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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Mogollon defeats rival Joseph City, but job not finishedSep 18, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Heber Mogollon’s football team was understandably excited about last weekend’s 59-26 eight-man victory over rival Joseph City.
It was rewarding because Joseph City has had Mogollon’s number of late, including wins in the state playoffs the last few seasons.
Mogollon coach Tim Slade doesn’t want his players to get too excited, however. Mogollon is 4-0, Joseph City 3-1.
He knows all too well that there is a strong possibility that the Mustangs will see Joseph City again in the Division VI state playoffs.
“They still are scary good,’’ Slade said of Joseph City.
He and his players had confidence they could win, but the coach was a bit surprised by the score.
“They had hurt us in the past with their speed on the edges (defensively), and we were a little better equipped to handle that this time,’’ Slade said.
Mogollon returned four starters on offense and four on defense. And the defense came up big in this one, coming up with five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries).
In recent years, the Mustangs had a high-performance quarterback in J.T. Maner. Now the focus is more on the running game, with juniors Smiley Beecroft and Dallin Despain.
“They are not blazing fast but they are strong and run the ball hard,’’ Slade said.
Two more key players for Mogollon are its captains and four-year players, offensive lineman-linebacker Lane Bentley and receiver-defensive end Macky Slade.
Mogollon hits the road for its next three games, this week at Ash Fork, then Scottsdale Prep and Mesa Prep, with both games played at Gilbert Christian.
Wrapping up the Joseph City game, Slade said that he told his players before the contest that “it was just one of 12 (counting possible playoffs), that the one would not make or break the season.
“We went out and played well, but we still need to improve. Our goal right now is to finish the regular season unbeaten, and we will move on from there.’’