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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

THE TOP 14 OF '14! #9

MANNING'S RECORD

Earlier this season the Denver Broncos were playing the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.  It was third and goal from the 8 yard and Peyton Manning dropped back and found Demaryius Thomas for the touchdown.  It was significant because it was touchdown past #509 giving him the record for most TD's in a career.  The record was previously held by Brett Favre.

THE TOP 14 OF '14! #10

THE WORLD CUP

Earlier this summer FIFA's World Cup of Soccer was played in Brazil.  For those of you who don't know the World Cup is pretty much the Olympics of soccer.  The rest of the world always goes crazy when the games are played every four years.  This year the only exception was the fans here in the United States.  Our team did better than anticipated and the result was World Cup Fever here in the U.S.  The United States advanced after great group play but came up short in their quest to win their first World Cup since 1930.  The tournament was won by Germany.

THE TOP 14 OF '14! #11

COWBOYS GO UNBEATEN ON THE ROAD

The Dallas Cowboys finished the 2014 regular season 12-4 and the NFC East Champ.  What was more impressive was the fact that they went 8-0 on the road, a feat that is very hard to accomplish in the the NFL.  There have only been five other teams in NFL history to go unbeaten on the road.  Of those 5 teams 4 of them went on to win the Super Bowl.  The Cowboy's hope to continue that trend as they enter the playoffs.

THE TOP 14 OF '14! #12

ARIZONA BASKETBALL MAKES THE ELITE EIGHT

In head coach Sean Miller's fifth season as head basketball coach at the University of Arizona the Wildcat's made it to the Elite Eight.  They finished the season33-5 and won the regular season PAC12 title.  They lost 64-63 in overtime to Wisconsin.  They were just two wins away from a shot at the national title but still had a successful season.

THE TOP 14 OF '14! #13

DEVON STILL'S DAUGHTER

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still decided in June that he would stop playing football when he learned his daughter, Leah Siri, had stage 4 cancer.  He also shaved his head when she started chemo and vowed not to grow his hair back until his daughter was able to.  The Bengals allowed all sales of his jersey to be donated to cancer research.  The jersey's raised close to a million dollars.  Other teams were touched by the story and pitched in to help.  New Orleans Saint's coach Sean Peyton bought 100 jerseys and donated them to local Cincinnati children when he heard the story.  New England Patriot's owner Herb Craft also donated $25,000 to help out as well.  These gestures are proof that their still are good people in this world.

THE TOP 14 of '14! #14

SEATTLE WINS SUPER BOWL XLVIII IN BLOWOUT FASHION!

The Seattle Seahawks came into Super Bowl XLVIII as the underdogs.  Many people thought Peyton Manning was going to continue his dominance of the regular season and win his second Super Bowl.  Well the Seattle Seahawks had a surprise in store for everyone, including Peyton Manning.  They jumped out to an early lead and never looked backed winning 43-8.  Linebacker Malcom Smith was named the games MVP.

Monday, December 29, 2014

CARDINALS FINISH SEASON WITH LOSS, GET READY FOR PLAYOFFS

The Arizona Cardinals concluded their regular season last night in San Francisco.  They lost 20-17 to the 49ers.  The loss has the Cardinals finishing the season at 11-5.  A one game improvement from last year and the fact that the Cardinals had to use four quarterbacks would normal be a successful season but this is a little different.  They started the season 9-1 and last week were one win away from locking down the number 1 seed in the NFC.  So you can see how a lot of Cardinal faithful would be disappointed.  Also to add to the frustration is the fact that they finished 2-4.

The fact is the Cardinals are in the playoffs and now it's time to forget about the regular season and hope the Cardinals can get back to their winning ways of earlier this season.  They travel to play the Carolina Panther's on Saturday.  Ryan Lindley's play was better yesterday but the reality is that the defense and the coaching is going to carry this team and decide how far it will go in the playoffs.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

SUN DEVILS WIN SUN BOWL IN EL PASO

Arizona State went bowling today in El Paso, Texas and it was a successful day.  No they didn't bowl a 300 but Taylor Kelley scored a 240, in passing yards.  They were playing in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against the Duke Blue Devils.  Many people were calling it the "Devil Bowl".  Many ASU fans were disappointed that they weren't in a bigger bowl.  The Sun Devils however did not disappoint their faithful that took the 6 hour road trip to support them.  ASU won 36-31.

The game started out great for ASU.  They scored on their first possession and led pretty much the whole game.  They held a 20-17 win at half time and added 10 more third quarter points to take a 30-17 lead into the fourth quarter.  That's when the game got interesting.  Duke's offense started clicking and a couple 4th down conversions put them right back in the game.  In fact, the last 4th down conversion came on a half back pass that gave Duke a 31-30 lead with about 5 minutes to go.

With the Sun Devils losing for the first time in the game game Kalen Ballage fielded the ensuing kickoff four yards deep in his own end zone and decided to bring it out.  He ran straight and then made a couple of great moves and 96 yards later he was forced out of bounce and the Sun Devils had the ball first in goal.  The very next play Demario Richardson took a 4 yard pass from Kelly to the house for the game winning touchdown.  Richardson scored all four of ASU's touchdowns, but it was the defense that sealed the victory with an interception in the end zone with less than a minute to go.  The win gives ASU it's tenth win of the season and back to back 10 win seasons.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

CARDINALS UNSURE AT QUARTERBACK

The Arizona Cardinals enter week 17 not knowing what their playoff fate is.  Apparently that not the only thing they don't know.  They have no idea who the starting quarterback is.  Because of injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton Ryan Lindley got the start last week against Seattle in what was probably the biggest game in franchise history.  Lindley was terrible and continued his streak of passes with out a touchdown.  The streak is now 225.  Monday we were informed they Lindley would not start and rookie Logan Thomas would get the start.  Some people didn't agree with the switch but I think it needed to happen.  As bad as the offense is playing you need guys in their that know what they are doing and Lindley looked very confused last Sunday Night.


Logan Thomas was forced into action earlier this season and was just as terrible as Lindley.  The bright side is he threw a touchdown pass, a feat Lindley still has yet to accomplish.  Earlier today it was reported that Thomas would not start and that Lindley would start when the Cardinals finish the regular season in San Francisco against the 49ers.  This may be a part of Bruce Arians mind game or he may have actually decided to stay with Lindley.  My theory is Drew Stanton is going to be out longer than expected and Arians figures Lindley is better than Thomas.  So they are going to get Lindley as much experience as possible.  Either way the Cardinals go at quarterback if they want to win playoff games they need to find a way to get the offense going and put touchdowns on the board.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CARDINALS TO KEEP LARRY FITZGERALD?


Regardless of how the season ends for the Arizona Cardinals they are a facing a tough off season.  Not only do they have to figure out how to get so many guys healthy and ready to play, but the biggest task they face is figuring out what to do with Larry Fitzgerald.

If the Cardinals don't either wave him or trade him by early March they will take a big salary cap hit.  I know that sounds crazy to get rid of a guy based on money and not talent but that's the reality of professional sports now.  Great players end up getting cut because it is cheaper to get rid of them and bring in someone younger.

Many people feel that Larry Fitzgerald isn't worth the money he is owed.  They feel with Michael Floyd as the number one receiver and rookie John Brown emerging as a dependable number two that the Cardinals will be just fine without him. 

The Cardinals have already said they won't cut the all pro receiver.  That doesn't mean they won't trade him.  They need to keep Fitzgerald not only because he is a fan favorite but because of his value to the team.  It was clear that the Cardinals were trying to phase Fitzgerald out of the offense at the beginning of the season.  We;; as the season progressed so did the need for Fitzgerald.  He has played well and if the Cardinals want to make a deep playoff run he needs to be a major part of the game plan.

Monday, December 22, 2014

CARDINALS LOSE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

The Arizona Cardinals lost at home yesterday to the Seattle Seahawks 35-6.  The loss was big score wise but even bigger playoff wise.  Not only did they lose the game but they lost the number 1 seed and home field advantage.  The bright side is they are still in the playoffs, but will have to play a wild card game.  They will most likely host the first round, but after that they will be on the road.  The only way they play back at University of Phoenix Stadium is if they make it to the Super Bowl.

The loss also hurt because with a win they would have gotten a bye and nearly four weeks for Drew Stanton to recover from a spanned MCL and return to the lineup.  They desperately need Stanton back because third string quarterback Ryan Lindley was absolutely terrible.  He was just 18 of 44 for 216 yards and one interception.  Lindley, however, does have an NFL record!  He has 225 passes thrown in his career without a touchdown.  The most pass attempts by an QB.  The start went so bad for him that today coach Bruce Arians announced Logan Thomas will start this Sunday when they finish the regular season against the 49ers.

