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Bob Young has been coaching a long time, and he’s got it down.

Senior Tristan Clark breaks through the line and into the secondary during Mingus Union High School’s 42-15 season-opening win Friday, Aug. 21, against visiting Cactus Shadows High School at Bright Field. Clark carried the football eight times for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Prior to Mingus Union High School’s season opener against visiting Cactus Shadows High School, he talked up the opponent, noting that the Falcons had plenty of experience and a size advantage in the trenches.

Then, after his Marauders flattened the Falcons, 42-15, on Aug. 21, he downplayed his team’s apparent dominance.

“We’ll find a lot of things we need to work on,” he said with a smile, referring to studying game film this week. “We had special teams breakdowns and pass protection was a weakness.”

However, the coach was impressed — though not surprised — by the performance of Jordan Upham.

The senior quarterback ran for 185 yards on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also completed four of six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s that kind of guy,” Young said. “Our offense is tailored around him.”

It didn’t take long for Upham  to impact the game. On his second play from scrimmage, Upham ran an option right, kept the ball and broke loose for a 75-yard touchdown run.

The extra point was blocked, but the Marauders had a 6-0 lead just 43 seconds into the game.

During the preseason, Young said his defense looked sharp. It carried over into the game, with five turnovers forced — three fumble recoveries and two interceptions — and six sacks.

After Upham’s opening score, the Falcons got good field position on the kickoff, then advanced on a defensive holding penalty. However, Mingus stopped them and forced a 58-yard field goal attempt that came up well short.

The next drive, in a classic bend-but-don’t-break series, the defense allowed the visitors to drive to the Mingus 31, but junior Aizik Romero stripped the ball and the Marauders took over on the 27.

The offense spread the ball around on the ensuing drive. Senior Anthony Accurso caught a 21-yard pass; senior Alec Phyfer ran for five yards, followed by a 12-yard run by Upham. Then, senior Pete Kelly carried the ball eight yards to the Falcons’ 19-yard line, which set up the Marauders second touchdown, a run by senior Tristan Clark — a “great perimeter guy,” Young said.

Clark would finish the night with 106 yards on eight carries. The Marauders ran for almost 400 yards and averaged over eight yards per carry overall.

For the full story, more photos and sectional standings, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 26, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

While defense is a source of confidence for Mingus Union High School heading into its opener Friday, Aug. 21, at home against Cactus Shadows High School, the offensive line needs to step up, head coach Bob Young said.

Senior quarterback Jordan Upham has been executing a strong running attack but didn’t receive enough protection from his line to have time to pass, Young said.

“That’s the big thing right now — mainly, giving the quarterback time to throw,” he said. “Our offensive line did a nice job run blocking, but pass pro[tection], we had some breakdowns.”

Junior Stephen McClanahan accepted his share of responsibility in not giving Upham at least three seconds to throw.

“I was one of those guys,” he said. “I need to work on my pass protection, definitely.”

Senior line mate Nathan Jones believes success there is a simple matter of mechanics.

“We’ve just been working really hard on pass-block technique,” he said. “We work really well together as a line, have really good unity.”

The Marauders’ defense gave up no touchdowns Wednesday, Aug. 12, in 60 scrimmage plays against Alhambra, Copper Canyon and Sandra Day O’Connor high schools.

“Our first and second defense looked sharp,” Young said. “That was encouraging.”

He was also heartened by what senior slotback Tristan Clark and junior tight end Trevor Galloway showed they were capable of doing on pass plays.

“If [defenses] are crowding the box with eight or nine guys, we’ve got to be able to throw the ball a little bit,” he said. “Our offense is dictated on taking what defenses give us.”

After watching film on the Falcons, who, along with MUHS, were reclassified by the Arizona Interscholastic Association from Division II to III, Young knows his team will need to respond to a size disadvantage.

“They’re going to be bigger than us on the line of scrimmage,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of guys coming back — seven on offense and, I think, seven on defense.”

Photos of the Mingus Union High School varsity football team in preparation for its home opener Friday, Aug. 21, against Cactus Shadows High School were not available to the Cottonwood Journal Extra. Photographer Zack Garcia could not take pictures of practice Monday, Aug. 17, as he had been ejected from campus earlier by Athletic Director Allen Mitchell in violation of First Amendment protections of the media and the public's right to know.

