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Verde Valley online voters made a local mother Goodwill of Central Arizona Football Mom of the Year by a 20,000-vote margin.

Candi Yatsinko, known as “Momyats” by the players and coaches of the Mingus Union High School football team, garnered 106,539 votes in the contest, an annual award sponsored by Goodwill to recognize moms who “go above and beyond to make every game, cheer for every student and help out whenever necessary,” according to Leslie Woodruff, Cox7 Arizona manager of programming and operations.

Candi Yatsinko stands Monday, Dec. 6, with members of the Mingus Union High School football team, who she calls “her boys.” Yatsinko was voted Goodwill of Central Arizona Football Mom of the Year.That’s a fair description of what Yatsinko has done for the MUHS football program during the last seven years, Head Coach Bob Young said. Young and his fellow coaches nominated Yatsinko for the award.

“She’s been a lifesaver for me,” Young said. “She organizes just about everything — booster club activities, meals for the players. This is a well-deserved award.”

“You can’t run a program without people like her,” John Behlo said. Behlo coached Yatsinko for three weeks before she participated in a punt, pass and kick competition associated with the contest.

Along with the other 19 moms from across central Arizona who competed, Yatsinko started from the 50-yard line, punted a football, then threw the ball from the point where the punt landed and finally kicked a field goal from that point.

After profiling each of the contestants and broadcasting the punt, pass and kick competition, Cox7 television viewers were asked to vote for their favorite mom, Woodruff said.

Yatsinko won with 106,539 votes. Her closest competition, a football mom from Fountain Hills High, received 86,033.

“I want to give a very special thank you to all my crazy voters who went without sleep for two days to make sure I won this title,” Yatsinko said. “It means a lot to me.”

Yatsinko said her supporters watched the votes add up online and noticed the next competitor was getting closer. The Maruaders responded to the challenge, organizing Team Candi, a group of supporters who worked in shifts to register online votes for their nominee.

“I’d surrender every single vote to watch my son and these boys play one more Mingus football game,” Yatsinko said. The Marauders were eliminated from the state champion football tournament Nov. 19.

Yatsinko said winning was a semisweet way to close out the year. Her son, Doug, a 17-year-old senior, is the last of her two boys to go through the MUHS football program. Married 23 years to husband Vinnie, Yatsinko is also mother to Nick, 19, a former Marauder.

“I’ve been team mom for this group of senior boys since 2003 when they were the Cottonwood Colts,” Yatsinko said. “They are like my own kids and are very special to me.”

If it wasn’t for an own-goal by the Mingus Union High School girls soccer team Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Marauders might be singing a different tune.

Instead, Mingus lost to rival Notre Dame Preparatory Academy, which is also ranked No. 2 in the state, 2-1.

“Sometimes that happens,” Mingus Head Coach Buddy Rhodes said in a phone interview Wednesday, Dec. 8. “We had some injuries and were shorthanded, and we still competed with one of the best teams in the state.”

At the Las Vegas Invitational this past weekend, Mingus lost senior forward Kayla Dixon to an ankle injury and she was unable to play in Tuesday night’s match against Notre Dame.

In the first half and down 2-0, Mingus lost another star in senior defensive standout Jesse Zaske, who injured her knee.

Mingus Union High School girls varsity soccer midfielder Lashea Taylor moves the ball downfield during a home match against Independence High School played on the Camp Verde High School field Nov. 30 (left). Mingus won the match with a score 5-0. The Marauders played Notre Dame Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and lost 2-1.“I don’t think we’re going to get her back for a while; it wasn’t good. We’ll send her to a doctor in the next day or two and see what the prognosis is,” Rhodes said.

With 10 minutes to go and the outcome very much in doubt, Mingus lost another top player in junior forward Torey Braly, who went up for a header and literally smacked heads with another player, causing her to get a nice bump on the head and a seat on the bench next to Dixon and Zaske.