The Cardinals had a chance to let the rest of the NFL know that they are not a fluke but for now they will have to listen to the nation call them choke artists.  Once the Cardinals figure out their quarterback problems they will be that dangerous team that can beat anybody.  The question is will they figure out in time to make some noise in the 2014 NFL Playoffs.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

HOW THE CARDINALS BEAT THE SEAHAWKS

At the end of the first half the Arizona Cardinals trail the Seattle Seahawks 14-3.  As always the defense has carried the team, this times it's penalties that are keeping them in this game.  If the Cardinals want to win and lock up the number 1 seed they need Ryan Lindley to play better.  He looks confide and flustered to me.  Even on passes he completes he seems to be off.  I get he needs help from the rest of the offense and the receivers need to make catches and extend drives.  But at the end of the day Lindley needs to make a play on his own.  If he can calm down and move the ball and keep drives alive the Cardinals can still win this game.

THE BIGGEST GAME EVER FOR THE CARDINALS!

Tonight on Sunday Night Football the Arizona Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks.  All NFL eyes will be on this game, but not just because it will be televised nationally.  This game is biggest ever for the Cardinals for many reasons such as the playoff implications, it's a division rivalry and it may be the difference between a long playoff run or being one and done.

This game means a lot when it comes to the playoffs.  With a Cardinal victory they clinch the NFC West and a first round bye.  The win will most likely give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl.  With all the injuries the Cardinals have endured this season they would much rather play home then have to travel to possible Green Bay.

The last time these teams played Seattle won hands down, 19-3.  Seattle is the defending Super Bowl Champs and are in the same division as the Cardinals.  This rivalry is becoming more and more intense every time they meet.  The Cardinals would love to take the NFC West title from Seattle and possible knock them out of the playoffs.

The main reason this is the most important game in franchise history is the outcome will define what the Cardinals are this year.  A win gets then national respect, but a lose gives the perception that their 11 wins was just a fluke.  They have struggled through many ups and downs this year and this could be the signature win they need to stake claim to being a good franchise on the verge of being great.

Monday, December 15, 2014

CARDINALS FACE TOUGH WEEK AHEAD OF THEM

The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a big win last Thursday.  The win, along with a little help put the Cardinals in the play offs.  They lost another quarterback when Drew Stanton went down with a partial tear of his ACL.  The good news is he could be back depending how deep into the playoffs they go.  The bad news is they face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football with their fourth quarterback to start this season.  The Cardinals have been all about "the next man" and if they hope to do some damage in the playoffs they are going to have to rely on that motto.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

MARIOTA WINS HEISMAN

Last night Oregon star quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy in New York.  The award is given to college footballs best player.  This helps cap a stellar career by the Oregon superstar, but it's not over just yet.  Oregon is ranked second in the first ever College Football Playoffs.  Mariota won the award in familiar fashion.  He ran away with it!

This makes Mariota the first ever player from Oregon to win the award.  This is an amazing feat when you consider the talent that has come out of Oregon.  He received the second highest percentage of possible votes with 90.9%.  Remember a guy named Troy Smith, he had more in 2006 with 91.6%.  Reggie Bush was actually the highest until his Heisman was taken away for violating NCAA rules.

What impresses me the most about Mariota is not the fact that he ran away with the Heisman but the fact that he did it with last years winner still in college.  In fact he plays last years winner, Jameis Winston and Florida State in the first round of this years playoffs.  Mariota looks to finish his college career with a National Championship.

Friday, December 12, 2014

CARDINALS ONE STEP CLOSER TO PLAYOFFS

The Arizona Cardinals played the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football last night.  They are no strangers to the national stage but it has been rough on them.  They have not won a Thursday game since 1948.  Well that all changed last night when they beat the Rams 12-6.

The Cards won the game without scoring a touchdown, a feat that is very hard to do accomplish.  But when you have the best defense in the league and rookie placekicker Chandler Cantanzaro it's not so hard.  What made the task even harder was when quarterback Drew Stanton went out with a knee injury.

The Cards then had to look toward their season motto, "next man up" and it was Ryan Lindley's turn to call the offense.  He is the fourth QB to line up under center for the Cardinals.  With no reps in practice Lindley was as close to awful as you could get.  But in his defense he kept his composer and was bailed out by the defense.

The Cardinals are now 11-3 and barring a tie between Philadelphia and Dallas they will clinch a playoff spot.  The Cardinals want more than that though.  They have two games remaining against Seattle and San Francisco.  If they can win out, which is possible, they will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl.  If they plan to be in the Super Bowl they will need home field advantage.  There is no way they go into Green Bay and beat the Packers, even with a healthy Drew Stanton back.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SCOOBY WINS NAGURSKI AWARD

Last night college football honored it's best defensive player.  The award is named after Bronko Nagurski.  Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright won the award.  He led the Wildcats to the PAC 12 South title and a date in the Fiesta Bowl.  Wright was not very well known nationally until the Wildcats knocked off unbeaten Oregon earlier in the season.  Wright literally took the football out of Marcus Mariota's hands to seal the victory.

The Nagurski Award is a great accomplishment for Wright and the University of Arizona.  It helps for recruiting and it also helps put the Arizona Wildcats on the map again for college football.  This award adds to Wright's accomplishments which include the Oregon win and a win against Arizona State, the first rivalry win for Coach Rodriguez.  Wright looks to add one more award to his trophy case, the MVP of the Fiesta Bowl.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A SEASON SAVED

On Sunday the Cardinals got back to their winning ways when the Kansas City Chief''s came to University of Phoenix Stadium.  Like just about every other win the Cardinals found themselves in a battle and as usual the defense bailed then out.  The Cardinals won 17-14.  Even though the cardinals are now 10-3 and have the best record in the NFC the win saved the season for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals lead the NFC West by one game over the Seattle Seahawks.  With just three games remaining every games is very important because they play all three of their conference foes starting Thursday with the St. Louis Rams.  All three games are going to be tough and had they lost to the Chiefs and all of the remaining games they would have finished 9-7 and likely miss the playoffs.

The Cardinals were able to beat the Chiefs because of a few guys were able to keep up the team motto of "next man up".  With an injury to Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams number was called and he responded well.  He did something that a Cardinal running back hasn't done in a long time rush for 100 yards.  He did so on 19 carries.  QB Drew Stanton also had a decent game.  Even though he missed several throws he still threw for 230 yards and a touchdown.  He also did not throw an interception either.  Larry Fitzgerald returned from injury and even though he only caught 4 balls for 34 yards his presence on the field was enough to make Stanton feel comfortable.

The Cardinals face another tough test when they play the Rams on a short week.  With a win they more than likely guarantee them a spot in the playoffs.  But Bruce Arians and the Cardinals want more than just a playoff spot.  They want to win the NFC West and get a first round bye with home field advantage though out the playoffs.  Arians message to the team all season has been "don't let another team dress in your locker room in February".

Thursday, December 4, 2014

HOW ARIZONA WINS PAC 12

Arizona travels to the bay area to take on the Oregon Ducks for the PAC 12 Conference Tittle.  The Ducks are heavily favored and not many people are giving the Wildcats much of a chance.  Coach Rich Rodriguez and company have a game plan that they feel will help them prevail.

Arizona already beat Oregon once this year and did it with stingy defense.  They run a 3-5-3 which has given Oregon some trouble over the past 2 years.  Arizona beat them last season as well.  If they want to do so again they need to lean on their play makers.  Anu Solomon needs to play a near perfect game and help the Wildcat offense control the clock.  They can help the defense tremendously if they can keep Marcus Mariota and that high powered offense off the field.

With a healthy dose of freshman running back Nick Wilson and a side of wide receiver Cayleb Jones the Wildcats have a high powered offense themselves.  The Wildcat defense has been impressive the last few weeks and behind linebacker Scooby Wright they plan to take the PAC 12 Trophy from Oregon just as Wright did to Mariota in their first meeting to seal the victory.

The sleeper unit for Arizona that may be the difference is the special teams.  They blocked a punt last week against Arizona State and the return game has been great for the Wildcats.  DaVonte' Neal has already ran one punt back this year and you must always beware of where he is at on the football field.  The Notre dame transfer, who played high school in Phoenix and Scottsdale, also is a deep threat at wide receiver.  Regardless of the outcome it has been a great season for football down in Tucson.  It may get better.  With a win they throw their names in the hat for the College Football Playoffs.  The consolation prize if they lose, likely will be the Fiesta Bowl.

THE ARIZONA WILCATS AND THE FINAL FOUR

With just one weekend left of regular season football left in college the University of Arizona finds itself in a familiar place, well kind of.  They find themselves battling for a spot I The Final Four.  This time it's football and not basketball.  They are just one win away from at least being in the conversation for a spot in the first ever College Football Playoffs.

