JULY 23, 2014

Falcon Football welcomes new head coach, Mike Hudnutt!

CSHS vs. Willow Canyon, September 5, opens home season
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For the fourth consecutive pre-season, Sonoran News is pleased to support Cactus Shadows Football by profiling the team’s rising seniors – and this summer, the Falcons’ new head football coach, Mike Hudnutt. Coach Hudnutt’s profile will appear in our July 30 online edition. Senior profiles will follow in the Aug. 6 (print), 13 (online), 20 (print) and 27 (online) editions. “Good luck!” to Coach Hudnutt and his 2014 Football Falcons!

CAVE CREEK – “You gotta ac-cen-u-ate the positive! E-lim-i-nate the negative. Latch on to the af-firm-a-tive. Don’t mess with Mr. In-between!”  Among Sonoran News readers, contemporaries of this aging sports reporter (77!) are likely to remember (the late) Bing Crosby’s pop music encouragement. In beginning this season’s Sonoran News coverage of Cactus Shadows Football 2014, I’ll take my best shot at following Bing’s on-target advice.

To “accentuate the positive” requires, first, that I extend a congratulatory welcome to new head football coach Mike Hudnutt, who comes to Cactus Shadows after mentoring the Willow Canyon (Surprise) Wildcats for almost a decade. Ironically (or rather by luck of AIA’s two-year schedule block), Coach Hudnutt’s first home game at the Falcon helm will be some five weeks hence, when CSHS opens its home schedule against (who else??) … the visiting Willow Canyon Wildcats!

In last season’s second game (at Willow Canyon) Joe Kuhlmann’s rushing powered the Falcons to a decisive 55-20 Falcon Stadium win. Coach Hudnutt and his Birds will be out to repeat that performance, in the Sept. 5 Friday night game. Thanks to the ongoing “Rebuild the Nest” program, which was initiated by Cactus Shadows’ senior head coach Patty Egan, and energetic Falcon parent Kim (Mrs. Jay) Williams (proud Mom of Cody ’10, Saige ’12 and rising senior Tanner), the Falcons will be playing on a recently-refurbished playing field (new scoreboard and re-sodded playing field). This much-needed improvement effort for CSHS athletic facilities was jump-started by generous financial support from CCUSD. Deserved appreciation is due “Coach Patty,” Kim Williams, CCUSD Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick and Cave Creek School Board members. Here’s hoping that the 2014 Football Falcon and future CSHS teams will put up winning points on the south end zone’s new board.

To “eliminate the negative,” it’s sufficient to report that after the Falcons posted their first winning season since 2010, former head coach Greg Davis was successfully (and unexpectedly) recruited by Paradise Valley High School, whose longtime head football coach, Donnie Yantis, had signed on to start Arizona Christian’s new football program (formally Southwest Bible College). Best wishes to Coach Yantis, one of the “good guys” in Arizona high school football.

After former head coach Chad DeGrenier (of the Falcon 2006 4A-Division II State Champions) understandably “moved up to Schlitz” at 5A Mesa Mountain View, I offer that Coach Davis gave his very best to keep the Falcon Football ship sailing. I wish Coach Davis, his lovely wife, Joy, and their delightful young daughters, Aven and Malin, nothing but the best (well-deserved) at PV, where the Falcons will take on the Trojans on Oct. 17.

So now, “Long live the (new) King!” That would be you, Coach Mike Hudnutt. There is no “Mr. In-between.” Sonoran News wishes you every success at Cactus Shadows. The Falcons are fortunate, indeed, to have a coach of your experience guiding them. And to you and your family, a belated welcome to the Desert Foothills.

Allright, Falcon Football Fans, Sept. 5 is only 42 days away!

~ Pete Mohr