A Mingus Union High School long-distance runner was transported by paramedics Monday, Aug. 17, to the emergency room at Verde Valley Medical Center with a case of heat exhaustion.

On Monday afternoon, Aug. 17, during track and field practice, a Mingus Union High School long-distance runner suffered heat exhaustion, according to school officials. Coaches called an ambulance, and the girl was hooked up to oxygen before being taken to Verde Valley Medical Center for treatment.
“I just know that she ran a little bit, not too much,” said new cross-country head coach Tiffany Goettl, who was at practice with the runner. “She felt sick and dizzy and sat down. The next thing we knew, they took her up to the ice bath.

“She was, like, hyperventilating. I don’t know if she was scared or what, but she had a hard time getting her breathing under control.”

So at about 5 p.m., the Marauders cross-country runner was removed from a practice at which temperatures reached close to 105 degrees, a source close to the situation said.

The source classified the injury as not purely related to the heat but rather heat exhaustion, which is brought on by multiple factors such as not having eaten much before practice.

“That makes sense,” Goettl said. “As coaches, we harp on that with the kids constantly. They need to watch that — it’s so crucial.”

Medical precautions were taken upon initial treatment, but while the runner was not suffering from a purely athletic injury such as heatstroke, it could have played a role in the runner’s incapacitation, the source added.

“If it was related to food, water and sleep, it’s a good example for the other kids,” Goettl said. “I’m not a doctor, but she’s not going to run for a couple days.”

The runner was treated in the emergency room at VVMC and released after an hour, Goettl said. She is expected to return to practice Thursday, Aug. 20.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 19, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Heading into a four-team scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Alhambra High School, Bob Young feels he has filled most of the slots for Mingus Union High School on offense and defense.

Quarterback Antoine Zabala pivots to pitch back to fellow freshman Alex Nelson, in motion second from left at Mingus Union High School football practice last week. Although Nelson and Zabala are battling just to stay at fourth on the Marauders’ depth chart going into a four-team scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Alhambra High School, they are also head coach Bob Young’s only varsity reinforcements after the MUHS junior varsity team cancelled its season last week.
“We knew our defense would be ready, with all the starters coming back,” said the 30-year Marauders head football coach. “But the offense is also ahead of schedule.”

Even though he had to cancel most of the junior varsity season despite an influx of 35 freshmen — “We started the year with seven sophomores, so I wasn’t able to justify” a full JV schedule — Young was pleased with the execution of the offense as a unit after the Red-Gray scrimmage Friday, Aug. 7.

“It was real crisp,” he said. “Usually, in scrimmages, you have all sorts of penalties and other mistakes. We had just one turnover in our scrimmage and two penalties, total. That was great.”

With at least 60 scrimmage plays, on offense and defense, split between the Marauders, Alhambra, Copper Canyon and Sandra Day O’Connor high schools beginning at 6 p.m., only a handful of slots, at most, remain for players to contend for playing time on Young’s two-deep depth-chart.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 12, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

With the opener to Bob Young’s 30th season as head coach of Mingus Union High School football just 2½ weeks away, Jordan Upham declared a return to Mingus football.

School is back in session, and football preseason training has begun. The Mingus Union High School Marauders took to the field after school for practice. They have a scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 12, and open their season Friday, Aug. 21.
“Our motto this year is ‘Rise Again,’” said the senior, who will start at quarterback in a scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Alhambra High School at 6 p.m. “We all want to go better than 5-5 and stuck at mediocrity, that’s for sure.”

That has been the Marauders’ record each of the last two seasons against mostly Division II competition.

“I think things are going to change again, which stinks,” Young said. “I wish they’d get something and stick with it.”

Realignment to Division III by the Arizona Interscholastic Association may only last a year for Young, who has his sights set higher in preparation for the MUHS season opener at home Friday, Aug.21, against Cactus Shadows, of Cave Creek.

“I’m excited about the schedule,” Upham said. “It’s definitely a tough one. No easy games.”