The Wildcats play #2 Oregon this Friday for the PAC 12 Tittle.  As if the game isn't big enough already it as major implications for both Arizona and Oregon.  If Oregon wins they clinch a spot in the playoffs.  If Arizona wins it's not certain that they get in, but they will have a pretty good argument.  Of all the schools on the bubble Arizona has the two best wins.  It will be hard for the committee to turn away a team that beat Oregon twice in the same season. 

Arizona, under second year head coach Rich Rodriguez has won games they are supposed to win.  Their two losses come from teams ranked in the Top 25.  They blew out a very good Utah team and took care of in state rival Arizona State.  It will be hard for Arizona to get into the College Football Playoff with two losses but with a convincing win over Oregon it should convince the committee to lean in favor of the Wildcats.

Friday, November 28, 2014

WILDCATS OUTSCORE SUNDEVILS

Arizona and Arizona State played today for the right to bring the prestige Territorial Cup home.  The game was everything it promised to be.  An action packed shootout and it was just that.  Arizona won 42-35 and gets to take the Territorial Cup home to Tucson.

The game had everything you could ask for.  Both teams had a defensive touchdown and their special teams came up big as well.  Arizona's Nick Wison, a true freshman put his stamp on the rivalry.  He rushed for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns.  QB Anu Solomon was questionable coming into the game, but there was no question he was going to play.  He finished with 208 yards and two touchdown passes. 

During the fourth quarter the game took more meaning when it was announced that Stanford beat UCLA.  This opened the door for the Wildcats to win the Pac 12 South.  They will now play Oregon for the conference title.  They have already beat Oregon once this season and now that Oregon is number 2 you have to wonder what the College Football Committee will do with the U o A if they finished the season with two wins against Oregon. 

THE TERRITORIAL CUP

It's finally here!  The rivalry, the big game, the Territorial Cup.  Arizona State travels down the I-10 to face in-state rival Arizona in a game that could decide the PAC 12 South Champ.  This is a big game for a number of reasons.  Both schools are having great seasons and are both 9-2.  Arizona is ranked #11 and Arizona State is ranked #13.  The odds makers in Las Vegas have the game even. 

This game is bigger this year than in most recent years because the outcome will determine the future for both of these teams.  The winner will have a 10 win season and with a UCLA loss they will be playing in the PAC 12 Title game against Oregon with a shot at the College Football Playoff.  It's a long shot but it's a shot nonetheless.

When both teams take the field today the excitement will be at an all time high.  They both want to bring the Territorial Cup home to their respective campuses.  Regardless of the records and rankings both schools would be OK with winning just one game this season, if it was this game.  The bragging rights are so important because a handful of players from both rosters are from Phoenix and Tucson and have watched the rivalry their whole lives. 

Both teams have high powered offenses but have had recent trouble at quarterback.  For Arizona Sate Taylor Kelly has not looked the same since his return from injury.  If they start the game the way they did last week Arizona will run away with the in-sate title.  Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon is hurt and if he doesn't play they may have a hard time winning the game.  Both schools have excellent coaches and I think it will come down to whichever coach makes the biggest mistake.  This will be a great game regardless of the outcome and hopefully UCLA loses and our state will be home to the Conference Champ.

The Prediction: 
Arizona 24
Arizona State 17

Monday, November 24, 2014

CARDINALS LOSE SECOND STRAIGHT GAME

The Arizona Cardinals suffered their second loss of the season yesterday when the Seattle Seahawks beat them 19-3.  We are used to seeing great defensve play and yesterday we saw the other team do it to us.  The Cardinals were on able to muster up a field in the loss.  The loss hurts because it's a division rival and may mean more as the season nears it's end. 

The Cardinals are now 9-2 and still control their own destiny in regards to the NFC West and the playoffs.  The Cardinals now travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons on Sunday.  Atlanta is 4-7 but don't let the record fool you.  They are leading their division and paying some good football as of late.

If the Cardinals want to get back into the win column four things need to happen.  The first thing is Drew Stanton needs to play better.  He threw for just 149 yards and also threw an interception.  He needs to control games and make better decisions.  Secondly the Cardinals can't abandon the run game.  It's not the greatest nut once Ellington gets started he is hard to stop.  If we control the run game we control the clock the game.

The third thing that needs to happen is that the offensive line needs to stay consistent.  They having been playing well as of late and it's starting to show.  The last thing that needs to happen for the Cardinals to get back into and stay in the win column is to get Larry Fitzgerald back on the field.  He isn't as good as he used to be but he is still a dangerous target for Drew Stanton.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

HOW ASU WINS THE PAC 12!

On Saturday the Arizona State Sun Devils lost to the Oregon State Beavers 35-27.  The loss drops the Devils from #6 to #14 but more important it stops any hope of the Devils getting into the first ever College Football Playoff. 

Despite the loss the season is not over for ASU.  They are 8-2 overall and 5-2 in PAC 12 play.  They are half a game behind USC and tied with UCLA and U of A for second in the PAC 12 South.  It's actually pretty simple for the Sun Devils to win the South and play for the PAC 12 Title.

USC and UCLA play later today.  If your a Sun Devil fan you should root for the Trojans.  ASU then needs to take care of business with Washington State today and their in-state rival Arizona on black Friday.  If all this happens then the Jalen Strong Hail Mary to beat USC  earlier this season becomes bigger than it already is.  That play turns out to be the tiebreaker between ASU and USC and sends the Sun Devils to the PAC 12 Tittle game against most likely the Oregon Ducks.

Friday, November 21, 2014

HOW ARIZONA WINS THE PAC 12!

The college football season is coming to an end and the College Football Playoff picture is starting to take it's final shape.  Here in Arizona the focus was mainly on the ASU Sun Devils until last Saturday.  They were number 6 before the loss and with Mississippi St. losing we now play the what if game and wonder what would have become of the Sun Devils had they beat Oregon St.

The Sun Devils now have no chance at a playoff berth, but they do have a chance to win the PAC 12.  In my opinion they opened the door for the Arizona Wildcats.  U of A is tied with UCLA and ASU for second place in the PAC 12 South.  The 3 teams are 5-2 and USC is 6-2 and in first place.  USC plays UCLA this week and Notre Dame next week.  The Wildcats would benefit from a UCLA win, and would also need them to lose net week against Stanford.  That would just take care of some of the problem for U of A.  They also need to win out, a tough task considering they play Utah and then host in-state rival Arizona State.  And of course they would have to beat Oregon, who is running away with the PAC 12 North.

That's a lot to have happen for the Arizona Wildcats to win the PAC 12.  But it's very possible that it will happen.  People wonder if any PAC 12 team can get into the College Football Playoffs with two losses.  Most peoples answer is if any team can it would be Oregon.  But let me give you this scenario.  Arizona wins out, everything falls there way and they face Oregon for the PAC 12 title.  At that point doesn't Arizona deserve to get into the College Football Playoff with two wins over Oregon in the same season? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

CARDINALS TAKE CONTROL OF NFL

Yesterday at University of Phoenix Stadium the Cardinals faced the second best team in the NFC, the Detroit Lions.  Detroit came in with the best defense in the league and held the Cardinals to just 14 points.  Many people especially here in Phoenix think the Cardinals defense is the best.  Well they proved it by holding the Detroit offense to just 6 points.  They didn't even give up a touchdown!

The Cardinals started the game with two scoring drives that ended with touchdowns.  They took an early 14-0 lead and hung on to improve to 9-1.  There were a lot of good plays on offense but it was the defense that came up big for the Cardinals.

The win gives them the best record in the NFL.  In the NFC they are 2 games ahead of 4 teams that are 7-3 and they lead the NFC West by 3 games.  The Patriot's are the closest AFC team at 8-2.  The Cardinals have 6 games remaining and if they were to split those games they would finish the season at 12-4. 

Nationally the Cardinals are just now getting attention after their win against the Detroit Lions.  Despite all the hurdles they have had to jump they are making more and more football fans believe they are not just a fluke.  With each win the Cardinals are one step closer to being the first team in NFL history to host the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ASU GETTING RESPECT NATIONALLY

Last week ASU was ranked number 9 after a close victory over Utah.  They were even catapulted above Notre Dame.  A team that many feel should be undefeated.  ASU faced Notre Dame on Saturday in what promised to be one of the most talked about games of the season. 

It was definitely the game talked about Sunday morning.  The Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.  Notre Dame started to make a come back but the Sun Devils held strong and came away with a 55-31 victory.

It was more than just a win for ASU.  With the win came national respect.  The latest College Football Playoff rankings were released yesterday and the Sun Devils were #6.  They  now control their own destiny.  If they win out in the regular season and win the PAC 12 title game they should be in the first ever College Football Playoffs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

IT'S TIME TO BELIEVE!

On Sunday the Arizona Cardinals beat the St. Louis Rams 31-14 behind great defensive play.  They are now 8-1 and have the NFL's best record.  Their only loss was to the Denver Broncos.  With the win the Cardinals sent a huge message to the rest of the NFL.  "It's time to believe"! 

