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August 25, 2006

Football Season Starts Tonight

I am a football addict. There is little doubt. Last year, my wife hears back from her brother who heard from her cousin who sat two sections over from me a high school game what a loud idiot I was. But come on, it was the State Semi-Finals and we were tied 20-20 with the number one team in the state. The first play from scrimmage after we tied the game in the fourth quarter, their quarterback reeled off a 75 yard run for six and we lost 27-20.

I work the chains part time at Wickenburg High School's ball games and tonight, I get to hold up the down marker and watch some football from the visitor's sideline at Wrangler Stadium. My son Jake has gotten to see people like Terrell Suggs, Todd Heap, John Beck, and Bobby Wade play high school football here in the Valley during his short life. While we never saw Zach Miller play, we have seen him play plenty at ASU. Tim Rattay played for one of our biggest rivals, Phoenix Christian.

I write way too much about pro and college sports to focus too much time on stuff other than skiing. But today, you get to hear aboutthe start of the season for the 3A's number 2 ranked Wickenburg Wranglers:

1. Coolidge. Carlo Hernandez, maybe the hottest young football coach in Arizona, had offers from other schools in the off-season, but he was committed to this senior class, which features fourth-year varsity starter Jesse Wheeler, one of the state's best passing and running threats at quarterback.

Add in 1,000-yard rusher T.J. White, an experienced defense, led by Josh Thornton, and there is no reason to believe the Bears won't continue their success after winning their final 10 games to cap off a state championship season in '05.

"If anything, we have good team speed," Hernandez said.

2. Wickenburg. The Wranglers pushed Coolidge in last year's semifinal, before losing 27-20, and return RB Scott McKeever, who ran for 1,200 yards, and West Region Defensive Player of the Year Jeff Alder, a senior linebacker.

3. Lakeside Blue Ridge: Once again, the Yellowjackets lack depth, but they have enough skill to contend for another title.

Let's kick the season off and hope that my travel plans for early November to ski have to work around state playoff and hopefully a state championship game. In 2001, Wickenburg made the state semifinals and lost to Show Low and prior to that, my Senior year in 1993 we made the state semis and lost to Morenci.

But Wickenburg has made major upgrades to the coaching staff and is a step away from a title.

Posted by Justin at August 25, 2006 04:20 PM