Four Corners of Sports: Sports Programs Continue Throughout the Summer at Local Schools

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Queen Creek linemen at ASU Big Man Competition two weeks ago.

Queen Creek’s new uniforms. Players will wear the one on the left for home games and the one on the right for away games.

STFHS football players Ryan Wilson (left) and Ricky Wilson at Division IV-V All-Star game in Snowflake on June 13.

Combs

Football– Three members of last year’s state playoff team were selected to participate in the Division IV/V All-Star game, which took place on June 13 at Snowflake High School. Nate Duhaney, Riley Bourgeous, and Alex Moyes, each All-Section selections as seniors, competed for Team Green Machine, which came up short in a 17 – 16 loss to Team Orange Crush. Bourgeous, the Division III heavyweight wrestling state champion, closed out his high school athletic career in style, winning Defensive Player of the Game honors for his team.

Passing League Update

The Coyotes are one of 16 teams currently participating in the Campo Verde passing league, which takes place each Thursday throughout June at Campo Verde High School.

“I liked how aggressive we were and never backed down,” said junior quarterback Skylar Johnson about the Coyotes’ performance last Thursday. “We came out really strong and, overall, we played really well.”

Last Thursday included a linemen Olympics, where teams were represented by five linemen who compete in individual workouts and one-on-one drills in addition to team events like the tug-a-war. Scores are given after each event and a winner is declared based on the highest point total.

The Yotes’ freshmen linemen took third earlier in the week in a similar event.

Golf Tournament and Fundraiser Dinner

The Coyotes’ Football Booster Club announced the Yotes’ First Golf Tournament and Fundraiser Dinner event will take place at Encanterra Country Club on Sept. 5, 2015. The event, which benefits the football program, includes a four-person modified scramble golf tournament followed by a dinner, where attendees will hear from guest speakers in addition to Coyotes’ head coach Jesse Hart. A raffle and silent auction are also a part of the night’s festivities. Dinner only packages are available for those who don’t want to play golf but wish to attend the event. Additional information can be found at www.combscoyotesfootball.com. Click on “Team Events.”

Basketball– After some early injuries to start the summer, which resulted in some poor performances at the start, the Coyotes’ basketball program is finally getting some of its key players back.

“It’s been a struggle so far this summer because a lot of our guys are used to winning,” Yotes’ head coach Kirk Fauske recently told the Ledger. “We have to learn how to win all over again.”

Although junior-to-be and projected starter Josh Allen remains sidelined with a shoulder injury, two other 2017 juniors who also figure to be starters next season – Clayton McCarthy and Skylar Johnson – recently returned from injuries and helped the Yotes reach the championship game of a Santa Cruz High School summer league tournament two weekends ago.

“We came together as a team,” said Johnson, accounting for the Yotes’ performance at Santa Cruz. “We have a group of (players) who learned from the old Fauske Five and we’re using that to our advantage, trying to do exactly what they did.”

Johnson said 2018 sophomores Brian Tucker and Justice Davis played well during the Santa Cruz tournament, showing some potential that could benefit the Coyotes in the very near future.

According to Fauske, both players have the potential to work their way onto the varsity team when the 2015-16 season rolls around.

“I really feel if we can learn and grow this season (then) a year from now we might be just as talented as we were last year,” Fauske said. “We’re super young right now. These guys need to learn leadership and chemistry.”

San Tan Foothills

Football– Two members of last year’s state playoff team were selected to participate in the Division IV/V All-Star game, which took place on June 13 at Snowflake High School. Ryan Wilson and Ricky Wilson, both all All-Section selections as seniors, competed for Team Orange Crush, which squeaked out a one-point victory against Team Green Machine, 17 – 16.

“It was an honor to be selected as one of the best players in Divisions IV & V and represent San Tan Foothills,” said Ryan Wilson, one of 40 in Arizona to be named a top Scholar Athlete by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the National Football Foundation earlier this year. “It was a great experience to meet all the guys we played against, read about, and watched film on during the last four years.”