If you are a die hard Cardinal fan or from the valley you are used to the Cardinals doing great and then something goes wrong and then they start losing.  Well that is not the case this season.  They have continued to win despite all of the adversity they have faced.  They have hand numerous injuries but with their "next man up" strategy they continue to compete and win games. 

The Cardinals faced another obstacle Sunday when they lost starting QB Carson Palmer to a season ending torn ACL.  Back-up Drew Stanton stepped in and threw the go ahead touchdown pass to John Brown.  Then the defense stepped up and caused two consecutive turnovers that sealed the victory.  If the Cardinals want to reach their goal of being the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl,  they are going to have to repeat what they did Sunday.  Stanton needs to manage the game and keep the Cardinals close while the defense does what they do and ensures the victory.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cardinals Win Again!

The Arizona Cardinals won again today beating the St. Louis Rams 31-14.  The Cardinals trailed 14-10 at the end of the third quarter.  They were driving when starting QB Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury.  But that was no problem for the Cardinals due to the play of backup quarterback Drew Stanton.  He stepped in and completed 3 of 5 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown.  The touchdown put them up for good when he hooked up with John Brown for 48 yards.  Then the defense took over.  Just one play after being called for a pass interference Patrick Peterson intercepted a pass and took 30 yards to the house for a 24-14 lead.  They weren't done yet.  Not wanting to be showed up by his fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie picked up a fumble and returned it 14 yards for the nail in the coffin.  The score put the Cardinals up 31-14.

Before the injury Palmer was 25-36 for 241 yards and an interception.  Andre Ellington struggled on the ground rushing for just 23 yards on 18 carries.  He did manage to get in the end zone on a 3 yard run.  Leading the way for the receivers was Mr. Clutch Larry Fitzgerald.  He caught 9 passes for 112 yards.

The win improves the Cardinals to 8-1 and claim to the best record in football.  Next week they host the Detroit Lions.  The Lions are 7-2 and coming off a huge win over the Miami Dolphins 2-16.  This promises to be a great game.  The way the Cardinals are playing there isn't a team in football that can beat them.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How ASU Beats Notre Dame

It's here Sun Devil fans! The biggest game of the season.  ASU and Notre Dame have kicked off and are early in the first quarter.  ASU is 9th in the latest College Football Playoffs ranking.  Many people questioned why they jumped Notre Dame and were given a number 9 ranking.  With a win today they can put a stop to all those questions.  The way to do this to control quarterback Everett Golson.

Golson is a proven winner and the best player on the Notre Dame roster.  He can beat you throwing the ball or pulling it down and running with it.  Golson will get his yards but ASU shouldn't worry about that.  They defense should just control him.  By that I mean pressure him early.  If the offense can get an early lead it will be hard for the Irish to stay in their game plan.  They will have to throw more which means they can blitz Golson more and that's when he's prone to make more mistakes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Suns Start Season Slow

We are one week into the 2014-2015 NBA season and it has been a slow start for the Phoenix Suns.  They opened the season at home against the Lakers and won by 20 points.  Two nights later they beat the defending champs at home by 5 and everyone started to think maybe the Suns will be contenders this year.  Then the team traveled to Utah and was given a dose of reality.  They are just a mediocre team  They were blown out by 27.

The Suns have since split a back to back stretch and are 3-2 with the night off.  Sacramento comes to town tomorrow.  The Suns are winning games that they are supposed to win and that is something that fans can be excited about.  They will more than likely be between a 6 and an 8 seed if they make the playoffs.  As long as they win games they should win and avoid long losing streaks they should make the playoffs.  The bright side is the Suns are an exciting team to watch and come to play ever night.  Regardless of how they finish this season they will be fun to watch. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

College Footballs Latest Rankings

Earlier this week the newest College Football Playoff rankings were released.  The top three remained the same as last week.  Mississippi State is still the top seed and Florida State is number 2 while Auburn comes in at number 3 after beating Ole Miss last Saturday.  Ole Miss was number 4 and with their loss that gave Oregon the opportunity to move into the fourth seed. 

The rest of the Top 25 features some great teams and a few surprises.  Arizona State is one of the biggest surprises.  After a close win over Utah they umped all the way to number 9.  At 7-1 it is a well deserved ranking in most peoples eyes, but not in all.  Notre Dame who is also 7-1 is ranked 10.  Many people feel the Irish should be ranked higher because their only loss was a very controversial one to number 2 and unbeaten Florida State.  Notre Dame will get their chance to prove they are better than the Sun Devils when they come to Tempe on Saturday.  The way college football has been going this game may springboard the winner into talks of getting a chance to play in college footballs first ever playoffs.

Here is the rest of the rankings:

25. Wisconsin
24. Georgia Tech
23. West Virginia
22. Duke
21. Clemson
20. Georgia
19. Arizona
18. UCLA
17. Utah
16. LSU
15. Oklahoma
14. Ohio State
13. Nebraska
12. Baylor
11. Ole Miss
10. Notre Dame
9. Arizona State
8. Michigan State
7. Kansas State
6. TCU
5. Alabama
4. Oregon
3. Auburn
2. Florida State
1. Mississippi State

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's Playoff Time In High School Football!

It's a new week in high school football and this week if your team is practicing it's because they made it to the state playoffs.  Some teams go every year like Hamilton or Centennial and it's just a matter of who and where they will play.  Other's like Valley Vista and St. Mary's just barely got in but look to turn a few heads with an upset or two. 

The first round has some interesting match ups such as Combs vs. Snowflake down in Division IV.  Division III has an interesting match up of it's own when Tempe hosts Higley.  There is sure to be a lot of scoring in that game.  Division II has a handful of games that could go either way.  They also have what could turn out to be the best game of the night when Westwood takes on Chaparral in Mesa.  In Division I Brophy battles Perry in a battle of two sleeper teams.  Also Westview travels to Mountain Pointe in a game that could see a whole of rushing yards between two of the states best running backs.  Whoever you decide to root for this Friday will be quite entertaining for all of us high school football fans. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cardinals Control Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals traveled to Dallas to try and keep their winning ways going.  They were able to do so, and they did it rather easily.  The Cardinals started slow but they continued to make plays and eventually pulled away from the Cowboys.

The win improves the Cardinals to 7-1 and first place in the NFC.  The win is surprising to most people nationally.  But for anyone that follows the Cardinals they were not surprised at all by the convincing victory.  In fact if you ask some people they will tell you that the Cardinals are the best team in the NFL.  These people have a valid argument.  Last week many experts had the Broncos #1 and the Cardinals #2 in their power rankings.  Yesterday the Broncos were beat pretty bad by the Patriots and we all know what the Cardinals did to the Cowboys.  So why aren't the Cardinals being called the best team in football today?  This just shows the lack of respect that Arizona gets nationally.

The Cardinals were again led by quarterback Carson Palmer and a host of other players on their way to victory.  Palmer did throw a pic 6 six early but bounced back well throwing for 249 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Ellington again got the job done on the ground rushing for 95 yards on 21 carries.  For the second straight week Larry Fitzgerald led all receivers with 5 catches for 70 yards.  The defense did its job as well led by defensive tackle Dan Williams.  He had 7 tackles and 1 sack.  Tyran Mathieu also had an interception to go with his 5 tackles.  Perhaps the best defensive performance goes to cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who for the second straight week came up with an interception.  He now has 3 pics on the season

The Cardinals now come home and host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.  The Rams are 3-5 but are coming off a huge win against division rival San Francisco 49ers 13-10.  The Cardinals should have no problem with the Rams, but know not to take any team lightly, especially one in their division.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Looking Back At Friday Night: October 31, 2014

It's week 10 in Arizona and as exciting as ever.  For some it marks the end of another season, while fr others it's do or die time.  A win and your in, o loss and you go home.  Other teams are in the playoffs and just preparing to make a run at the state title.  Here are the results from our Friday Highlights games:

The Combs Coyotes had no problem with the Coronado Dons winning 55-10 on the road.  They finish the regular season at 7-3 and are the 14 seed in the division IV Playoffs.  They play Snowflake next week in the first round.

Phoenix Christian Prep was on the road at Washington and their woes continued.  They lost to the Rams 70-26.  In a season that was so promising Phoenix Christian Prep ends the year on a 7 game win streak after starting 3-1.  The big question now is where will star athlete J.J. Lyons end up next year?

Liberty played host to Willow Canyon and had no problem picking up the victory 56-29.  The win improves the Lions to 9-1 and helps them lock up the number 1 seed in the Division II playoffs.  They Host the St. Mary's Knights next Friday in the first round.

St. Mary's lost a tough battle to the Sunnyslope Vikings 31-16.The loss drops them to 7-3 on the season and even though they lost a game that would have given them the section title, they still got into the playoffs.  The Knights are the number 16 seed and travel to play Liberty next Friday.  They will do so wearing their traditional "playoff" gold pants.

