Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Unbeatens Pima, Joy Christian meet for D-VI football titleNov 8, 2012
Northern Arizona has been home to the Division VI (1A) state football title since 2008. That changes this weekend.
The battle between eastern Arizona's Pima High (10-0) and Valley newcomer Joy Christian (10-0) decides a new small school (8-man) champion. Game time is 6 p.m.on Saturday (Nov. 10) at Sunnyslope High in Phoenix.
No. 3 seed Pima, which has eight small school titles in a proud football tradition, pits its running game and defense against Joy Christian's air attack and defense. Pima likes to operate out of tight-run sets; Joy Christian, last year's runner-up and in just its fourth year playing football, airs it out frequently.
Both teams average better than 60 points per game, which hasn 't slowed for No. 4 Joy Christian. The Eagles, under second-year coach Brian Cole, have wins of 74-24 (over defending champ Joseph City) and a 60-24 conquest of Valley Lutheran in last week's semis. A big second half keyed the win last week as Joy Christian pulled away using a 38-7 advantage after intermission to close out Valley Lutheran.
Joy Christian quarterback Nick Henderson has thrown 43 touchdown passes and one interception with two receivers he particularly likes to target --Trevor Deason and Aaron Martin. That duo has combined for 130-receptions and 35 of the 43 Henderson-TD passes. Two other receivers, Isaiah Goodspeed and Jerardo Samarripas, have another 655 yards and eight TDs between them.
Pima, also under the tutelage of a second-year coach and former player Jace Hancock, topped Salome in the quarterfinals (60-18) and doubled up Bagdad in the semis (36-17). Pima's offense revolves around running backs Jhett Judd and Clancy Schmidt and quarterback Wyatt Reynolds. Judd scored twice last week and Reynolds and Clancy once each. Pima used a couple long pass completions to aid two scoring drives. The Roughriders, like Joy Christian, used a strong second half to put away its semifinal foe Bagdad. Piima outscored Bagdad 20-7 in the second half.
Pima's last football title came in 2005, oddly enough, the same year Cole guided his former school North Canyon to the 5A-II state title.