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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Horizon triumphs in Shaffer's return to sidelineAug 24, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Doug Shaffer hopped back on the varsity football coaching bike on Friday night (Aug. 24). It had been 10 years since he had taken his last ride for Phoenix Horizon.
It was almost as if he never left.
The Huskies made his return a successful one with a 32-0 season-opening victory over visiting Phoenix North Canyon, giving the players, parents and community who brought Shaffer back something to smile about.
“There’s nothing like being under the lights,’’ he said.
Shaffer coached Horizon to its only state championship in 1994, with a return to the title game in 1995. His last varsity season was 2002, and he had been coaching at Horizon’s younger levels since.
Although he was familiar with virtually everyone on the varsity roster, having worked with them, he admitted he was nervous for this one. He admitted he didn’t get much sleep.
Part of the reason was that he knows how good of a coach North Canyon Mike Brown is. Brown took over the Rattlers this season after two years at Tolleson and more than 10 years at Phoenix Greenway.
Shaffer says there is more to being a coach this time around, in terms of administrative duties.
“I used to have four (assistant) coaches and now I have seven, and some people say that isn’t enough,’’ he said.
The 64-year-old agreed to return after the players circulated a petition and the parents and administration signed off on it. His plan is to coach two years and then hand the reins to assistant Anthony Paterno.
“I came back because there are a lot of hard-working, character kids out here,’’ Shaffer said.
Brown’s team appeared it might be able to stand up to the Huskies in the early going, battling to a scoreless tie at the end of the first quarter. But Horizon scored twice in the second quarter and pulled away in the second half.
Horizon’s defense was stingy all night, holding North Canyon to 50 total yards in the second half and just 135 for the game. Rattlers receiver Bryant O’Georgia had a productive evening, however, with eight catches for 64 yards.
Shaffer believes in focusing on the running game, sprinkling in some passing mainly to keep defenses on their toes.
His team did just that, rushing for 172 yards and passing for 107.
He gave a lot of credit to the mighty Quinns, brothers Charlie, Victor and Luke.
Running back Charlie Quinn stays low to the ground, keeps his legs churning and can turn on some speed if necessary. He rushed for 133 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns, including a 41-yarder in the second half to put things out of reach (if they weren’t already).
Victor Quinn is the quarterback. He completed 9 of 12 passes, two for touchdowns. And Luke Quinn, a reserve running back, got in on the action, picking up 28 yards on three carries in the second half.
Shaffer gathered his team in the middle of the field afterward. He said he was pleased with their effort.
“But we have a lot to improve on, right?’’ he asked.
“Yes,’’ was the players’ chorus.
They want to keep a good thing going.