BY PETE MOHR | SEPTEMBER 5, 2012
Meet the Football Falcon seniors …
This Friday evening, 7 p.m. kickoff, up in the cooler venue of Prescott Valley, something has to give. Yep, the 0-2 Falcons will travel to Bradshaw Mountain to face the homestanding “Bears,” also 0-2. No, the “winner” won’t “take all”; but one team is guaranteed to notch its first victory in this 2012 season. Who’s the hungriest – ‘Birds or Bears?
What’s wrong with the Falcons? One word: inconsistency, caused by a combination of playing back-to-back Division 1 opponents and late-August heat sapping the energy/stamina of players having to go both ways. Consider please: at halftimes of the Boulder Creek and Pinnacle games, the Falcons went to their locker room trailing by a total scant four points, 28-32. But in the 3rd and 4th quarters, they got whacked by a combined 61-6! Playing a winless D2 team (Bradshaw), feeling less pressure on the road, and a significantly cooler Yavapai County should help.
One Falcon who’s primed and ready for a breakout game is starting tailback and safety “R.J.” Anderson, oldest child of Creekers Rick and Rhonda Anderson. Dad Rick gave son Rick Joseph Anderson the handle of “R.J.”, a nickname that suits him just fine, thank you. Older half-brother, Paul Walsh, 20 (CSHS ’10), a Falcon favorite alumnus, is in the second year of his LDS mission to Rome, Italy. R.J. is “pumped” about turning 18, come November 21. He is a native Arizonian, born in Phoenix. Younger sisters Taylor, 15, and Nicole, 13, are junior and freshman Falcons, respectively. A “flag” youth footballer since age 7, R.J. was coached by his father “all the way to Cactus Shadows.”
In my book, the 5’9”, 175 lbs., speedy R.J. is, hands down, the Falcons’ MVP (“most versatile player”). He does it all: running back, “Badger” (run plays) safety, kickoff and punt return man, good hands “swing” receiver and an able #2 quarterback. If you asked him, R.J. would sell tickets and grill FAC hot dogs at home games. From Rick and Paul, R.J. has learned the meaning and value of “team” more than well.
To be a Football Falcon, what does R.J. see in that responsibility? “Supporting my teammates and putting in the hard work to get there.” He fits to a “T” the description of a “workhorse” – not a “showhorse.” Rick, Rhonda and Paul taught him that, too.
By no means has R.J. given up on the Falcons “running the table” in their eight remaining games – or his personal goals of scoring 25 touchdowns, rushing for 1,000 yards and making at least five INTs. “It’s gonna be tough,” he acknowledges, “but possible.”
This scrappy MVP is “excited” about his CSHS graduation next May. He plans to work before going on his LDS mission. When R.J. returns, he’ll “walk on” at a Valley community college. “All of the above” made possible by the support and encouragement Rick and Rhonda have always given him. R.J. is an outspokenly-grateful son.
“On the road again! Ain’t it great to be on the road again?!” Starting Friday night, R.J. and his Falcon teammates will be hoping that the iconic Willie Nelson sang that right – before they were even born!
Bust the ‘Birds out, R.J.!
~ Pete Mohr