Coronado was blown out by Combs 55-10.  The loss puts Coronado at 4-6 on the season.  The Dons had a good season but failed to make the playoffs.

Westview went to Maryvale and blew out the Panters63-14.  They finish the season at 8-2 and take the 11th seed in the Division I playoffs.  They play Mountain Pointe next Friday in the first round.

Chandler finished the regular season at home against Highland and had no problem picking up the victory 49-21.  Chandler picked up the number 2 seed and finished 9-1.  They host Red Mountain next week.

Millennium played host to Cesar Chavez and lost 32-20.  With a victory they would have qualified for the state playoffs.  Instead they are knocked out by Cesar Chavez in a game that is starting to become a great rivalry.

Tempe played host to Alhambra and manhandled the Lions 62-24.  The game featured quarterback Emanuel Gant breaking the states all time passing record.  The win also capped off a perfect 10-0 season.  Tempe takes the number 3 seed and plays host to Higley next week in the first round.



Friday, October 31, 2014

The Friday Highlight: Emanuel Gant


This is the final week of the regular season and since we started with a small school we will end with a small school.  Tempe High School is home to the Buffalo's and to one of the states best quarterbacks.  Emanuel Gant is just 27 yards away from breaking the state record for passing yards.  The 6'5 220 pound senior is having a very memorable season while leading his teams to a 9-0 record.  They are currently ranked #3 in the power rankings and host the Alhambra Lions tonight.

Gant controls the game when he is under center.  He is very passionate and competitive, yet off the field he is much more reserved.  He is quiet and keeps to himself.  He has improved his grades drastically and hopes to play college football and make it to the NFL.  Gant knows football may not always be an option and yes he does have a back up plan.  He would like to be an athletic trainer or a physician. 

Gant was inspired by his father to play football and has been doing so for seven years.  He currently doesn't have any scholarship offers but when he brakes the state passing record later tonight I'm sure a handful of schools will come knocking.  He hopes to finish out his high school career on a high note.  When asked to tell me about his schools tradition he said that every Friday they wear blue and white as a way to honor all who graduated from Tempe High School.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

College Football's Final Four Is In

Yesterday the College Football Playoff selection committee announced their initial top 25 rankings.  The SEC West dominated the ranking.  Mississippi, Mississippi St., and Auburn are three of the top four teams.  Florida St. is the other team that would make the four team playoff if it were held today.  This is just the first week of the rankings, which will likely change a whole lot considering how the college football season has gone so far. 

The fact that three teams from the same conference has a lot of people upset.  Mississippi St. and Florida St. are both undefeated and deserve to be there.  The big question is which one loss teams should be there also?  I can literally spend days arguing on who else should be in the top four.  But I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to leave you with two points.  Point one, Oregon sits at #5.  Why?  They lost to Arizona, which is #12, and many would say that's not a quality loss.  Point 2, why is Notre Dame #10?  They have a quality loss to Florida St. and most people will say they were robbed and should be unbeaten.  Shouldn't that at least have you in the top 5?

The Top 25:
25. Louisville (6-2)
24. Duke (6-1)
23. East Carolina (6-1)
22. UCLA (6-2)
21. Clemson (6-2)
20. West Virginia (6-2)
19. LSU (7-2)
18. Oklahoma (5-2)
17. Utah (6-1)
16. Ohio St. (6-1)
15. Nebraska (7-1)
14. Arizona St. (6-1)
13. Baylor (6-1)
12. Arizona (6-1)
11. Georgia (6-1)
10. Notre Dame (6-1)
9. Kansas State (6-1)
8. Michigan State (7-1)
7. TCU (6-1)
6. Alabama (7-1)
5 Oregon (6-1)
4.Ole. Miss (6-1)
3. Auburn (6-1)
2. Florida State (7-0)
1. Mississippi State (7-0)

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Greatest Rivalry In Football!

Tonight on Monday Night Football we wrap up an exciting week 8 with the Washington Redskins traveling to Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys.  Even though the series has lost some of it's meaning the last few years this is by far the best rivalry in football.  Every time the two NFC East teams get together you can though out all the stats because it's always a dogfight tip the end.

The Redskins won the first meeting between the two teams 26-14 on October 9, 1960.  The Cowboys lead the series64-44 with two games ending in ties.  The Redskins are 2-0 in the playoffs against the Cowboys.  These are all amazing stats but the best part of the rivalry is the competitiveness.  No matter the teams records the teams always play a little harder against each other.  In fact one season the Redskins went 15-1, their only loss coming to the Cowboys.  This is how a rivalry should be played.

Tonight's game will be a tale of two quarterbacks.  For the Cowboys if Tony Romo can manage the game like he has been and not have throw the ball too often they will win tonight's game.  For the Redskins they will be starting their third string quarterback.  In order for the Redskins to come away with the victory they will need to run the ball with Alford Morris.  If they control the clock and keep the Cowboy offense off the field they will be the victors tonight.

A Weekend To Remember!

We had another great weekend in football.  For all of us in Arizona it was an outstanding weekend.  We saw all of our major teams win and even a few over our smaller school came out of this weekend victorious.

We start with our smaller colleges.  First year school Arizona Christian traveled to Missouri and came up with the win over Missouri Baptist 38-13.  The win was the schools second this year.  Up in the high country of Flagstaff NAU took down the #2 team in the country.  They beat Eastern Washington 28-27.

Arizona State beat Washington 24-10 as it welcomed back starting quarterback Taylor Kelley.  The Sun Devils did what they needed to and didn't slip up in a game that they knew would be no problem to pick up the victory.  Their instate rivals the Arizona Wildcats had no problem with Washington State winning 59-37.  Both the Sun Devil's and the Wildcat's are still alive in the PAC 12 South race.  When they meet next month it may be for a shot at the PAC 12 title game.

Our last hometown team also got the job done.  They beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-20 and improved to 6-1.  They had to come from behind to pick up the win.  They too also have high expectations to make a deep playoff run.

All of our Arizona teams winning is proof that football in Arizona is on the rise.  Our high school kids are more competitive than ever and because all of the winning more and more kids want to come from out of state to play in the great state of Arizona.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Cardinals Prove They Are For Real

The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles earlier today 24-20 and they did it in dramatic fashion.  Arizona trailed 17-14 going into the fourth quarter.  The Cardinals then tied the game on a 28 yard Chandler Cantanzaro field goal.  The Eagles then answered with a 20 yard field and went ahead 20-17.  Then Carson Palmer and the offense took the field and it didn't take long for them to score.  Palmer hooked up with rookie John Brown for 75 yards and the go ahead score.

There were many bright spots for the Cardinals.  Palmer again looked healthy and led the offense to victory.  He threw 329 yards and two scores on just 20 of 42 passing.  Palmer's best stat of the day was his zero interceptions.  Ellington added 71 yards on 23 carries.  Even though he fumbled he did also score a touchdown.  The defense had a lot to do with the victory as well.  They were led by veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie who stepped up big when all-pro Patrick Peterson went out with an injury.  Cromartie had 2 interceptions that helped the Cardinals come away with the victory. 

The player of the game had to be wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  He showed the entire NFL that he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.  When the Cardinals needed him most he made a huge play.  He caught an 80 yard pass for the score and put the Cardinals up 14-7 early in the fourth quarter.  Fitz caught 7 passes for 160 yards including his touchdown.  With the win the Cardinals are now 6-1.  They are ready to make a run at the franchises first Super Bowl title.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Looking Back At Friday Night: October 25, 2014

With just two games remaining in the regular season we saw plenty of action last night.  We also saw the playoff picture get a little bit clearer, but we still have a lot to iron out in the seasons last week.  Here's what went down with the Friday Highlight Teams.

Combs went down to Tucson and came away with a 14-12 victory over Amphitheater.  The win improves them to 6-3.  Next week they travel to Scottsdale to take on Coronado.  Combs looks to end the regular season on a high note.

Phoenix Christian Prep had another long night as it lost to Shadow Mountain 51-7.  The Cougars fall to 3-6 and likely will miss the playoffs.  They play at Washington next week as they try to rebound from this tough loss.

Liberty improved to 8-1 after a blowout victory over Ironwood.   The  Ty won 48-16 and had little trouble with the Eagles.  They close the season at home against Willow Canyon next Friday as they prepare for the playoffs.

St. Mary's had another great game and came away with the victory.  They beat Trevor Browne 48-10.  They now face an unbeaten Sunnyslope team in a game that may decide their playoff fate.  To add to the pressure the Knight's have to go into Viking Country to try and find a win.  The Knight's are now 7-2.

Coronado was blown out by Florence 61-20 and is now 4-5.  They finish the season next Friday against Combs at home.

In a game that would decide the section title Westview beat Millennium pretty handily 37-6.  Westview is now 7-2 and travels to Maryvale to finish the regular season.  They are hoping to make a long run deep into the playoffs.

