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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Music is the sound of success for Desert Edge footballNov 14, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Football players at Goodyear Desert Edge began preparing for the 2012 season in the triple-digit temperatures of late spring and summer, lifting weights and running.
Coach Rich Wellbrock, meanwhile, had his usual assortment of duties, including serving as a DJ and censor.
The team likes to listen to iPod-type music during practice.
“I give ’em 75 songs to put on their list, but then I have to go back and search for the G-rated versions,’’ Wellbrock said. “It’s not really my kind of music, but I have to admit, some of it kind of grows on you . . . when (pausing for emphasis between words) . . . you . . . hear . . . it . . . every . . . day.’’
For the Scorpions, music is the sound of life. And this year, more than any other, it is the sound of winning.
That the music continued to flow during Wednesday’s (Nov. 14) practice was a sign that the team is still alive in the Division III playoffs. The Scorpions (12-0) meet Gilbert Williams Field (11-1) on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 7 p.m. in a semifinal game at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.
Desert Edge reached the semifinals in 2010 before falling to Phoenix Thunderbird. This team is more athletic, different, Wellbrock says, in the way it got here. The Scorpions rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to defeat two-time defending champion Scottsdale Saguaro 38-35.
“We’re playing for the community,’’ Wellbrock said. “It means as much to the teaching staff, administrators, all the people who work with these kids, as it does to us.’’
The approach of everyone in the football program is, he said, is “Don’t ask questions, just grab an oar and start rowing.’’
Jonathan Snyder, the team’s second-leading tackler at middle linebacker, is one of a handful of current seniors who were sophomores on the other semifinal team.
“It opened our eyes. We saw the potential that we had in front of us, and we have worked very hard ever since to get to this point,’’ he said.
“We have really come together this year. Everybody knows their role, what they need to do, and we have done it.’’
Williams Field has a strong team, Snyder said.
“We are good at stopping the run and pass. We have some athletic linebackers, and we have 11 boys flying to the football,’’ he said.
The Desert Edge offense is balanced with the running of Kyle Woolard, the passing of Sawyer Lung and the pass-catching ability of Elijah Marks and Ismael Murphy-Richardson.
According to MaxPreps, Lung has passed for 2,772 yards and 33 touchdowns with only six interceptions, and has rushed for eight TDs. His brother, Tanner, was the team’s quarterback during its run two years ago.
Marks has caught 47 passes for 1,222 yards and 17 TDs. And Murphy-Richardson has caught 27 passes for 722 yards and 11 TDs.
Woolard, a senior, has rushed for 1,477 yards and 13 TDs and has caught a pair of scoring passes. He also has three interceptions on defense and averages 25 yards on kickoff returns.
It is kind of difficult, Woolard said, not to think about the big win over Saguaro.
“We have to take it every day, day-by-day. We still have work to do,’’ he said.
“On offense, we just want to be balanced. For me, I’m just going to do what I’m supposed to do, hit the holes and stay disciplined. We have had tremendous blocking all year. You know there is going to be a good block that opens something up somewhere.’’
The team is expecting a big crowd for the game on Saturday, he said.
“Everybody is behind us. This is good for our community,’’ he said.
And, of course, there is that music.
“The music helps us stay loose. We don’t like to be up tight,’’ he said. “We all like to have fun, but we know when to turn on the switch.’’