Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Quarterback Gibson Limongello was one of Cactus Canyon's leaders this season. (Photo by Megan Wagner)

Quarterback Gibson Limongello was one of Cactus Canyon’s leaders this season. (Photo by Megan Wagner)

By Damian Lopez
Cougar News Blog

     Although this past football season wasn’t the team’s best, the team still thrived defensively.
     Despite the team’s 2-3 record and third-place finish, coaches were proud of how the players responded to their techniques and fit into their different systems. Offensively, the team started a little slow, but as soon as they were going full force, the offense became powerful.
     “We worked on making the offense a more well oiled machine and making sure everyone knew what their job was on every play,” said eighth grader Talon Izbicki.
     One big problem this year, as with past years, is grades. It took some of the players a few weeks to understand that the coaches were serious about being a student before an athlete. Some player fell off the roster because of this, but there were a good number of students that used football as motivation to keep their grades up.
     Like every year, the coaches wanted to maximize participation. This year, however, participation numbers were down. They had a great group of hard workers that made it to practice every day and worked like no other. Coaches were happy to find many seventh graders ready for their first season. As the season went on multiple leaders rose through the ranks and were dubbed “Captain of the Week.”
     “Gibson Limongello was our starting quarterback and strong safety,” said Head Coach Vance Miller. “He played lights out every week, never took a play off, and even played through illness. He was a true team leader.”
     Before their first game, the team practiced intensely for four-weeks. Players studied numerous plays and worked together on and off the field to talk about each of their roles. Many players said their goal this season was to bring another title home for the CCJH football team.
     “My goal this season was to help this team bring a championship back to this school, but no they were not met because we finished in third place,” said Izbicki. “I was still happy that I got to spend a great season together with my teammates.”
     Football season will come again next January with a new batch of seventh graders ready to help reclaim the Desert Middle School Athletic League title for Cactus Canyon.

Players prepare for a game by hitting the blocking sled. (Photo by Mariana Rios)

Players prepare for a game by hitting the blocking sled. (Photo by Mariana Rios)

By Meckensy Toro
Cougar News Blog

     Football season has finally arrived at CCJH. The players are training hard to improve from last year.
     Football is a very important part in these kids lives. So much that they take time out of their own schedule to practice and push themselves.
     “What football means to me is, it’s not really really a sport, more of a lifestyle, because we put our bodies through hard work year in and year out,” Talon Izbicki explains.
     The players have been training hard all year long. They practice on different teams outside of school like SEV Pride and Maricopa Heat. They put themselves through tough practice and conditioning.
     “I am preparing this season by pushing myself in conditioning so I can be ready for the games,” Sean Manell says.
     Many of the students have set personal goals that they hope to achieve this season. The coach has even set some goals of his own.
     “My goals are for every player to leave with a sense of accomplishment and wanting to come back next year,” says Coach Vance Miller.
     The boys hope win the league title after finishing third last season. The Cougars were champions two years ago.
     “My goals and expectations for this season are to win games and make it to the championships,” Michael Vannoy says.
     The Cougars have started the season 1-1 and will play again Thursday, Feb. 11, at Desert Wind.

Robert Adams runs for a first down in Cactus Canyons opening win over Mountain Vista.

Robert Adams runs for a first down in Cactus Canyons opening win over Mountain Vista.

By Riley Duncan
Cougar News Blog

      With a title in its hands for the past two years, the Cactus Canyon football team is hungry for a third. Though Coach Vance Miller’s focus is to just get better every day.
      After a win over Mountain Vista in the first game, the coaches are preparing for the games to come. With the team having less big players than last year, the Cougars will have to play and win a bit differently than last year, but Coach Vance Miller thinks he has a good group talentwise and is in high spirits.
      “It’s definitely a different group,” said Coach Miller. “We are smaller than last year, but we have good group of kids.”
      Two types of learning are expected in every season. One type of learning is in the skill section and the other is in character building. People will look at character for all of a player’s life, and it will make a big impact in his or life. Coaches expect players to get better every day both on the field and as people.
      “I expect two types of learning throughout the season, we spend five days a week working on skill sets like pass rushing, blocking, ball security,” said Coach Dennis Plzak. “A great coach once told me ‘The problem with opportunity is that it is disguised as hard work.’”
      Coaches are also working very hard to have connections with their players. They believe that in order to get the best out of every players, they need positive relationships.
      “I feel that my biggest strengths are my connections with players,” said Coach Mike Brown. “I feel that I know what it takes to get the best out of every player as long as they are willing to work hard.”
      The Cougars will play Desert Wind at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, at Maricopa High School.