Chandler was all over Basha early and often as it cruised to victory 55-10.  Chandler is now 8-1 and host Highland next Friday.  Chandler is a favorite to win the state title and they have certainly been playing like it.

Millennium lost to Westview 37-6 as I said earlier.  The loss drops them to 4-5 and 3-1 in section play.  Now it's time to forget about that game because now next weeks game is even bigger.  They face Cesar Chavez, a team that has come on strong as of late.  Both teams are 3-1 in the section and this game will likely decide who goes to the playoffs and who goes home to clean out their lockers.  The game will be played at Millennium.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Friday Highlight: Dyson Dandurand


This week we travel to Goodyear and meet the Millennium Tigers.  The Tigers are 4-4 but more importantly 3-0 in section play.  They have a very big game tonight against Avondale Westview.  The game is not only big just because the two schools are rivals but because this game will more than like decide the section champ.

The Tigers are on a three game win streak after starting 1-4.  A big part of the turnaround is the offensive line, which is anchored by 6'1 305 pound Dyson Dandurand.  He is a big and powerful young man who plays with passion and is an intense fierce competitor.  He holds the schools bench press record at 405 pounds and is looking to break the schools power clean record as well.  The record is 320 pounds.  He started playing football because his dad wanted him to, but as soon as he hit his first defensive lineman he knew this game was for him.  This is definitely the case because he leads the team with 45 pancake blocks.  He had 15 in the first half against Maryvale.  He is tough kid that has been on varsity since his freshman year.  A feat that only a handful of athletes accomplish and rarely are they lineman. 

Dandurand currently has a 2.75 GPA and has a goal of obtaining a college scholarship and playing football on Saturdays.  He is being pursued by Arizona Christian but has not yet committed to any school.  After watching him play you will understand why he will be playing football at the next level.

Dandurand has many goals he would like to achieve by seasons end.  He maybe able to accomplish two of them when he takes the field with his teammates tonight.  He wants to beat Westview and win the section.  He is hoping that his teammates take "Highway 50" to victory.  He wears number 50 and used to the running backs running behind him into the end zone.  If he has it his way that's what will happen tonight.
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why The Cardinals Are 5-1

We are entering week 8 in the NFL and the Arizona Cardinals sit atop the NFC West at 5-1.  They face another 5-1 team this Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town.  The great record has fans buzzing about the playoffs and possible being the first team to ever host the Super Bowl.  But lets not get a head of ourselves, why are the Cardinals doing so well considering all the injuries they have suffered so far? 

Some fans say the great start is due to the quarterback play or the play of Andre Ellington.  Some people are also pointing our how great the offense line is playing.  Others say it is the defense and the fact that almost everybody is different from a year ago and yet the team is still one of the best defenses in the league.  I agree with all of these points, but the real reason the Cardinals are 5-1 is Bruce Arians and his staff.

Arians in just his second season with the Cardinals is already making a name for himself.  He and defensive coordinator Todd Boles are succeeding because they both put in systems that the team has bought in to.  Both coaches are great at getting the best out of their players.  This is why the Cardinals have been able to continue their winning ways even though they have suffered through so many injuries.  The "next man up" motto has really been put to use this season. 

The Cardinals now face a tough schedule the next 5 weeks and if they want to continue their dominance they are really going to have to buckle down and execute the game plans that will be put by Arians and Boles.  The Cardinals have put themselves in a great position and will be a team to watch as we get closer to the playoffs.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Palmer, Cardinals Keep Raider's Winless

The Arizona Cardinals improved to 5-1 with a 24-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders.  They were led by quarterback Carson Palmer.  He completed 22 of 31 passes for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 33 yarder to Michael Floyd in the second quarter that put the Cardinals up 14-0.  The one sore spot for Palmer was when tight end John Carson jumped for a pass that was a little high.  He tipped the ball in the air and the ageless Charles Woodson came up with the interception.  The interception was Palmer's first of the season.  In fact it was the first interception thrown by any Cardinal quarterback.

The Cardinals had an all around great effort by both the offense and the defense.  The offense is starting to click and getting fans used to seeing them carry the team to victory.  We are so used to seeing the defense make plays to keep the Cardinals in games but that trend is starting to change. 

The Cardinals host another 5-1 team next week when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town.  This should be another exciting game and hopefully Palmer will continue to play well and lead the Cardinals to another victory.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Friday Highlight: Bryce Perkins

This week let's travel east to the city of Chandler.  There we will be entering "Wolf Country" and Chandler High School.  Chandler is a division I school that is 6-1 and coming off an impressive 56-24 victory over cross town rival and powerhouse Hamilton. 

The Wolves are led by arguably the best quarterback in the state, Bryce Perkins.  Perkins a 6'3 210 pound senior has had a spectacular season thus far.  He has thrown for 1,300 yards and an astonishing 22 touchdowns in his first six games.  He added to that last week in a blowout victory over Gilbert. 

Perkins was inspired by his father, a former NFL player, to play football.  He plays with such a great passion and will to win and it shows with all of the colleges that tried to recruit him.  He has great stats and boast a 3.6 GPA.  He has committed to play for Arizona State next year.  His goals are to start at the college level and make it into the NFL. 

Perkins says football teaches you to be a better person in life and he is living proof of that.  He will finish his high school career soon with hopes of winning a state title.  Even if he doesn't he has had many accomplishments to be proud of including being a part of the first class at Chandler to beat their rival Hamilton High School after losing 17 in a row.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Afternoon At The Stadium

In case you didn't know I am a huge football fan.  Like every die hard fan I have a favorite team.  My favorite team is the Washington Redskins.  I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.  Most people ask me "why do you like the Redskins?"  "Why not the hometown team?" and even "you call yourself The Az Sports Guru but don't like the Arizona team".  Well here's your answer.  I'm born and raised here in Phoenix, Arizona and when I was growing up we didn't have a team.  The Cardinals didn't arrive until 1989 and by that time I was already a Redskin fanatic.  When I was little they only showed the Cowboy games and I didn't like the Cowboys but twice a year I watched them play the Redskins and I like the logo and so I became a fan. 

To answer your other questions while the Cardinals aren't my favorite team I truly respect them.  It's not because I cover them are because they are finally good (even though that's the reason for many people that won't admit that), it's because o my relationship with a few former players.  Years ago I volunteered with the Cardinals and coached youth football through NFL Flag.  I loved it and it helped me get into high school coaching.  I used to help out with the clinics they would put on for the children.  Every Cardinal and coach I ever came across were great down to earth people.  People such as Jeep Chryst, Damien Anderson, Chris Gedney, Martay Jenkins and Frank Sanders.  There are many more and because of them I will always respect the Cardinals.

So on to my story.  My brother in law took me to the game yesterday for my upcoming birthday.  Besides the score I had the time of my life.  The atmosphere was awesome.  There was a lot of tailgaters out on the lawn outside of University of Phoenix Stadium.There was a lot of Redskins fans and it was great to see all the different apparel.

There was one thing that did bother me.  The cardinals are new to winning, some would say they aren't even a winning team yet but remember they are coming of a 10 win season.  With the winning comes fans knowing how to win.  On my way back to my car I was hit in the hand with a small rock.  when I looked back no one was there.It must have come from a car passing by because about a minute later this guy starts yelling profanity and telling me how bad the Redskins and I are.

Now don't get me wrong I'm all for thrash talk in sports.  I'm for it when it's appropriate.  Talk about my team but don't make it personal.  I don't even know the guy and more importantly he doesn't know me.  I mean how ignorant can some people be?  The guy was even telling another Cardinal fan to hit me.  The fan ignored o coarse and so did I.  I went to see a football game not get in a street fight.

The whole incident bothered me but I don't blame the Cardinals.  Grown people know the decisions they need to make.  But I will tell you this had my wife or my daughter had been with me that probably would have been my last trip to University Of Phoenix Stadium.   


Monday, October 13, 2014

Cardinals Top Redskins

The Cardinals played host to the Washington Redskins on Sunday in an exciting match up between the two NFC teams.  The Cardinals won 30-20.  Carson Palmer made his first start since week one.  The start was a bit of a surprise to most, but Palmer didn't disappoint.  He was 28-44 for 250 yards and two scores.  The most important thing we saw from Palmer was his toughness and ability to manage the game and help Arizona come away with the victory.

Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald finally had his breakout game.  He caught 6 passes for 98 yards and a Touchdown.  More importantly was the fight Fitzgerald showed on his touchdown catch.  He would not be denied the end zone.  Ellington added 67 yards on 19 carries.

The win improves the Cardinals to 4-1 and they face the Oakland Raiders next week.  The Raiders are winless this season and face the Cardinals at a bad time.  The Cardinals are starting to get healthier and with just one loss the rest of the NFL needs to keep a close eye on them.  They are a very dangerous team that believes they can beat anybody.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Looking Back At Friday Night: October 10, 2014

Combs suffered its second loss of the season at the hands of Florence High School 28-10.  They are now 5-2 and face Seton Catholic next Friday.  This should be a good game as both teams look forward to making the playoffs.

