Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Betty H. Fairfax FB team matures quickly, finds successOct 9, 2012
By Don Ketchum
There is no time like the present, when you are about to face the neighborhood rival, for your football team to show it means business.
That is the approach of the Betty H. Fairfax Stampede, who travel down Baseline Road to face fellow Laveen school Cesar Chavez on Friday night (Oct. 12).
Betty H. Fairfax is 6-1, Cesar Chavez is 7-0 and both are members of Division II, Section I.
Betty H. Fairfax won last year’s match-up 35-25, but coach Kevin Belcher knows that this is a completely different year.
His team is young, but it has matured must faster than anticipated.
“It’s a big game, that’s for sure,’’ Belcher said. “They (Cesar Chavez) are a good team. They are ranked high (fifth in Tuesday’s Arizona Interscholastic Association seedings), and we will see if we (Betty H. Fairfax is seeded 10th) if we belong in the playoffs.
“We just don’t know, you could go 9-1 and maybe still not make the playoffs. That’s why every game is important.
“We try not to worry about the other team very much. We worry about ourselves and what we need to do to be successful. We need to clean up on our end and limit our mistakes.’’
After dropping its season opener to Goodyear Millennium 30-14, the Stampede have cleaned up their act.
Betty H. Fairfax returned just four starters from last season, “but we are getting better each week,’’ Belcher said.
“We are young with a lot of heart and the tenacity never to give up, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom or with community service. Our GPA (grade-point average) has actually gone up.’’
Of particular concern in the preseason was how the offensive line would fare. Senior center Ismael Hernandez was the only returnee who had much experience, having been in the lineup since he was a sophomore.
On top of that, he injured a knee early in the season and only recently returned.
“That was a good sign,’’ Belcher said.
The heart and soul of the team is junior middle linebacker-tailback Brandon Sellers. He stands just 5-feet-4 and weighs 175 pounds and gets every ounce of production out of himself.
“He has that tenacity, gives 110 percent on every play,’’ Belcher said. “His teammates rally around him.’’
So how can he see over his linemen and know where the ball is going?
“He just reads and reacts. He is a film rat, so he knows what everybody’s assignments are, our team and the other team,’’ Belcher said.
The team has another impact player in Derron Brown, a 6-2, 180-pound junior defensive back.
Brown had six interceptions last year and this season has seven, including two for touchdowns, according to Belcher. He also is a receiver and a kickoff-return man.
“We have some guys who have stepped up, but what we really are is a team. It has been a team effort,’’ Belcher said.