Reflecting on the 2011 h.s. football season

Hooyah! Congrats! Job well done! The 2011 Arizona High School Football season is over, it flew by, and we have six State Champions: Division I – Desert Vista, Division II – Chaparral, Division III – Saguaro, Division IV – Blue Ridge, Division V – Yuma Catholic, and Division VI – Joseph City.

What gets lost in the shuffle most of the time are their opponents; Hamilton, Cienega, Cactus, Show Low, Northwest Christian and Joy Christian. Without competition, there really wouldn’t be the need to see who is the best. Plus the other 224 high schools that began the season with the dream of playing for and winning a State Championship. It is about the journey, the process.

Realistically, some schools really don’t have a chance to win it all, but they still show up. They do all of the things that the Champions do; they lift weights, they condition, they workout through the summer, oh yeah, they go to school, all with the hope that they will have a season to remember for the rest of their life.

If you didn’t get to see any of the State Championship games, they are available to view on AIA365 and Fox is still replaying the Division I and II games.

I had the opportunity to watch the Yuma Catholic vs. Northwest Christian game in person and have watched the Division I and II games on Fox replays. I have been involved with Arizona high school football all of my life. I graduated from the ‘real’ St. Mary’s in 1968 of Our Lord and we were fortunate enough to win the State Championship that year after having lost in the State Finals my junior year. Then coached at the high school level beginning in the 1970’s, I am truly impressed with the quantity and quality of high school athletes in our state, along with the quality of coaching.

It has improved immensely over forty years. I’m not trying to take away from the number of great athletes that I grew up with in by gone years, but with the growth of our state has come the increase in numbers of really good athletes.

Coupled with the training programs that most schools run today, and a shout out to all of the preservatives in our food today, just look at the average high school football player today. It seems that the average 5’9” – 140 lb. high school kid of 1968, is 6’ – 205 lbs. today – really! Don’t ask me to explain the math, I’m a PE teacher.

Finally, a shout out to the parents, the school community and the communities surrounding these State Champions; without them, the road to a championship would be so much more difficult.

To the parents, for making the sacrifices so that their sons could play football and play football in a quality program.

To the schools for rallying behind their team, after forty years as a teacher and a coach, I know this – the better a football team does, the better the school year goes for a school.

To the neighboring communities, without your support, which means money, these programs wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that they have. Everyone knows how tough times are right now, so for communities to dig deep to support quality programs speaks volumes about what is important.

Helping young people achieve a dream seems like a quality endeavor to me.   

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