“At the end of the match, we had one starter from last season on the field,” Rhodes said. “That speaks to how talented our young girls are coming up. They played great.”

Notre Dame scored in the 10th and 24th minutes to take the 2-0 lead heading into halftime. The second goal in the 24th minute is the one that Mingus scored on themselves, causing a disappointed look on many Marauders players’ faces.

In the second half, however, senior Lashea Taylor deflected in a direct kick from sophomore Nataly Escamilla to score Mingus’ first goal of the match, making it a 2-1 affair with just under 32 minutes to go.

The rest of the way, both teams were even but in the end, Mingus couldn’t overcome the 2-1 deficit and lost to a bitter rival.
“Notre Dame is a well-respected team. They are very good. It’s a tough loss for us but it happens,” Rhodes said.

Senior goalkeeper Courtney Hageman recorded five saves on the night while junior Taylor Brott filled in for her in the second half and recorded three saves.

With the loss, Mingus drops to 4-2 overall this season and should still be ranked in the top five in the 4A-II conference come next week when the rankings come out.

Next up, Mingus will travel to Thunderbird High School, which is ranked No. 1 in the 4A-II, on Thursday, Dec. 9.
Scheduled start time for the match is set for 6 p.m.

Entering his seventh year as head coach for the boys soccer team at Mingus Union High School, Cade Densmore believes this year’s squad will be one of the strongest he’s coached for the Marauders.

“The core of the team is back,” Densmore said after practice Monday, Nov. 22. “We have several starters back and some new kids that are solid.”

Sweeper Jonathan Witt pops the ball back downfield against North Canyon High School on Nov. 17.Despite Mingus’ 11-8 overall record in 2009-2010, the Marauders finished a perfect 5-0 in 4A-II Grand Canyon region play, claiming a title.

Within the region, Mingus recorded three shut-out victories and gave up only two goals.

The Marauders lost in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs in February to Palo Verde High School, a team that made it to the state finals before losing in penalty kicks to eventual state champion Cortez High School.

With 13 seniors having graduated last season, Densmore said many teams might underestimate the Marauders’ ability.

“I think we will be solid, and probably surprise a lot of teams. If we can stay healthy with the 15 or 16 kids we have on varsity, I think we can win the region again,” Densmore said.

Top returners for the Marauders include seniors Todd Runyan, Mike Rebstein and Austin Richardson along with juniors Jonathon Witt, Austin Strobel and Williams Dominguez.

Runyan and Witt are two of the better defenders in the region while Strobel is a solid midfielder and Rebstein should be one of the best at the forward position.

As for the newcomers, juniors Alex Contreres and Charlie Ramirez are both back after missing their sophomore campaigns for various reasons and sophomore Alan Mendoza has impressed the Mingus coaching staff, according to Densmore.

At the goalkeeper position, 5-foot, 6-inch sophomore Gilbert Quidera should be between the posts when Mingus begins play next week.

According to Densmore, two of the top goalkeepers slated to play for Mingus were ineligible, and are unable to play this year.
“If there’s an aspect of our team I’m a little concerned about it’s the goalkeeper position, but I still think Gilbert [Quidera] is going to do a great job for us,” Densmore said.

Mingus opens its regular season schedule at Independence High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Scheduled start time is set for 6 p.m.

The first home match for the Marauders will be Tuesday, Dec. 7, when Notre Dame Preparatory Academy comes to Cottonwood.

The Mingus Union High School football team got all it could  handle and more from No. 11 Greenway High School in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs Friday, Nov. 12.

Senior Eric Quesada comes down with a catch Friday, Nov. 12 (above). Senior Logan Couch goes for a tackle in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs against Greenway High School (right). The Mingus Union High School football team won, 28-21. Mingus is scheduled to play Notre Dame Preparatory in round two Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.Although the Demons almost pulled the upset card on Marauders fans in Cottonwood, No. 6 Mingus was able to keep its composure and come away with a close 28-21 victory, advancing to the second round.

