BY PETE MOHR | OCTOBER 3, 2012
Meet the Football Falcon senior …
“One, two, three … State Playoffs!” At this point in the season, standing at 2-4, the Falcons, realistically, should add a question mark after the exclamation point of their above practice exhortation. The ‘Birds are 2-2 in their division (2), with four games remaining, all division opponents. The 2011 results and 2012 record to date: This Friday at Horizon (15-49, 5-1); Oct.11, Homecoming and Cox 7TV “Game of the Week” vs. Notre Dame (14-41, 2-4); Oct. 19 at Paradise Valley (49-42, 4-2); and the Oct. 26 season finale and “Senior Night” vs. “bad blood” Shadow Mountain (46-70, 4-2). Homecoming and “Senior Night” should provide extra incentive against the Saints and Matadors, with the Falcons having to win road games at either Horizon or Paradise Valley, the latter, tough defenders of home turf. To make State, I predict, the Falcons must win three out of those four – obviously a tall order. This writer will settle, reluctantly, for Homecoming and “Senior Night” victories.
Not joined in the capitulation by this issue’s profilee is cornerback Cruz Baciewicz (pronounced “Bah-chev-its.”) He hasn’t given up on the Playoffs. “Anything’s possible,” he told me in our Monday night interview. “We have the talent. Absolutely, we do. It all depends in our execution.” Sound familiar? The football is in the Falcons’ court. Can they pull it off? I’ll be pullin’ for ‘em!
Cruz Tanner Baciewicz is a native Arizonan, the firstborn twin son (by some five minutes) of Creeker Mike Baciewicz and birthmom Vio (Deridder) who lives in Texas. Cruz, who’ll turn 18 on Nov. 2, lives in Cave Creek with Dad Mike and stepmom Desirae. Twin Drazen was a football Falcon until a season-ending knee injury. Younger brother Cade, 8, is a Black Mountain 3rd grader.
Cruz first played organized football as a 3rd grader in Texas. Three years later, he returned to the Desert Foothills, later graduating Desert Arroyo Middle School. From watching Cruz play as a JV running back, I rate him fast and tough. “Fast?” Fast enough to run the 100 and 400 for Track Head Coach Geoff Johnson under sprints mentor Assistant Coach Patty Egan. “Tough?” Tough enough to score the winning JV touchdown against Saguaro after getting his bell rung carrying the ball. Now, because of that sophomore-season concussion, Cruz has elected to primarily play defense, a switch that he, “injury prone,” definitely (and wisely) prefers. For Cruz, “Football has always been fun.” He relishes the contact and enjoys his teammates.
His favorite Football Falcon memory? “When I was a sophomore, I got called up to varsity practice for two plays. I had an interception on the first and knocked a kid’s helmet off on the second. That really got my adrenaline pumping!”
Cruz’s goal for this season? “Do my assignment on every down.” He challenges himself, “Don’t beat me (at corner) for a TD!” And to be a Football Falcon senior? Hear carefully his unique answer: “I try to have a good relationships with all my teammates. As a football player, ‘hierarchy’ has never mattered. If you’re on the team, then you’re my teammate – period!”
In the classroom, Cruz modestly classifies a 3.9 GPA as “decent grades,” especially enjoying advance placement Calculus under Coach Falcon Jim Merendo. “Football takes most of my time,” he tells me, although mountain bike riding has recently become a recreational interest. Cruz hopes to play at the next level; but if a scholarship doesn’t work out, he plans to attend either ASU or San Diego State University.
Who has most influenced and encourage his football? “Definitely my Dad,” Cruz immediately answered. I was on the sideline when Cruz got knocked silly. Mike was instantly at this side, as Cruz recovered on Courtney Runner’s treatment table. No question” Mike is Cruz’s #1 fan!
How does Cruz see these last four games? “We’ve got to drive to win. We have nothing to lose!” For the Falcons, I see Cruz as a winner. This very articulate, focused young man could sure play for me!
~ Pete Mohr
A “W” is a “W” … is a “W”
As one Falcon described the game, “It was ugly.” At Barry Goldwater, Sept. 28: CSHS, 14 – Bulldogs, 10. Two Falcon TDs: Bryce Kinsler to Kyle Gladstone, and Kinsler to Matt Hartlen. Both touchdown passes set up by fullback Mike Thompson rushes. Amped up Falcon “D” helped “rain” on Goldwater’s Homecoming “parade” (– make that Homecoming dance!)