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By Anna Gray
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon recently took home two championship trophies on the same day. On March 8 the tournaments that would determine the DMSAL champions of girls basketball and football were held at Apache Junction High School.
The title was the second consecutive for the football team, which had a rough start to their season and lost their first two games. But throughout the rest of season they continued to improve and never lost another game. As for girls basketball, they had a good season as well only taking home one loss.
“It was incredible. Honestly, the first two minutes of the championship game was amazing,” said girls basketball coach, Kim Grant. “ I don’t think I have ever coached or played on a team that dominated the start of game like our girls did.”
For both teams, it was difficult working their way up to winning the championship. A lot of hard work and dedication was put into the process. Both teams practiced about two hours a day four to five times each week.
“It took a lot of work. We worked hard each practice and by the end of each day we were exhausted,” said eighth-grade basketball player Carma Ihler. “In the end, though, it paid off.”
Winning both championships made the athletes of Cactus Canyon very proud. It was the first for the girls basketball team. Both teams will receive recognition by having a team picture hung in the gym.
After the 0-2 start, nobody expected the football players to win it all. Through hard work and dedication they were able to exceed their expectations.
“I hope our players realize that through hard work and dedication, they can accomplish great things,” said football coach Jerry Paterson.
“I learned that if everyone works as a team, you can win in the end,” said quarterback Blake Fitch.

The Cougars in action during their Jan. 31 home game against Desert Wind.

The Cougars in action during their Jan. 31 home game against Desert Wind.


By Mariahrose Manell
Cougar News Blog

Undefeated. That one word describes the season for the CCJH football team last year. They stuck together, an athletic brotherhood. This year is a little different, for example there are new faces on the team.
The Cougars have lost their first two games, 16-14 against Mountain Vista, and 24-22 against Desert Wind. But during those games they worked hard and lost as a team.
“(I learned) to work as a team,” says eighth grader Bradley Harte.
This year there was no cuts so whoever tried out made it, including some girls. Rosa Castro, Melanie Yakel, and McKelle Mercier were some of the few girls that made the team. This isn’t a first in cougar history. Danielle Moore, an eighth grader back in 2012, was the first girl on the football team.
During practices before the big games the players work on plays, and get into groups. They all practice really hard to learn all the plays and that should make them very successful.
“I hope they all learn that through hard work and dedication,” says Coach Jerry Paterson. “That all things are possible. Plus, I want them all to be productive members of society.”
Even with a rusty start, the Cougars hope they can turn the season around, just like last year. And with two close games, they will continue to be an exciting team for fans to watch.
“(We will) just try and encourage people to come out and watch us play,” said Paterson.

By Allison Snowball and Holly Stillman
Cougar News Blog

The Cactus Canyon football team had an undefeated season and won the Desert Middle School Athletic League title. As the team’s eighth graders have completed their careers as Cougars the group is now looking ahead to playing as Prospectors at Apache Junction High School.
Some of the team’s best players are eighth graders and most are planning to stay inside AJUSD and continue their football careers at AJHS. Coaches have been taking interest in improving the eighth graders’ talents because they see potential in them at the high school level.
“They are a very tight-knit group,” said CCJH head coach Jerry Paterson. “They play well together, and this group of kids really likes to hit which is a huge plus in football.”
The team is ultimately planning on sticking together and have a new confidence after their victorious season. They are aiming big and hoping with lots of practice that they can bring a title to AJHS, too.
“I’ve thought about it quite a bit (and) this is a very good, talented group,” said quarterback Naz Greer. “(The title) is a really big accomplishment for our program. If we stick together and work hard, we will win a title at AJHS.”
Apache Junction High School has only one football title – a Class 2A championship 1975. It would bring great honor to the team if they were the group to win another.
“It would mean alot to me,” Greer said. “It’s been awhile since AJHS has won a title.”
Some of the players are even setting goals beyond high school.
“Ten years from now I want to be playing college football and helping the people in my community,” said middle linebacker Penni Latuselu.