The victory improves Mingus’ record to 9-2 overall this season. The Marauders will face an old rival in No. 3 Notre Dame Preparatory Academy in the quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 19.

Notre Dame easily defeated No. 14 Douglas in its first round game Friday, 51-6.

Longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young was pleased with the victory and how well his boys played.

“The guys fought their tails off tonight,” Young said after taking a picture with all his seniors at midfield after the game Friday. “Greenway is a great team and we knew they were going to be tough so I’m glad we were able to put some things together.”

With the game tied 21-21 with 22 seconds to go and Mingus on Greenway’s 2-yard line, Young called a timeout and a special play for senior Kevin Webb.

Quarterback Ronald Morones optioned to the outside and pitched the ball into the waiting hands of Webb, who carried it the remaining two yards for a touchdown.

When asked if he thought about sneaking it across the goal line, Young nodded his head.

“We thought about setting that play up with Kevin [Webb’s] sweep to the outside. We thought it would give us two good chances to score. If he didn’t get it, we were probably going to sneak it in ... or at least try to,” Young said.

Greenway stacked every big player they had on the nose of the football on the play, however, causing Young to call the outside sweep for his playmaker Webb.

The play worked, of course, and the rest is history.

Standouts offensively included Morones, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, hooking up with fellow senior teammate Carson Sandoval both times.

Webb had 12 carries for 38 yards and the last-second touchdown while recording five catches for 28 yards.

Mingus had only 110 yards on the ground Friday, and less than 200 yards all together, but according to Young, he couldn’t care less.

“Sometimes you have to win a game like this. Even though it was 28-21, both teams played decent defense and good special teams,” Young said.

Mingus punter Logan Couch was just as important as the defense or offense Friday with five punts averaging 42 yards and he placed three inside the 20-yard line. The accurate punting forced Greenway to go the length of the field more than they wanted to, making the Mingus defense that much easier.

With Greenway out of the way, Mingus turns its attention to rival Notre Dame. Usually the two rivals have met up in the state finals in the past, but this year, the two teams meet just a little earlier.

“Notre Dame is going to be very good; we’ll have to play well,” Young said.

Notre Dame will host the second-round game Friday night with a kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

Second-year Mingus Union High School girls basketball Head Coach Micah Swenson says his girls don’t have a lot of size this season, but that will benefit his style of play over the next four months.

“We want to get up and down. An up-tempo game is the way we want to play. We’re not very big so our guards will have to step up,” Swenson said.

Sophomore post player Seairah Ebert goes strong to the hole. Ebert should be solid for the Mingus Union High School girls basketball team in 2010-2011.The Marauders lost seven players to graduation in 2009-2010. The team finished 6-13 overall after making the 4A-II conference final four in 2008-2009.

Familiar faces won’t be the theme of the year when Mingus opens its season Wednesday, Dec. 1, against Coronado High School.

Mingus returns only two players from last season in seniors Kayla Storie and Shaylene Martinez. Both were elected captains this season and should be starters when the season gets under way tonight at 5:30 p.m.

Storie is a solid point guard and has been for quite some time and could get All-Region votes for the 4A-II Grand Canyon when the season comes to an end in February.

Storie and Martinez are also the only seniors to make the team this season, making for a young squad in Swenson’s second year.

Top newcomers include sophomore post player Seairah Ebert and junior Desi Ortiz while junior Taylor Jochim looks to play some point guard behind Storie.

Juniors Jonie Olson and Lindsey Koeppe have made the squad while sophomore Skyler Storie looks to follow in her older sister’s footsteps.
“We’re pretty guard-heavy so we’ll have to play well against the bigger teams,” Swenson said.

This season’s Grand Canyon region is stacked once again. Both Flagstaff and Page high schools should be atop the standings again, and both could make the final four like they did in 2009-2010.

