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Saturday, September 3, 2016


It was another great night for high school football in Phoenix.  Alhambra, coming off an impressive victory two weeks ago at Carl Hayden, played host to La Joya in their home opener.

La Joya scored on its first possession and never looked back.  They jumped out to a 21-0 and it looked like it was going to be a blowout.  Then with 3:00 minutes to go in the half Alhambra finally got on the board and cut the lead to 21-6.

After a La Joya fumble the Lions scored again and cut the lead to 21-14 after the 2 point conversion with just 51 seconds left.  But the first half scoring wasn't over. Both teams traded touchdowns and La Joya had a 28-22 half time lead.

La Joya came out in the second half and continued where they left and held the Lions scoreless in the second half and cruised to a 54-22 victory.

Alhambra looks to bounce back next week when they host the South Mountain Jaguars.  La Joya goes to Mountain Ridge and is looking for it's second straight victory.


                      Photo courtesy of Laura Bautista

This week The High School Highlight profile North's junior fullback/linebacker Isreal Araiza. He is in his first year of varsity football and is already making an impact for the Mustangs.

Araiza has been playing football since he was 6 years old and even played for Team USA's 15 and under team.  He is a warrior on the field and just as impressive in the classroom.

He has 3.4 GPA and plans to go to college to get into sports marketing and training.  He also inspires to play football in college.  At just a junior he has already visited a few college campus'.

Araiza has goals of helping North turn in to a football school.  He also wants to average 12 tackles a game, a goal that is very reachable for the young man.

He has always wanted to play football and tells a story being 4 years old at his sisters cheer practice and crying because he was too young to play.  His dad had coached him since he started playing so football is a lifestyle to him.

Araiza is a perfect example of a kid whose love for something has spilled over to other parts of life and has made him an impressive young man.

Friday, August 26, 2016


This week's edition of The High School Highlight comes to us from St. Mary's High School, a school rich with history.

The tradition is so great that we profile out third Knight in the 3 years of this segment.  Jorden Blake is a senior Wide Reciever and Safety and has helped put St. Mary's back on the high school football map.  Blake is a fout year letterman and has started since his sophomore season.

Blake is a very intelligent young man who carries a 3.3 GPA and also plays basketball. Blake says his short term goal is "to finish out my high school career on a positive note.  St. Mary's has a long history of sports and academic excellence and I want to do my part to continue that legacy.  My plan is to excel in my academics and athletics to earn a scholarship to collage."

Just by the way Blake answered my questions I could tell he is a smart young man.  He says as a kid he always enjoyed watching football on TV but his mom wouldn't let him play.  Finally she let him play flag football.  The first time he touched the ball he scored and he has been hooked ever since.

Blake had an incredible answer when I asked him to tell me something about high school sports that people may not know.  He said that playing high school sports is a lot harder than it looks.  It takes hard work, time and commitment, but the reward os the relationships he has built with his teammates and the knowledge he has gained from his coaches.

"There is nothing like the joy of playing on Friday nights!"

Sunday, August 21, 2016


The high school football season didn't start out the way Carl Hayden wanted it to when it hosted Alhambra on Friday night.

The team has worked hard all summer and is poised to show the rest of the state how much they have improved.  They fell short losing 33-7 to a tough Alhambra team.

There were some bright spots for the Falcons.  Despite giving up 33 points the defense held their own against a team that primarily runs and ball and wears down defenses.

Offensively the run game showed some life, especially on a long touchdown run early in the third quarter that gave the Falcons life.

But the night belonged to the Alhambra Lions.  They played a great game and stayed in control throughout the game.  This game was a battle of first year coaches and the Lions George Medrano came out on top.

Friday, August 19, 2016


Guess what everybody?  The High school football season in finally upon us.  Tonight a handful of high schools start their season throughout the valley.  That also means it's time for The High School Highlight.

This season we start with a team that isn't know for football but under new coach Randy Gross there is a "new breed" roaming the halls of Carl Hayden High School.  A team that hasn't reach the post season since 1996 the Falcons look to change that this season. One of the young men that plans to make the change is senior lineman Fernando Monroy.

Monroy has been on varsity for 3 years and is very competitive on the field.  He says in order to excel in high school sports you must remain competitive and focused.  Monroy plays football becuse his older inspired him to play.  His brother is also an assistant coach on the team.

Monroy has plans for life after high school football.  He wants to go to college and start a family.