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By Holly Stillman
Cougar News Blog

The Cactus Canyon Cougars have kicked off the football season with two wins over Ruth Fisher and Hohokam.
While the team has played well on the field, it isn’t overconfident and knows there is still room to improve. Coach Jerry Patterson has used the first two game to see what strengths and faults the team has so the coaches can work out plans for the next games.
“We need to continue to work on our tackling and catching the football,” said Coach Patterson. ”Too many missed tackles and dropped balls.”
Most of the football players are very confident that they’ll continue to win games and have a good chance to win the league title.
“We had a chance to go the championships last year, but we blew it so this time we are going to work harder,” said eighth-grade wide receiver Kyle Gering.
The Cougars will try to remain undefeated Friday at 6 p.m. when they host Maricopa Wells at Davis Field.

Cougars go for third place

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Athletics, Football

By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

The Cactus Canyon Cougar football team will be playing in an away game against the Mountain Vista Wolverines on Wednesday, March 7, to determine which team will take third place in Desert Athletic Conference rankings.
The Cougars ended their regular season with a record of 4-3, due to the March 1 loss to the Wolverines. Had they won, they would have gone to the championship game.
However, the Cougars get a second shot at Mountain Vista and the team is still working hard and preparing for its very last game. While the Cougars fell one win short of their championship goal, they still have to play hard against Mountain Vista because this game still matters.
“While we fell short of reaching the championship game we did not fall short in our goal to grow collectively and individually as players and people,” said lineman coordinator Rich Milligan. “As players you often do not realize the improvement you are making day to day and week to week, but I can tell you it has been impressive watching you all grow and learn during the season. I am very excited about those players we will coach next year at the high school as well as being able to return and coach our seventh graders next year as eighth graders.”
The future of Apache Junction High School looks bright as the current eighth grades will move up to play Freshman football.
“I am very pleased with how the players reacted to our coaching this season,” said head coach Jerry Patterson. “Though I figured we would be in the championship game, we had some bad breaks in games that derailed our championship plans. I am very excited for the future of AJHS football.”
Kickoff time is for the third-place game 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at San Tan Foothills High School.

By Layla Heninger
Staff writer

On Thursday, March 1 at 6 p.m. the Cactus Canyon football team will be playing at Davis Field.
The Cougars will play Mountain Vista and, with a win, will earn a spot in the league championship game.
The game is being treated as a special event. Admission to the game will be $1 with all money donated to support Project Help. Having a late game allows parents and the community to come out and support the football program.
“I’m very excited for this Thursdays game,” said eighth-grade free safety Dominic Ricchetti.
The Cougars are confident that they will win in their home field against the Wolverines.
“I believe in our team that we can pull off a win,” said Ricchetti.

By Thayne Jackson
Staff writer

Cactus Canyon football will enter its final game of the season with four wins and two losses and a chance to play in the championship game.
The fourth quarter usually turns out to be the best quarter for the Cougars. They are able to make a winning touchdown or winning blocks against their opposing team. For example, Ricky Chaparro and Tanner Garcia worked together the night Feb. 9 against Desert winds, to help the Cougars win in overtime.
To be a good team it takes hard work and hours of dedication to the sport. The team was a little rough around the edges at the beginning of the season, but have smoothed out with weeks of hard practice.
“There was a great deal to learn so there was some confusion and time needed for players to learn where to line up and what to do,” said offensive coordinator Rich Milligan. “There is nothing right now that anyone does as well as they ever will- lots of room for improvement and that is exactly how it should be at this stage in our players development.”
The players are discovering that hard works really pays off in the long run.
“I think the team is doing very well,” said wide receiver Jack Burson. “We need to be more consistent and rely more on ourselves instead of others. However, I feel that the Cougars will go very far this season and hopefully take home a championship.”
The last game is Thursday Mar. 1 at 6 o’clock at Davis field.