Breaking News:


Over the past six years, the Mingus Union High School girls basketball program has struggled to a 12-12 season and five others of seven wins or fewer.

Mingus Union High School senior Lisa Jaimes drives the ball hard towards the basket with the Seligman High School defense trying to steal during a scrimmage held at Camp Verde High School. The scrimmage served as a scoreless warm-up round for the upcoming basketball season.
After two years of waiting, Briana Young, daughter of long-time Marauders head baseball and football coach Bob Young, was hired to change that.

“The first time I got this job, they asked me to be a co-head coach with Art Moncibaez,” recalled Young, the freshman volleyball coach who was hired as the sole replacement for Moncibaez’s son, Dave, at the end of October. “So I did have the job two years ago.

“I said, ‘Time’s on my side. I can wait.’ I figured he’d be gone when his granddaughter graduated. This is not the way I wanted the job, but this is how it happened, so better late than never, I guess.”

The Marauders have not enjoyed a season over .500 since Bob Young’s only season as their coach in 2009, leading them to 23 wins as well as a Final Four appearance in the state tournament.

“He’s coaching the JV and helping me out with varsity,” said Young, who coached the freshman team that year, just two years after graduating from MUHS. “Dad doesn’t seem to know how to say no, either. I’ve been carrying the same playbook around for the last eight years.”

In her first competition Friday, Nov. 20, at Camp Verde High School, Young re-introduced the defensive playbook her father inherited from the previous Marauders coach, Will Rider, to win in 2009.

“There’s some half-court pressing [and] trapping,” she said. “It’s a little more complicated. I like to mix it in with a zone and man-to-man to really confuse a lot of people. So it’s old to me, new to them.”

The results of those preseason scrimmages, although no official scores were kept, were an easy win over Seligman High School and a tie of CVHS, according to Young — “which was pretty good, considering I’ve had the varsity for two weeks,” she said. “It was a confidence booster for the girls.”

For the full story and girls basketball schedule, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 25, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

By 0.31 of a second, Caleb Furey broke the Mingus Union High School record in the 100-yard breaststroke to go out on a high note for the Marauders at the Division II state swimming championships Saturday, Nov. 7.

The Mingus Union High School swim teams' seasons have come to a close after the Marauders fielded two finalists Nov. 7 at the Division II state championships. Front row, from left, are sophomore Skylar Mohr and senior Emily Dorris; middle row, from left, are freshman Hannah Arwine, freshman Rylie Burke and freshman Dallin Gordon; back row, from left, are senior Caleb Furey, senior Sean Williams and freshman Fletch Fangman.

“Last race of my high school career was my best, so yeah, I think it was pretty big,” said Furey. “Day one, I didn’t perform how I wanted to.”

With fellow senior Sean Williams — who overcame a partially-torn labrum for two top 20 finishes — Furey was the only Marauders swimmer to make it to the finals on the second day of State.

“It was excruciating to swim with,” said Williams, who still finished 12th and 17th in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, respectively. “I tried to change it up so it wouldn’t hurt as bad, which I guess probably wasn’t a very good idea. It would’ve hurt if I swam normally.”

While Williams “might pursue a different direction” despite letters of interest from 15 colleges, Furey is still keeping his options open for next season, in which he hopes to continue swimming competitively.

Williams also anchored relay teams in the 200-yard freestyle and individual medley that, with the help of freshmen Fletch Fangman and Dallin Gordon, achieved their best times of the season at State, according to Furey.

“Dallin stepped up, and is showing some very fast times,” he said. “With this group of guys, we dropped some time and swam best times in both of the events, as a group.”

Gordon, who is aiming for an individual qualifying time next season in the 500-yard freestyle, felt as late as two weeks ago that he wasn’t going to compete in the postseason.

Gordon stepped into the role vacated by sophomore Gunner Tillemans, who hurt his back in September and couldn’t make it back to compete by the end of the season.

“I didn’t expect so many people there,” added Fangman, whose goal next season is to qualify in the 200-yard individual medley. “It was kind of overwhelming. It was really big.”

The only State girls event to involve Marauders swimmers was the 200-yard freestyle relay. Senior Emily Dorris anchored a four-person team that improved substantially on its qualifying time.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 18, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

What passing game Mingus Union High School had did not travel with the football team Friday, Nov. 6, to Verrado High School in Buckeye.

Junior Josh Scalf, No. 78, leads the Mingus Union High School defense as it tracks down the running back from Peoria High School. Prior to the first round of the Division III state tournament, the Marauders’ only loss was Sept. 11 to the Panthers at home. But a second-half rally Friday, Nov. 6, by MUHS came up six points short, ending the season at Verrado High School in Buckeye.
Staying home with it, at least for the first half of the Division III state tournament first-round game, was any scoring punch.

“We just didn’t play well,” head coach Bob Young summed up his offense’s first-half effort. “We missed a lot of tackles and a lot of blocks. In football, when you do that, bad things happen.”

Coming up empty in both of those statistical columns usually results in a loss in the first round of the Division III state tournament — as it did for MUHS against the Vipers, 20-14.