Phoenix Christian Prep tried to knock Alhambra from the unbeaten ranks.  They can up short losing 36-20.  Their record falls to 3-4 and 1-3 in section play.  Next week they have another chance to give a team it's first loss of the season.  They face 7-0 Tempe in an away section game.

Liberty may have been one of the surprises of the night.  In a game that was supposed to be very competitive they made it look easy.  They scored early on Deer Valley and never looked back.  The final score was Liberty 30, Deer Valley 7.  Liberty now travels to Ironwood to face the Eagles next Friday.

St.  Mary's shutout Camelback 35-0 and improves to 5-2.  More importantly they improve to 5-0 in section play and are another week closer to breaking out the gold pants.  They host Carl Hayden at Phoenix College on Friday in a game that figures to be a blowout in favor of the Knight's.  Carl Hayden is winless on the season at 0-7.

Coronado picked up another victory to improve to 3-4 on the season.  They beat Chino Valley 65-0 and had no trouble picking up the victory.  They travel to Cortez to face the Colt's next.  Cortez has only won one game all year long.

Westview continued it's dominance in a 41-33 victory over Valley Vista.They are now 5-2 and face the lowly North Mustangs on Friday.  North is 1-6 and their only victory came against Maryvale a week ago.

I normally don't cover games without a player from The Friday Highlight but I couldn't pass this one up.  Higley defeated Apache Junction 95-75.  Yes you read it write.  I double and triple checked.  The score really was 95-75.  Apparently the two teams decided not play any defense.  Both teams combined for 1929 yards of total offense.  They also set the record for most points scored by two teams in one game.  They scored 170 points.  From a coaching standpoint I'd be mad win or lose.  I mean how do you score 75 points in football and lose?  From a fans standpoint I love it.  I bet it was an exciting game to watch.  Ans for a high school kid it was probably the most fun those players ever had.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Friday Highlight: Alex Saenz

 This week we focus on Avondale, home of the Westview Knight's.  Westview is 4-2 and coming off an impressive victory over The Basha Bears two weeks ago.  They are poised to make a run in the division I playoffs under coach Joe Parker.

The Knight's are led on defense by team captain and meddle linebacker #5 Alex Saenz.  Saenz a 5'10 183 lb. senior plays with a high motor and leads by example.  Saenz is second on the team with 60 tackles.  He has 35 solo tackles.  He has been on varsity since his sophomore season and finished with 80 tackles as a junior.

Saenz plans on attending ASU and studying Architecture and enginerring.  He also hopes to play football at the college level.  He has a weighted GPA of 4.19, unweighted 3.91 GPA and is certainly smart enough to accomplish his goals.  As for the rest of the year he hopes to finish the football season strong and continue to keep his grades up.

Saenz says he had a tough childhood growing up but in his free time he is religious and a good photographer.  Like most of today's youth he was inspired to play football by simply watching the NFL.  The Dallas Cowboys are his favorite team.

Playing football has been more than just something to do after school for Saenz.  He says it's a gateway from the outside world and helps keep him on the right track.  He is a perfect example for younger children of how football can help shape you in to a positive and respectful young man.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tidbit Tuesday: Wildcat's Style


The Arizona Wildcats are coming off one of the biggest victories in school history.  They beat the Oregon Ducks 31-24.  The victory catapulted the Wildcats all the way to number 10 in the college football rankings.  It was the biggest jump ever of any college team.  There was something else interesting in Thursday nights game.

The Arizona place kicker has an interesting story to be told.  Casey Skowron is a red shirt junior, but didn't even come to U of A to play football.  He started out as the manager of the girls soccer team before started kicking field goals for the Wildcats.  Skowron graduated from Phoenix's Brophy Prep High School.  He was a soccer player and only played football at the end of his senior year in high school.  He only joined the team after he was pursued because the football team didn't have a kicker.  He decided to give it a try and now he is the field goal kicker for the 10th best team in the nation. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

ASU With "Strong" Performance In Southern California

After a tough blowout loss to UCLA a week ago, the Arizona St. Sun Devils traveled to Southern California to try and forget about their terrible performance on the national stage.  They faced the USC Trojans a team looking to improve to 3-0 in the Pac 12.

The Trojans seemed to be in control the entire game.  But ASU just wouldn't give up.  Back up Quarterback Mike Bercovici, in just his second start, was spectacular.  He threw for 510 yards and 5 touchdowns.  3 of those touchdowns went to Jalen Strong, including the game winner as time expired.  The offense kept the Devils in the game and allowed for the dramatic finish.

Strong caught 10 passes for 202 yards and solidified himself  as one of the Pac 12's best receivers.  Strong was one of the reason ASU even had a chance.  He is a threat every tome he touches the ball.  Strong showed his athleticism on the games final play.  ASU QB Bercovici dropped back and chucked the ball 46 yards in hopes of a miracle.  The problem was the ball fell short of the end zone.  Strong made the great adjustment and caught the ball and walked into the end zone.  Bercovici and ASU had their miracle and a much needed Pac 12 victory.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Looking Back At Friday Night: 10/3/2014

This weeks games were played primarily on Thursday due to religious reasons.  We had a lot of great football this week and even a few surprises on the scoreboard.

The Combs Coyotes beat the Cortez Colts 59-10.  The Coyotes started early and didn't look back on their way to a 5-1 record.  They host Florence next week as they look for another victory.

Phoenix Christian Prep didn't  have it as easily.  In a huge surprise they were blown out by the Rockets of Moon Valley 49-18.  The loss drops the Cougars to 3-3m but most importantly 1-2 in league play.  They really need a victory next Friday when they host the unbeaten Alhambra Lions.  Alhambra is 6-0 but their opponents are a combined 5-32.  So let me go on record now as calling upset!  Phoenix Christian will knock Alhambra from it's unbeaten mark on Friday.

Raymond S. Kellis was no match for the Liberty Lions.  Liberty dominated the entire game and won 75-6.  They host Deer Valley next week in a game that promises to be entertaining.  Deer Valley is 5-1 and suffered their first lost to Centennial 35-7 on Thursday.

In another Surprise St. Mary's improved to 4-2 with a 38-26 victory of La Joya High School.  The win also puts the Knights at 4-0 in league play.  They play at Camelback on Friday, a game they should win.  In fact the rest of the season are all winnable games for the Knights.  The last game of the regular season is against Sunnyslope that should be their only struggle.

Our newest team to join The Friday Night Highlight club didn't fare so well against the Coolidge Bears.  They lost 55-24.  They look to get back in to the win column when they host win less Chino Valley on Friday. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Friday Highlight: Latrell Johnson


This week we travel to Scottsdale and visit the Coronado Don’s.  In case you’re wondering a Don is a Spanish warrior.  Coronado doesn’t have the best record and may miss the playoffs.  But what they do have is a bunch of young men that have dedication and determination to put their school on the Arizona High School football map.  One of those students is 17 year old senior Latrell Johnson.

Johnson plays wide receiver and defensive back for the Don’s.  He has nine tackles so far this season and says there is many more to come.  He never shows fear or weakness while on the field at it shows while watching him play.  He plays most of the game. 

Johnson’s GPA is above 2.0 and he plans to attend Northern Arizona University and study sports management.  He has a goal of graduating with a 3.0 GPA.  He has played football for four years.  His brother is his inspiration for playing the game.  He started playing after he would watch him play. 

Johnson says he is a relaxed person but prepares himself mentally for the next game.  He also says playing high school football requires a lot of blood sweat and tears to put yourself in the right position to succeed. 

What is impressive about Johnson is he is a true team player.  When asked to submit a photo he gave me one of all the seniors just having fun with each other.  Players like Johnson are the type of people that build a backbone for a team to be successful.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tidbit Tuesday.....Okay Wednesday

 Did you know that 75 years ago the first football game was televised!  It was September 30, 1939 and guess what; it was not an NFL game.  It was a college game between the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets and the Fordham Rams.  There were 9,000 fans in attendance and another 1,00 thousand watched on TV.  This was very impressive because at the time there were only about 7,000 TV’s in existence.  One camera was used and Bill Stern was the lone announcer.  The game was broadcast on NBC and was such a hit that it led to the first NFL game being televised nearly a month later.

With all the excitement in the air the game started off with a bang.  Waynesburg’s Booby Brooks took a handoff 63 yards for the game’s first score on only the third play from scrimmage.  The game however did not remain as exciting as the opening drive.  Fordham tied the score later in the quarter and added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-7 lead into half time.  They score 13 more points in the second half and won 34-7. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dbacks Fire Gibson


On Friday the Dbacks decided to part ways with manager Kirk Gibson.   Many people wondered what Gibson’s fate was after the Dbacks reassigned, or fired depends on how you look at it, then General manager Kevin Towers. He was let go with just three regular season games remaining.  The Dbacks already had a press conference scheduled to introduce their new General Manager, Dave Stewart.  Needless to say the press conference turned out to be more out Gibson than Stewart.

