JUNE 20, 2012
Meet the Football Falcon seniors …
When the Football Falcons open their 2012 season at home, Friday evening, August 24, against the Boulder Creek Jaguars, they’ll be led by five permanent captains, selected by Head Coach Greg Davis and his staff, all beginning their second fall at the CSHS helm. The three principal criteria for captaincy selection are: possession (and maintenance) of at least a 3.0 GPA; displaying leadership by example; and exhibiting a commitment to the Cactus Shadows football program. Coach Davis proudly announced to this writer his first two selectees, receivers Kyle Gladstone, impressively returning from ACL surgery on his left knee, and two-year letterman Matt Hartlen. Congratulations, Kyle and Matt.
Three captains will be selected before the August 24 first game. With Gladstone injured before last season’s second game at Pinnacle, Hartlen stepped up to become an outstanding receiver for the 2011 Falcons. Gladstone and Hartlen will give senior quarterback Bryce Kinsler a tandem receiving threat, already demonstrated in recent Passing League tournament play. If their receiving corps stays healthy, the 2012 ‘Birds will be airborne dangerous.
“He lit it up!” That’s how Coach David described Gladstone’s performance at last weekend’s Passing League Tournament at San Diego State University, where the Falcs were seeded 11th in the 38-team field, comprised mainly of California-based State Playoff squads. Falcons went a solid 5-2-1, losing in the finals of the consolation bracket.
“He lit it up!” as in more than getting the attention of the SDS coaching sponsors. Coach Davis already is evaluating Gladstone as “definitely a Division I prospect.” He would be a welcomed “first” since Kyle Watkins (UNLV) and Sean January (North Texas University). Talent will draw recruiters – even to geographically hard-to-find Cactus Shadows. It only takes one outstanding prospect. Kyle Gladstone looks like he may very well be that one.
Born March 14, 1995, in Phoenix, Kyle has grown into a rangy 6’ 4”, 210 pounder, fast and with good hands. He is the older son of Andy Gladstone and Jane Petersen, both of Cave Creek. Stepmom Debbie Gladstone has long been a valuable volunteer and director of Cave Creek Youth Football. Younger brother Dusty, 13, is a rising 8th grade basketball player at Sonoran Trails.
This writer was virtually certain that Kyle’s favorite Falcon memory was his 30-yard catch-and-touchdown run (from Kinsler) in the 2010 State Playoffs 1st round against the Apollo Hawks, who stunned the Falcons 41-20. I had the play call correct, but wrong game. He most remembers his first varsity reception (also from Kinsler) on a five-yard pattern at McClintock.
In the 2010’s bitter disappointment at Apollo, Kyle looked like the sure-handed successor to John Leonard – possible the only bright spot in that dismal game; but a freakish injury at a pre-Pinnacle practice walk-through sidelined Kyle for the last nine games of the 2011 season. “My knee is 100% recovered,” he gratefully acknowledged to this writer, “and I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy.” He enthuses about the senior leadership of his classmates, stating emphatically, “Making the State Playoffs is definitely our goal.”
His personal football goals? “I would love to make All-State; and, of course, to be successfully recruited at the D-I level is important to me.” At Cactus Shadows, “It’s really only about school and football,” where he sports a stratospheric 3.86 GPA. Kyle praises Coach Davis for “what he’s doing with the football program.” In the classroom, his favorites are Madame Linda Dunbar (French) and Mr. Steve Mitten (History).
All things considered, I would opine that Kyle Gladstone “has his eye on the ball.” Come August 24, Falcon fans, keep your eyes on him!
~ Pete Mohr
Beginning with this issue, and continuing each week until all football seniors and their photographs have appeared, each will be profiled – in the order provided by Head Football Coach Greg Davis. Sonoran News is pleased to recognize these young men and wishes them, Coach Davis and all Falcons a successful season.
~ Don & Shari Jo Sorchych, Co-Publishers