“We couldn’t throw the ball at all, and we couldn’t protect the quarterback to throw the ball,” Young said. “The first pass we tried to complete was dropped. We had an interception, then got sacked on three or four others.

“I don’t think it ultimately cost us this game, because we could still run. But we probably win had we played a good first half [or] completed three or four of those.”

In his final football game as a Marauder, quarterback Jordan Upham ran in a touchdown from 38 yards out as part of a 118-yard effort on the ground that put him among the top 20 rushers in Division III.

“Unfortunately, the hardest thing to replace is usually the quarterback, so it’s going to be hard to replace Jordan,” Young said. “The next-hardest is the offensive line — those are the areas we have to focus on.”

For the full story and final divisional leaders, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 11, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

With a berth in the Division III state tournament on the line for Barry Goldwater High School, the Bulldogs overwhelmed Mingus Union High School with 39 kills over four games Thursday, Oct. 29.

Senior Tori Fanning gets under the ball as it comes over the net for Mingus Union High School. Fanning is one of just three seniors MUHS head coach Loraine Roethler will have to replace next fall as she attempts to improve on a 3-14 varsity record.
With the 15-25, 18-25, 25-17, 19-25 loss, the Marauders [3-14] ended their season with three straight losses to Division III, Section VII opponents seeded in the state volleyball tournament Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Prescott Valley Events Center.

“We had a lot of really talented girls who played hard,” head coach Loraine Roethler said. “I was hopeful, but the last teams we played were some of the best schools in the state for volleyball, historically.”

Even though Roethler is going to miss libero Tori Fanning, setter Kaylee Gordon and defensive specialist Ailyn Perez “a lot,” the rookie coach was encouraged by a team that improved by two wins over the previous fall even though it had never played together before.

“We were finally playing well together toward the end of the season,” she said. “That’s our tendency: The girls are a great end-of-game team. They don’t give up.”

So she was pleasantly surprised when MUHS got its first sectional victory Oct. 8 at home over North Canyon High School, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22 and 25-14.

“I knew the girls had the ability to,” she said. “They were aware our season was winding down, and they started coming together the second [and] third game. They get a rhythm going, and they just get all fired up.”

But even though MUHS got through to win a game at Goldwater, the previous week of three shutouts Oct. 20 through 27 killed the momentum of the North Canyon victory.

That is why Roethler wants to use offseason open gyms and summer camps with Bradshaw Mountain High School to strengthen team defense.

For the full story and more color photos, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 4, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Quarterback Jordan Upham and fellow senior Alec Phyfer combined for nearly 250 yards rushing and two second-half touchdowns as Mingus Union High School completed its undefeated tear through Division III, Section VIII with a 27-7 win at Prescott High School.

Juan Ruiz takes a handoff from fellow Mingus Union High School junior Trey Meyer. As a backup quarterback to senior Jordan Upham and as the  Marauders’ kicker and punter, Meyer propelled MUHS to the Division III, Section VIII title by averaging nearly 50 yards a boot in a 27-7 win at Prescott High School, pinning the Badgers inside their own 20-yard-line on all four of his punts Friday, Oct. 30.
“Actually, our last two games, we played our two best games,” head coach Bob Young said. “I’m proud of that, because that’s what you want — to be playing your best at the end of the year.”

Upham and Phyfer split 43 carries for 248 yards in the win, which was the seventh straight for the Marauders [9-1], who captured their first sectional title Friday, Oct. 30, since Young’s 2011 team, which won 12 straight before losing to Tucson Santa Rita High School in the state semifinals.

“Like Flagstaff, it was a complete game,” Young said. “They’ve done a real good job of that the last couple weeks, when there was a lot of things on their mind.

“It was just one of those nights where all three phases really were in control.”

The reward is a No. 10 seed in the postseason and a trip to Buckeye to play seventh-seeded Verrado High School at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had to travel to start things,” Young said. “We expected that, after looking at the power rankings, we weren’t moving up.

“Sometimes, it’s good to get overlooked. That’s how you continue to get better in the tournament.”

For the full story, more photos and final standings, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 4, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

No Mingus Union High School football season may have ever come down more to one game than Friday, Oct. 30.

Pile-driving the Eagle ballcarrier, Mingus Union High School linebackers Tyler Kelly, Cole Phelps and Pete Kelly, from left, teamed up to dump Flagstaff High School, 41-7, on Friday, Oct. 23. Pete Kelly celebrated Senior Night with an 18-yard scoring run, in addition to his sack and five other tackles, while sophomores Phelps and Tyler Kelly combined for 21 tackles to lead the team and Division III, Section VIII. The Marauders go for the section title Friday, Oct. 30, at Prescott High School.
That is when the 8-1 Marauders will show if they have what it takes to: Win at Prescott High School; finish undefeated in sectional play; capture their first sectional title since 2012; and finish with their best record since the Arizona Interscholastic Association went to divisional play.

“Honestly, the way those power points go, like I told the kids — we know that we win, we make it in,” said head coach Bob Young after rolling, 41-7, over Flagstaff High School on Senior Night. “We lose, we’re on the bubble.