The firing of Gibson makes sense and not because of the way this season has went for the Dbacks.  It makes sense because of the new President of the team, Tony La Rusa.  He wants to bring in his guys, guys he knows and has worked with before.  This was the reason Stewart was named general Manager.  The team’s new manager will most likely be somebody that La Russa knows and can trust and can, manager through.  A lot like Derek Fisher for Phil Jackson.

I don’t disagree with the move, let’s be honest this franchise needs a facelift.  What bothers me is the timing of the whole thing.  How are you going to have such faith in a guy that you plan to hire yet you announce a firing at the same time.  They should have let Gibson coach out the final three games of the season and fired him on Monday.  This would have allowed Stewart to be introduced to the Dback fans in a more positive manner. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Looking Back At Friday Night: 9/26/2014

Today I begin a new column I call "Looking Back At Friday Night".  Each week I let you know how some of the teams did the night before.  Each week I will add a game and if you follow my blog you will understand why.  The teams that I will be covering will all be teams in which one of their plays was profiled on "The Friday Highlight".

The Combs Coyotes had no problem traveling to Chino Valley and picking up another victory.  They beat the Cougars rather easily winning 57-2.  They improve to 4-1 on the season and will face the Colts of Cortez High on Friday night.

Phoenix Christian Prep had an unexpected tough time with the Thunderbird Chiefs falling 48-27.  They lost in a shootout, but don't count them out just yet.  The Cougars fell to 3-2 on the season and will face the Moon Valley Rockets on Friday night.

In a huge game with fellow west side power Centennial the Liberty Lions suffered their first loss off the season.  They lost to the Coyotes in a close one 17-14.  They look to shake off the loss next week when they travel to Glendale to play Raymond S. Kellis.

The St. Mary's Knights fell to the Saint's from Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale 34-7.  The loss puts the Knights season record at 3-2. They will host La Joya Lobos Friday at Phoenix College.  The Knights will have their hands full but are ready to put another W in the win column.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The High School Highlight: Gabe Losada


This week we travel to central Phoenix and visit the Knight's of St. Mary's High School.  Here we find a team in division 2 that is 3-1 on the season.  The Knight's face Notre Dame Prep tonight in a game that promises to be very entertaining.  The Knight's are quarterbacked by senior Gabe Losada.  He has been the starter since his sophomore season and is a proven leader for the Knights.  He threw for 3,448 yards and 42 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions as a junior.  He even had 9 touchdowns in one game.  In case you're wondering the team he touched for 9 TD's was Camelback.  This year he is off to another great start.  He already has 1129 yards and 7 touchdowns.  He is on pace to add another 2,800 yards to his career total. 

Losada is not only just a leader on the field, but in the classroom as well.  He holds a 3.75 GPA and has a goal of going to college and playing football.  He says he would love to have football pay for his education.  When not playing football he enjoys hanging out with friends and family.  He says it's hard to balance school, football and a social life but is up for the task. 

He started playing football because of his family.  He has grown up around the game and loves to play football.  His goal for this season, for St. Mary's to win their section and be able to wear the coveted gold pants while making noise in the state playoffs. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Mary's it's a school rich with tradition.  It's probably the best high school in the state when it comes to tradition.  Losada says "it's unlike anything you've ever seen".  From the gold pants the team wears in the playoffs to pregame prayer at the historic St. Mary's Archway.  Every Friday the stands at Phoenix College's Hoy Field are pack with green and white.  After each score the cheerleaders throw out mini footballs and the student section is always ready to support their Knights.  The tradition at St. Mary's is truly indescribable.

Losada helps carry on that tradition.  He is a remarkable young man that one will make a difference in this world.  He is only 17 yet seems to be wise beyond his years.  He is a very respectful young man and I am honored to show you a piece of his life.   


Thursday, September 25, 2014

ASU vs. UCLA Preview


Later today the undefeated Arizona State Sun Devils host the 3-0 Bruins of UCLA.  This is a huge game for both teams because the last few years the winner of this game went on the win the Pac 12 South and played for a conference title.  This game is being called a "blackout", which means fans will be wearing black in support of the hometown sun Devils.


ASU will be without starting quarterback Taylor Kelly due to a foot injury.  Fans are hoping that Mike Bercovici can lead the Sun Devils to victory in a backup role just like Drew Stanton has done for the Arizona Cardinals.  In fact Bercovici even received a text from Stanton giving his support and wishing him well.  The Sun Devils will rely heavily on its talented tailback D.J. Foster.  If Foster can have the big game he is capable of ASU will have no problem picking up this victory.  Defensively they will have their hands full of quarterback Brett Hundley is on the field.  The Bruin's have a very talented team that many feel can make a run at the Pac 12 title, but they haven't played that way all year long.  They have struggled in each of their first 3 games.  If they struggle early tonight in Tempe look for the Sun Devil's to take advantage and come away with the victory.

Prediction: ASU 21, UCLA 20

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No Quarterback Controversy


The Arizona Cardinals are 3-0 and off to a great start to the 2014 season.  They have done so with great quarterback play by both starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton.  Palmer started the first game of the season on a Monday Night against the San Diego Chargers.  He had a great game throwing for 304 yards and two touchdowns.  His most impressive stat was his 29 yards rushing.  Palmer later joked that he hadn't run for that many yards since high school.  He kept plays and drives a live with his feet and was able to lead the Cardinals to victory.


A few hours before their week 2 game against the New York Giants it was announced that Carson Palmer and hurt his shoulder and would not be playing in the game.  There was no need to worry because Drew Stanton stepped and led his team to victory.  While he wasn't magical but he did what a backup was supposed to do, manage the game well and give your team the opportunity to win the game.  He threw for just 166 yards but threw two very important TD's that helped the Cardinals to a victory.  With Palmer still out he started again against the 49ers and continued where he left off.  This time throwing for 244 yards and adding 2 more touchdowns to his season total.  His best stat is his 0 interceptions in 2 games as the starter.


With the way the quarterbacks have played since future Hall Of Famer retired Stanton's play would definitely be a cause for a quarterback controversy.  But the Arizona Cardinals are different now a days.  They have a new General Manager and a new Coach that won't allow this to become a distraction for the tea.  They are sticking with Carson Palmer as the starter.  When he is ready to play he will get the start.  What makes this easier for fans to except is the Cardinals are winning games the old Cardinals wouldn't have.  Their high caliber offense and great playing calling is allowing the team to avoid any controversy that may arise of the quarterback situation.  The Cardinals have a problem that most teams would love to have.  Two quarterbacks that can take them to the playoffs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Domination In The Desert

It's a great time to be a football fan in Arizona.  The Cardinals, Sun Devils, and the Wildcats are all undefeated!  I know it's still early but they are all a combined 10-0.  The reality is that the undefeated streak the three of our state teams are in will probably end soon.  The next three teams that the Arizona teams will face are UCLA, Oregon, and the Denver Broncos.



 The Arizona Cardinals came up with a big win Sunday against division foes the San Francisco 49ers.  The Cardinals used a team effort to remain undefeated.  For the first time since the Super Bowl team the offense is carrying the team.  They are averaging 22 points a game behind great quarterback play from Drew Stanton and Carson Palmer.  This is really helping the team while they try to get healthier on defense.

 



The Arizona Wildcat's also came up with a huge win this weekend and they did it in dramatic fashion.  They beat the California Golden Bears 49-45 on a last second Hail Mary pass.  Anu Solomon found Austin Hill for 49 yards and the go ahead touchdown as time expired.  The win gave the Wildcat's a perfect 4-0 record.  The Wildcat's haven't had the toughed a schedules but have won the games they should have and even one they shouldn't have.  If they want to stay unbeaten they have a tough road ahead of them and it starts in Oregon.  They play the Ducks on October 2 after a bye this week.



Now let's talk Arizona State, a team that had high expectations coming into this season and so far has lived up to those expectations.  The Sun Devils are currently 3-0 and face a tough challenge Thursday night.  Not only do they face one of the best teams in the Pac 12, but they also will be without star quarterback Taylor Kelly.  Kelly injured his right foot in the win over Colorado.  He is expected to miss 1-2 games.  ASU has a high-powered offense and hopefully will remain so without their starting QB.  Like the U of A, ASU has tough road ahead of them also and likely will not remain unbeaten for long.



All three of the Arizona teams may not finish the season unbeaten, but all will be very competitive.  ASU and U of A will likely end up in bowl games and the Cardinals will make the playoffs if they continue to play the way they have been.  All three have represented the state well.