Bryce Kinsler returns Arizona passing record to Cactus Shadows

Falcons avenge Shadow Mountain, 50-17; Anderson, Hartlen shine in Homecoming win
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bryce kinsler and parentsA record-setting quarterback and his proud parents. Walt and Sue Kinsler are photographed with their son after Bryce had set a new Arizona high school record of 8,679 career passing yards (2012-2012).

Courtesy photo
Ron Puryear

On Friday evening, Oct. 26, how did the 2-7 Falcons, injury stricken and winless at home, put on their own exclamation point to Cactus Shadows' successful Homecoming Week? They first had taken a one-day backseat to the bulls running the streets of Cave Creek (Saturday, Oct. 20); then, before an overflow home crowd, they avenged the Matadors from Shea Boulevard by routing Shadow Mountain, 50-17, to equal last season’s 3-7 record. And, except for two turnovers in the Red Zone (one at the Shadow goal line) they could have made it worse. But the CSHS mentor, Greg Davis, coaches by the A.I.A. mantra “Pursuing Victory With Honor”: nothing to be gained by laying 70 revenge points on the visitors, who came to Cactus Shadows needing a win to make the Division 2 State Playoffs. Instead, the Matadors got a long bus ride back to their home bullring – and the month of November off.

How sweet it was for the Falcons, who sucked it up and wrote an upbeat ending to their otherwise disappointing season. The ‘Birds were so dominant – on both sides of the ball – that Student Council Advisors Cameron Bender and Allison Zilka could have renamed the Homecoming dance “the Romp-‘n-Stomp Hop.” The Falcons had ensured that the final event of Homecoming week came off as a “ball!”

In addition to the halftime coronations of Homecoming King and Queen, Cruz Baciewicz and Brittany Johnson, CSHS students and Falcon fans were treated to a record-setting performance by senior quarterback and Quint-Captain Bryce Kinsler. Nearing the end of the 1st quarter, Kinsler connected with fellow Quint-Captain Matt Hartlen on a slant route, good for 12 yards and breaking Rathan Rizedorff’s (from Show Low) existing record of 8,517 passing yards in his 2008-2010 career. Rizedorff had previously eclipsed our own Phillip Aholt’s record set over the 2004-2006 campaigns. So the career passing yards record comes back to Cactus Shadows. For his night’s work, Kinsler was 17 of 38 attempts for 235 yards and two TDs – one to Hartlen and the other to junior Joe Kuhlmann. Kinsler’s career passing yards record stands at 8,679. This writer can’t help but think that had the Falcons made – and gone deep in – the State Playoffs, Bryce might have hit the lofty 9,000 mark.

The always modest Kinsler to Sonoran News: “Of course, I’m honored to have set the new record; but I want everyone to understand that this record belongs to Cactus Shadows Football – not to me. Without the support and encouragement from my two head coaches (Coach Davis and Coach Chad DeGrenier) and all of my teammates these last three years, I wouldn’t have come close to 8,000 yards. And this new record also belongs to our home fans in the West Stands. Thanks, everyone!”  The football used in the record-setting play was affectionately given by Bryce to his Mom, Sue. Dad Walt will also proudly share in its custody.

Head Coach Davis: “Bryce’s honor is well-deserved. He has a mental toughness you don’t see very often in players at the high school level. Bryce is the best athlete I’ve been privileged to coach.” Davis called last Friday’s victory a “tribute game to the hard work and commitment of our seniors.” Included in that accolade were certainly “Mr. Versatile,” R.J. Anderson and “never quit” receiver Hartlen. Anderson rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he posted two of the Falcons’ five interceptions. Credit juniors Emeka Esemonu, Corey Harper and Nathan Brockman with the other three. Quint-Captain Hartlen, including the record-setting pass from Kinsler, had ten receptions for 120 yards and his one TD.

So … as they say, “All’s well that ends well.” Congratulations again to Bryce, Coach Davis and his Falcons on their grand finale.