“It’s a playoff game for Prescott; it’s a playoff game for us, too.”

With his first win over the Badgers since knocking them out of the 2012 postseason, Young would finish with his best MUHS record in six years, when his state semifinalists rolled undefeated through Division II of the 4A Conference on the way to a 12-1 record.

“I’ve seen the film on Prescott already. I know what they can do,” Young said. “It’s more about what we do than anything.”

The 11th-ranked Marauders set up the Division III, Section VIII showdown by outscoring their last three opponents, 109-7, and using virtually every skill player in a 21-0 first half Friday, Oct. 23, at MUHS.

“Flagstaff beat Prescott, so that got everyone’s attention,” Young said after the Eagles handed the Badgers their second loss, 36-6, Oct. 16. “We had a really good week of practice.”

Returning at quarterback was senior Jordan Upham, whose three-yard run opened the scoring with 4:45 to play in the first quarter.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 28, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

With a 30-0 triumph Friday, Oct. 16, at McClintock High School, Mingus Union High School got its fifth straight win, third shutout of the fall and a one-game lead atop Section VIII with two games to play.

Sophomore linebacker Cole Phelps, No. 5, hunts down the Cactus Shadows High School quarterback early in Mingus Union High School’s opening win to its season Aug. 21. The Marauders defense recorded their second straight shutout Friday, Oct. 16, at McClintock High School in Tempe.
Just don’t try talking about those Division III playoff implications with head coach Bob Young.

“I don’t want to hear about it,” he said. “All we’re going to work on is playing football.

“What we’ve done the last two weeks, Saturday morning I go over different playoff scenarios with them. I talk about what happens if we win, or if this team loses. Then we stop talking about it.”

Minus senior quarterback Jordan Upham, the Marauders [7-1] continued their reign atop the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power rankings for Division I through III high schools in Northern Arizona.

In his place, kicker and backup quarterback Trey Meyer scored the first 10 points of the game on a three-yard run and 26-yard field goal following another slow start. MUHS has not scored in the first quarter in all of sectional play, nearly a month.

“Like I told the team, we were flat-lined the last couple weeks,” Young said. “We need to focus on fundamentals — blocking and tackling.”

Meyer’s punting and kicking leg has been one of the Marauders’ overlooked assets, even after racking up a total of 457 combined yards against the Chargers, pinning them twice inside their 20-yard-line.

Meyer found junior tight end Trevor Galloway on a 50-yard play-action pass, which set up senior Alec Phyfer’s score from three yards out with 2:16 remaining before halftime.

Sophomore Cole Phelps added second-half scoring scampers of two and 24 yards as six MUHS rushers combined for 330 yards on the ground.

With as little as the Marauders’ defense was giving McClintock, the offense — besides the bomb to Galloway — didn’t need to do anything else.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 21, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

First place in Division III, Section VIII belongs to the Mingus Union High School varsity football team after a 38-0 road pasting of Coconino High School.

The Marauders also advanced to No. 12 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power rankings heading into their final regular-season game outside their section Friday, Oct. 16, at McClintock High School in Tempe.

Senior quarterback Jordan Upham fakes the handoff to Mingus Union High School junior running back Juan Ruiz against Bradshaw Mountain High School as senior Anthony Accurso, left, goes in motion. The Marauders are ranked No. 12 in Division III and have first place in Section VIII all to themselves after shutting out Coconino High School on the road, 38-0. They will travel to McClintock High School in Tempe on Friday, Oct. 16.
Prescott High School, where the Marauders will play their season finale Friday, Oct. 30, is also 6-1 but is ranked 17th and has only played one sectional game.

Of all the high school teams in Divisions I through III, no Northern Arizona program is ranked higher than head coach Bob Young’s Marauders [6-1], which rode three touchdown runs by senior quarterback Jordan Upham to victory Friday, Oct. 9, in Flagstaff.

“It’s been a while,” said Upham, who was the leading rusher for MUHS, averaging nearly 11½ yards a carry for a total of 148 yards to go with 101 yards passing. “We still have more to prove.”

After a first-quarter stalemate against the last-place Panthers, Upham bookended the second quarter with scoring runs.

“We all agreed with coach Young at halftime: This was the worst half of football we’d played all year,” Upham said. “I don’t know if we thought it was going to be an easy win, but our intensity was low. We came out pretty flat.”

But after Upham’s eight-yard run got MUHS on the scoreboard to begin the second quarter, Upham wasn’t ready to take a knee and head into the locker room with 18 seconds to play before halftime.

“It was one of those things where they either have to tackle me, the fullback or the slotback,” he said. “Our slots and fullbacks were being covered, so I just read it and made the big play.”

He sprang a 71-yard run to give MUHS a two-touchdown lead — a scoring cushion Upham would further exploit with just 2:10 elapsed in the third quarter.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 14, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Online Poll

Should the Verde Valley move to secede from Yavapai College?

Verde Valley Weather

United States
42 °F Cloudy