Three 1st half turnovers, Horizon’s speed
blow out Falcons, 49-15

‘Birds play for pride vs. arch-rival Notre Dame, Oct. 14 at Scottsdale C.C.

CSHS – Mid-October 2006. CSHS and N.D. are knotted, 17-17, neither team having scored in the 2nd half. The Saints punt dead to the Falcon 18. 2:30 left on the clock. Quarterback Philllip Aholt straps on his helmet and exhorts, “C’mon, fellas, State Championship!” Running back Eric Gorraiz is hauled down after rambling for 66 yards, setting up Kyle Royer’s 27-yard field goal with only 32 seconds remaining. Nick Benhart’s sack seals the victory. Falcons, 20-17 winners, are propelled to their 15-0 State Championship season!
RJ Anderson “Determined” was how Head Coach Greg Davis admiringly described “R.J.” Anderson’s performance against visiting Horizon on Thursday night, Oct. 6. Anderson rushed 34 times for 205 yards and one TD, including a 62-yard burst early in the 3rd quarter. With Bryce Kinsler recovering from a sprained thumb on his throwing hand, Anderson will get the QB start against Notre Dame at S.C.C., Friday evening, Oct. 14.
Photo by Pete Mohr

All players from both teams are long graduated. “Coach D.” (Chad DeGrenier) and staff “graduated” this season to Mesa Mountain View. Notre Dame Head Coach Scott Bemis, one of the truly “nice guys” of high school coaching, has been on a cancer-necessitated medical leave of absence since October 12. Then CSHS Athletic Director Monica Barrett now wears the same “hat” for the Saints. But memories of that 2006 classic live on for supporters of both schools. Notre Dame will be seeking its first football win ever over CSHS. And these 2011 Falcons? Hopefully, they can dig deep within themselves to play with the same pride – and fight – that “carried the (night)” five years ago.

To have even a remote chance of making the State Playoffs, the Falcs must “win out” against the “Bernies” (Saint Bernards), Paradise Valley (“Senior Night,” October 21, at home) and Shadow Mountain (on the road, October 28). Can they do it? If he could, junior running back/quarterback “R.J.” Anderson would do it all. He tried his superhuman best against Horizon; but with starting QB Bryce Kinsler badly off-target because of a first-throw injury (characteristically undisclosed), the ‘Birds were never really in the game. The Huskies converted three picks of Kinsler into touchdowns, two on runbacks of 80 and 102 yards, and had raced (literally) to an insurmountable 35-7 halftime lead. They went up, 49-7, before Anderson cut back over left tackle for six at 6:18 of the final period. Bryan Linn bulled for the two-point conversion to get the HomeBirds to 15 points: ‘way too little, ‘way too late.
Kinsler had clicked with Matt Hartlen on a perfectly-run 14-yard post pattern for the other CSHS touchdown at 6:47 of the 2nd quarter. Connor Folts’ successful P.A.T. closed the Falcons to 7-21; but they couldn’t stand prosperity, giving up a 60-yard runback of the ensuing kickoff that led to the Huskies’ fourth TD on the next snap. Head Coach Greg Davis, understatedly, to Sonoran News, in a Tuesday morning telephone interview: “Negative key plays were the death of us.”

So how can the Falcs win Friday night? “Coach Greg,” succinctly, “Control the clock and commit zero turnovers.” With Kinsler’s thumb still healing, Anderson will get the quarterback start.

If you go … S.C.C. is immediately east of Loop 101 South at the Chaparral exit. Stadium parking is at the rear of the main campus. The 3-4 Saints, who bravely – but unsuccessfully – took on powerful Marcos de Niza (6-56), Hamilton (7-47) and Chaparral (7-59), are led by the coaching tandem of Coach Bemis’s longtime assistants, Bruce Hermie (offense) and Gary Gregory (defense). ND players to watch: #18 Jordan Gehrke, QB, SR; #22 Jordan Schluter, return specialist, SO; #33 Luke Taffuri, LB, SR; #42 Nic Orlando, LB, SR; #44 Nick Cole, RB, SR; #60 Jack York, C, SR.

Falcons will rebound to play better; but with Kinsler’s status uncertain, the “O”, in spite of Anderson’s all-out efforts, will be too one-dimensional. Saints, having too many incentives and playing in their “adopted” house, will “win this one for”… Coach Scott Bemis. Coach, every good wish to you for a speedy and complete recovery.

With great memories from 2006, “Dino” reluctantly predicts: Saints, 35 - Falcons, 24.