Page beat Flagstaff in the final four in the 4A-II conference state tournament in February, 49-47, but lost to
No. 1 Seton Catholic High School in the championship, 57-34.

Both teams return their core players in 2010-2011, making everyone else in the Grand Canyon region, including Mingus, fight for third place.

The Mingus Union High School girls soccer team set out to win a 4A-II conference state championship in 2009-2010 and did so, defeating rival Flagstaff High School in the title game, 1-0.

Nine months later, the Marauders are at it again for the 2010-2011 campaign, but will have to go without nine senior starters who graduated in May.

“I know we lost a lot of kids but we’ve got some solid players coming back and some new girls that came out. We’re still a good team and still the defending champs,” Mingus Head Coach Buddy Rhodes said.

McKenzie Mabery leaps around a North Canyon High School player to take the ball during a Mingus Union High School varsity girls soccer scrimmage Nov. 17. The Marauders won the 4A-II conference state championship last season over Flagstaff High School, 1-0.In the last two seasons, the Marauders recorded an impressive 29-1 record, losing in the state championship match in 2009 in a shootout.

Last year, the Marauders finished the season a perfect 16-0 and claimed the state championship, capping it off with a thrilling 1-0 win over the Eagles.

Top returners this season for Mingus include seniors Kayla Dixon, Jesse Zaske and Courtney Hageman.

Hageman should find herself between the posts at the goalkeeper position when Mingus begins its schedule Tuesday, Nov. 30, against Independence High School.

“She’s been our backup the last few years because of Tessa Fanning being so outstanding, but now it’s her turn,” Rhodes said.

The Marauders have several returning juniors as well, which include Tory Braly, Mckenzie Mayberry, Anna Guerrero, Courtlin Sandoval and Ashley Roth.

Top newcomers for the Marauders include three seniors in Alan Backus, Amanda Randolph and Lashea Taylor along with sophomore standout Natalie Escamilla.

Escamilla was junior varsity most of her freshman year but got the thrill of her life when she scored with five minutes to go in the state championship match against Flagstaff in February, giving her team the title with a 1-0 win.

“We’ll be better than most people think. You don’t lose a senior class like we have without it hurting at least a little bit but the girls we have now are very good and we’ll be just fine,” Rhodes said.

As for the 2009-2010 title rematch, Flagstaff plays host to Mingus on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Chances are the two will be playing for the 4A-II Grand Canyon region title as well.

The Mingus Union High School football team wrapped up its regular season schedule Friday, Nov. 5, with an impressive
40-17 victory over Mohave High School.

Kevin Webb tries to keep his balance and avoid a tackler Oct. 29. The Mingus Union High School football team wrapped up its regular season with a 40-17 win over Mohave High School on Friday, Nov. 5.Friday’s big win cemented Mingus’ fifth straight 4A-II Grand Canyon region title. The Marauders have won 26 straight Grand Canyon region games dating back to the 2005 season.

A four-hour bus trip didn’t halt the Marauders from gaining momentum early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead.

Mingus led 28-6 at the half and added two more scores in the second half to improve its record to 8-2 overall this season and a perfect 4-0 in Grand Canyon region play.

The Marauders defense stole the show with three interceptions including a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tyler Christensen. Senior Eric Quesada had the other two interceptions.

Offensively, Mingus put up 320 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Ronald Morones completed seven of 12 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown while Kevin Webb had 12 carries for 121 yards.

Also getting in on the fun was running back Josh Longfellow who had 10 carries for 47 yards and two touchdowns.

With the regular season now complete, Mingus turns its attention to the 4A-II conference state playoffs which are scheduled to get under way Friday, Nov. 12.

Mingus earned a No. 6 seed in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point standings with its 8-2 record, and will play No. 11 Greenway High School in Cottonwood in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Demons finished the regular season with a 6-4 overall record but have lost three straight including a tough 26-23 loss at Washington High School this past Friday.

Mingus will host the first round playoff game Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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