After a largely successful early June jaunt through 56 seven-on-seven competitions in Southern California, the Marauders have also been practicing five hours each weekday to ensure they rise above another .500 finish.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 5, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

If the first year is always the hardest for a head coach, the second year is usually the most revealing.

Head Coach David Beery, left, joins his Mingus Union High School varsity boys basketball team in celebrating a 3-1 record in their summer tournament at Point Loma University in San Diego. From left, juniors Jordan Pollock, Issac Escalante and Victor Anaya, seniors Ashton Loring, Fabian Navarro, Bryce Feher, Gerardo Angulo, Evan Snyder and Kyle Houston, and junior Miles Tapija.

So Mingus Union High School head basketball coach Dave Beery hopes the results the Marauders program achieved this summer will reflect well on the season to come.

After a rookie season in which Beery and the Marauders struggled to finish above .500 in Division II, the MUHS basketball program put together a 33-12 record over the month of June in five different locations — most of which split the Marauders into a younger team and a varsity team.

“We usually played with an A and a B team, based upon experience,” Beery said. “We also brought freshmen teams to Camp Verde and Scottsdale Christian [Academy].”

Although the Marauders came up short in final scrimmages at both the Eagles and Cowboys on June 15 and 23, they would win more than 30 other contests in round-robin tournaments at CVHS, Grand Canyon University, Sedona Red Rock High School and San Diego, where MUHS won three out of four games at a Point Loma Nazarene basketball camp.

“The summer is all about growth and improvement,” Beery said. “You don’t win any championships in June, but obviously we always step on the court wanting to compete and win. Our focus was mostly on improving chemistry and figuring out our identity as a team.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, July 29, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

The name may not stay the same, but Tom McCarty’s career path continues to follow in some familiar footsteps.

Tom McCarty, a recent graduate of Mingus Union High School, drives a double for the Marauders. McCarty led all Division II, Section V batters with a .556 average and 43 runs batted in. McCarty, like his older brother, Shaun, will play shortstop at Paradise Valley Community College.
He started at Mingus Union High School as “Tommy,” then grew into “Tom,” before becoming Thomas McCarty after being named to the all-Division II first team and the Section V Player of the Year.

“It’s always been Thomas,” McCarty said. “I’ve got to go with the name on my birth certificate.”

He will follow the name on an earlier birth certificate, attempting to beat out four other freshmen to start at shortstop at Paradise Valley Community College — just like his brother, Shaun, a two-time MUHS state champion shortstop.

“He got first team all-State and all-Section, but he never got section Player of the Year,” McCarty said. “The highest I got before this was all-section honorable mention, so I don’t know — something just happened. Going from that to playing in an all-star game was a dream come true.”

McCarty ended his senior season tied atop the divisional leaderboard with 43 runs batted in — helped by his three home runs that were second-most in the section.

“I couldn’t even tell you how I did it,” he said. “I guess the wind was blowing out on the right days for home runs.”

He blew up in his final season to score a section-leading 35 runs off of a .556 batting average, tying the MUHS record for triples in a season with eight.

For the full story and more photos, please see the Wednesday, July 22, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Junior Megan Goettl finished fifth in two events at the Meet of Champions to end what had been a remarkable run for girls track and field at Mingus Union High School.

Pole vaulting was part of every track practice at Mingus Union High School this season. Senior Allison Whitworth placed seventh in the event at the Division III state championships May 9, while junior Chance Gribauskas placed fifth for the boys.
At 2:23.69, Goettl ran the 800 meters four seconds slower May 13 than her silver-medal winning performance at the Division III state championships, a personal best in the event.

“Megan was very impressive down the stretch,” head coach Yancey DeVore said. “The second half of the season, she’s just been lights-out.”

Her 5:10.26 in the 1,600 meters at the Brophy Sports Campus in Phoenix was a season-best, finishing nearly a full second faster than her state runner-up effort in the event.

“She’s certainly a smart runner — very coachable,” DeVore said. “The 800 wasn’t really her best, but her times continue to go down.”

She was the Marauders’ top finisher May 8 and 9 at Mesa Community College, as a streak of three state championships came to an end for the 12th-place girls.

“It would’ve been great to get a fourth one,” DeVore said. “Our kids would’ve loved it, but as long as they put their best effort in, I’m proud of them, regardless.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, May 20, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.