Queen Creek

Softball– Varsity head coach Stephanie Mejia announced her program will host a three-day “Future Bulldog Softball Camp,” which will take place June 30 – July 2 from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. daily. Girls ages 9 – 14 are encouraged to register. The cost is $75 per player.

Campers will focus on different fundamentals of the game during each day of the camp, including pitching and defense one day, hitting and catching the next. A scrimmage is scheduled for the final day, according to Mejia.

Registration forms and additional information can be found at www.qchsathletics.org.

Football– The Bulldogs will be without projected starting offensive lineman Dempsey Adams for the season after the senior-to-be suffered a torn ACL during the Big Man competition at Arizona State University two weeks ago.

“To lose a kid like Dempsey is never good,” head coach Travis Schureman said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked, put the time in the weight room, and has a great attitude all of the time. You want to see those types of players be successful and play 13 games for us but, unfortunately, he’s done.”

“With that being said, we have to find someone else to replace him and get to work.”

Passing League Update

The Bulldogs continue to participate in the weekly passing league at Campo Verde High School on Thursdays. Last week they sent five additional players to compete in the linemen Olympics – a series of events that include individual, one-on-one, and team competitions.

Head coach Travis Schureman continues to see improvement in the group he coaches, but says there is still work to be done before the season starts in August.

“I think it was good,” he said about Thursday’s performance. “I think our kids competed and that’s what we’re looking for when we do these things. We always want to win, but it’s more about who is going to compete and we get to find out who doesn’t want to as well as those who rise to the top.”

The team has had mixed performances in passing league games so far, partially the result of players taking part in college camps – in and out of state – that conflict with the weekly league schedule. However, the absence of those players gives some others a chance to gain some valuable experience, which will likely pay dividends down the road.

“I think we’re getting better every week,” Schureman said about his team’s passing league performances. “We’re trying hard to instill what we’re going to do on Friday nights, run our offense, and get better at the things we’ll do.”

“Coach Germaine and Coach Suchomel thought we did a better job (Thursday) night,” Schureman added. “For us, it’s about getting better each week and not getting caught up in wins and losses in 7-on-7.”

Training Camp

The Bulldogs are scheduled to hold summer camp in Joseph City, Arizona, July 13 – 18.

New Uniforms

The team will be sporting new Nike® uniforms when the 2015 season begins thanks to the efforts of the Bulldogs’ Football Booster Club.

“We had such a great turnout at the golf tournament (earlier this month),” said Booster Club President Melissa Gardner. “It was amazing and because of that we were able to raise enough money (to cover the new uniforms) with a little extra to start the season.”

The booster club is responsible for planning and organizing different fundraisers, including the recently concluded annual golf tournament, as well as soliciting donations to benefit the Queen Creek football program. Other booster club responsibilities include preparing meals for players at summer camp, during the season, and organizing the season-ending awards banquet.

“Melissa has been with me since I’ve been the head coach and she’s done a great a job,” Schureman told the Ledger. “She knows what it takes to raise money and (her group) tries tirelessly – it’s like another job – to make sure our kids have the things they need to be successful on Friday nights.”

Gardner and a core group of approximately seven women start working in January, sending emails and mailing to local businesses asking for financial donations to support the football program. They even “hit the pavement” to hand deliver donation forms to even more business.

“Besides the fact that my son is one of the Queen Creek Bulldogs, I’ve been around these boys since they were little,” Gardner answered when asked why it was important to her to donate her time. “I just love the boys and their Queen Creek families. It makes me want to do this for them, especially the boys who work so hard.”

Poston Butte

Baseball– The Broncos will wrap up their summer league schedule with the following games: June 25 vs. Apache Junction, June 29 vs. Williams Field, and June 30 at Campo Verde. All homes games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Andrew Luberda (307 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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