Monroy and the rest of his teammates have worked really hard off season to try and turn around a struggling program.  They had a successful summer with 7 on 7 and big man challenges.  They look to continue that success tonight when they host Alhambra is the season opener for both teams.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


The Arizona Cardinals had their first official practice of the 2016 football season yesterday. The practice was to exciting because there was no contact, but the crowd was as big as expected.

The expectations for the Cardinals this season are as high as they've ever been.  They have everybody back on offense and have added two key pieces in Robert Nkemdiche and Chandler Jones.  The team knows it's Super Bowl or Bust this season.

The pressure will be in the Cardinals and they know it.  They are one of the favorites to win the NFC and even the Super Bowl.

With Bruce Arians back as head coach you can expect that the Cardinals will be ready to meet those expectations. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016


The camp started Thursday for the Arizona Cardinals with players reporting.  There has yet to be a single practice and yet the NFL world is already talking about Patrick Peterson.

The all pro cornerback made the biggest appearance at training camp when he showed up via helicopter.  Yes you read it right helicopter.

Many people are amused but it makes me wonder are the Cardinals a little to confident? They are a favorite to make it to the Super Bowl and rightfully so.

But should they be pulling stunts like this?  I know they are a great team but they are not a great franchise.  Win a Super Bowl and continue to compete then you can all come to camp in a helicopter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It's Carl Hayden's second day of official practice for 2016 high school football season.  As you walk up you can tell your not in Chandler, Mesa or Scottsdale, and not because of the surrounding neighborhood but because you don't see fancy equipment, college recruiters or even parents watching their son's practice.

What you do see is a group of young men working to be the best they can be.  First year coach Randy Gross knows it's difficult to win in the Phoenix Union High School district, but he knows it's possible.

As I watched the team run their offense I noticed how in tune the offense was.  That's impressive for any team in their second day of practice but even more so for the Carl Hayden Falcons.

The team won just 2 games last year and was blown out in just about every other game.  But something changed when Gross took over the program.  He brought with him a group of very talented coaches that work well together and are teaching the team how to do so as well.

Gross believes his team will do well this season. Despite losing it's top lineman for the season they have a very talented center in Fernando Monroy.  Coach Gross called him "a great high school center."

Gross also has a quarterback, senior Jeremy Matos, that he trusts to go along with three talented running backs, including one that played on the line last year. Gross says he slimmed down for wrestling and the coaching realized he was athletic enough to make the switch to the backfield.  Gross encourages his players to play multiple sports.

Carl Hayden may not have a winning season or even make the playoffs but they are off to a good start in turning around a program that hasn't been to the playoffs since 1996.

They proved how much they are improving this summer when they placed second in the Phoenix Union 7 on 7 Passing League Tournament and 2nd in the Big Man Challenge. This will be a breakout season for the Falcons.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Former Arizona Cardinals defense tackle Darnell Dockett signed a one day contract with the team and retired the way he came in to the league, as an Arizona Cardinal.

Dockett played 10 seasons with the Cardinals and many fans are pleased with the move.  I have to question it.

Why was it so important to Dockett he retired a Cardinal?  Is it loyalty to the team? He signed with a division rival so I don't think that's the answer.  I remember the day he signed with the 49ers he went on a radio station that was not the Cardinals flagship and voiced his opinion of not being happy that they didn't make more of an effort to keep him.

So why did he do it?  I'll tell you why, to try and get in to the Cardinals Ring of Honor.  I'm not saying he doesn't deserve it, but don't scream loyalty when you have an anterior motive.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Those of you that are familiar with Arizona high school football know of the St. Mary's Knights. They are not the power they once were but for a school as small as they are they are always on the radar.

St. Mary's is a school rich with tradition, from the game day mass to the gold pants during the playoffs. This season the Knights will start with a new tradition they want ended.  Starting the season with a new coach.

For the third straight season St. Mary's starts with a new coach.  But this season has a different feel to it.  They have a coach, Tommy Brittain, who is a proven winner.  They also have a strong core of seniors led by Jorden Blake, Abel Navarrette and Odua Isibor, who went to the state playoffs as sophomores and also know how to win.

The senior class is loaded with too much talent to mention.  The Knights will surprise this season simply for the fact that they are not a Chandler or Scottsdale school and will be over looked.  Add that to the talented team they have returning and they will be a sleeper team as a part of the new 4A conference.