Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Cactus ready for big California football adventureAug 28, 2012
By Don Ketchum
The Cactus High Cobras are ready for their big adventure.
The football team from Glendale will represent Arizona when it faces Baskersfield, Calif., on Saturday (Sept. 1) as part of the California High School Football Classics at Crespi High in Encino, a bit west and north of Los Angeles.
“It’s a great adventure. There’s some stress to it, but the positives far outweigh the negatives,’’ said 29-year Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier. “This is a great opportunity for us to represent our state and our school.’’
Cactus will play at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Cobras are coming off a 62-0 victory over Phoenix Moon Valley in last weekend’s season opener.
In some cases, a coach might not be able to get a true evaluation of his team in a game such as that, but Fetkenhier was satisfied with what his team accomplished.
“We were able to get everybody in the game, and we had six different players score,’’ he said. “They can see themselves in a game situation, their steps, their alignment, their techniques. It was a good starting place. We looked good, but we can certainly be better.’’
One of the pleasant surprises was the fact that the Cobras excelled on special teams, returning a kickoff for a touchdown and blocking two punts.
He has seen Bakersfield on video.
“They run the veer (offense), with double slots, one back,’’ he said. “They have a “junkyard’ defense, everybody jumping around. They thrive on athleticism and speed.’’
Cactus has its share of athletic players, relying on that probably a little more so than in the past, where size and strength were its staples.
“Our defense looked fast,’’ Fetkenhier said. “We’re not the biggest team around, but I was really pleased with our physical effort, running down the ball, not taking plays off.’’
Quarterback Talal Yousufzai, a transfer from Phoenix Washington, had a solid effort, participating in 32 plays. He completed four of six passes for a pair of touchdowns and ran for a score.
“It is a whole new verbage, style and pace for him, but he did a good job,’’ Fetkenhier said.
On defense, one of the standouts was cornerback Anthony Alcala. He had a 95-interception return for a touchdown.
“He started all last year, but this year he seems to be playing with so much more confidence,’’ Fetkenhier said.