista and Red Mountain have been consistent winners over the past several years. The Broncos were the preseason No. 1 a year ago and made the state semifinals. The Thunder beat Hamilton to win the state title in 2011. The Mountain Lions made the quarterfinals last year. All are perennial playoff participants and have three of the better programs in the state. However, each roster was hit hard by graduation. Brophy has the top program of the three, but lost nearly every single player of consequence, while Desert Vista and Red Mountain have plenty of holes to fill as well.

2) The three middle-tier programs with several key pieces back should get the nod. Pinnacle went 8-3 last season — although the record was inflated by an easy schedule — but was hammered in the first round of the state tournament by Avondale Westview. The Pioneers return running back Josh Hoekstra, several key wideouts and welcome standout junior quarterback Brian Lewerke to the fold. Mountain View finished 7-4 last season and was handled easily in the first round by Desert Mountain. The Toros return quarterback John Clark, wide receivers Clark Brown, Chase Funk and Robby Millward and kicker Luis Bustillos, among others. Highland went 6-5 last year and lost to Hamilton in the first round. The Hawks have 14 starters back, including star defensive end Grant Thompson and middle linebacker Tre Tyler.

We ended up going with Pinnacle, Mountain View and Highland for the final three spots. Right now, it’s impossible to tell which teams are going to end up better by the end of the year. Is experience the big key? If so, the latter three teams have the edge. Do the perennially stronger programs have young talent ready to take over? Then the former three teams should be in the rankings soon enough. Maybe it’s a combination of both, with some of these teams finding success and others faltering.

The easiest way to clear things up? Let them play the games. Red Mountain travels to No. 8 Pinnacle on Friday night, while Brophy hosts No. 7 Desert Mountain. If both of those games go definitively one way or the other, we might have our answer.

Mountain Pointe SS Cole Tucker makes Team USA

August 22, 2013 – 12:12 pm |

Mountain Pointe baseball shortstop Cole Tucker was one of 20 players named to the 18U National Team following five days of tryouts this week in California. The trials took place at Cal State Fullerton, Long …

Winding path finally results in starting job for Poston Butte QB

August 21, 2013 – 4:13 pm |

Anthony Whomble was in a tight race for the starting quarterback job at Poston Butte last season, but one day after the team’s preseason scrimmage, a family situation forced him to move to Colorado.
By October …

St. Mary’s chooses girls basketball coach to replace Curtis Ekmark

August 20, 2013 – 1:07 pm |

Former Tempe Prep girls basketball standout Liberty Brittain has been chosen as the new coach at St. Mary’s, athletic director Greg Fahrendorf said in an email.
Brittain replaces Curtis Ekmark, who went 154-21 in his six …

Former Marcos de Niza diver wins U.S. nationals

August 17, 2013 – 6:16 pm |

Sam Dorman won the 3-meter title Saturday in the U.S. national diving championships in Iowa, four days after topping the field in the 1-meter event.
Dorman, a Marcos de Niza graduate, finished with 487.40 points. He …

Gilbert High adds former ASU assistant as offensive line coach

August 15, 2013 – 2:29 pm |

Former Arizona State assistant Bob Connelly will coach the offensive line for the Gilbert High football program this year.
It’s a boon for the Tigers, who have dealt with upheaval the past three seasons and are …

Terri Spann replaces Jim Kann as Basha volleyball coach

August 14, 2013 – 11:50 pm |

In a sudden twist of events, Terri Spann was hired as Basha’s new girls volleyball coach on Wednesday.
Spann was an assistant at Arizona State and Texas Tech.  She also was a standout player at ASU …

Former Basha SS Jamie Westbrook earns minor league promotion

August 14, 2013 – 12:12 pm |

After a hot start in the Arizona League, former Basha shortstop Jamie Westbrook has been promoted to advanced rookie league to play for the Missoula Osprey.
Westbrook, a fifth-round pick of the Diamondbacks in the June …

Opener in doubt for Chandler star wide receiver Dionte Sykes

August 8, 2013 – 11:25 am |

Chandler wide receiver Dionte Sykes suffered a slight fracture when his hand slammed against a helmet at a recent practice and will be out for ‘a couple weeks,’ coach Shaun Aguano said.
The Wolves begin the …

Highland’s Miner Webster named national coach of the year

August 8, 2013 – 11:16 am |

Highland coach Miner Webster was named the Coach of the Year for 2012 by the National Coaches Association for girls basketball.
Webster led Highland to a 32-3 record that put him one victory away from playing …

Local baseball stars participating in Area Codes games

August 5, 2013 – 5:19 pm |

The baseball offseason doesn’t get nearly as much attention as basketball or football’s, but some of the East Valley’s best prospects are currently participating in the Area Codes games in Long Beach, Calif.
The tournament consists …