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The grim reality of how tough the game of football is sank in quickly Friday, Sept, 10, despite all the glitz and glamour of a new turf field and a big Marauders victory over Payson High School.

Mingus Union High School Senior Quarterback Nick Alred, who suffered a severe injury to his leg during the second play of the third quarter Friday, Sept. 10, had season-ending surgery the morning of Saturday, Sept. 11, to repair a dislocated ankle, fractured fibula and two torn ligaments.Senior quarterback Nick Alred, who suffered a severe injury to his leg during the second play of the third quarter Friday, had season-ending surgery the morning of Saturday, Sept. 11, to repair a dislocated ankle, fractured fibula and two torn ligaments.

“He’s in a lot of pain right now. Anytime something happens like this you just hold your breath [hoping] it isn’t serious but this time, it was,” longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.

The Mingus Union High School football team had taken a 19-6 lead going into halftime but the shock of its senior leader getting hurt only a few minutes into the second half had an effect on the players’ concentration.
Mingus failed to score in the third quarter and led 19-12 going into the fourth but two touchdowns by the Marauders in the final period put the game away, 33-12.

With the victory, Mingus improves its record to 2-0 [0-0, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall on the season.

Taking the place of Alred in the second half of the Payson game, senior Ronald Morones worked on his handoff game most of the second half as he passed the ball only two times, going 0-2.

The Mingus ground game wasn’t half bad against the 3A conference powerhouse Longhorns, rushing 55 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior Nick Alred runs for a touchdown against Payson High School in the Marauders home opener Friday, Sept. 10. Mingus won the game, 33-12, but lost Alred for the season after he was seriously injured on the second play of the second half. Alred dislocated his ankle, fractured his fibula and tore two main ligaments.Senior Juan Gonzalez led all Mingus running backs with 15 carries for 123 yards and one touchdown while Kevin Webb had 14 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.

“We ran the ball real well. Juan [Gonzalez] ran off tackle most of the game and we were successful with it,” Young said.

Defensively for Mingus, the Marauders held the high-powered Payson offense to only 12 points while recording three sacks and two interceptions.

Gonzalez and Nate Westcott each had a sack while Carson Sandoval and Cruz Chavez each had an interception. Westcott also led the team in tackles with 10.

As for the quarterback situation, Young announced Morones would get the start this week when the Marauders play host to Bradshaw Mountain High School on Friday, Sept. 17.

“Ronald [Morones] has been Alred’s back up for four years now. He’s going to have to step up and make plays. It’s his time,” Young said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Two crews were working around the clock to prepare Mingus Union High School’s new track and field for the Marauders’ first home football game against Payson High School Friday, Sept. 10, starting at 7 p.m.

Under the direction of Mingus Union High School District special projects manager John Behlow, the day crew was clipping stencils into the hot synthetic turf Thursday, Sept. 2, marking areas where numbers indicating yard lines were to be stitched.

Laborer Rogelio Morales shaves the field marker numbers out of the artificial turf of the new football field currently being installed at Mingus Union High School on Friday, Sept. 3. The new field cost the school district $1.2 million.Behlow’s biggest concern Thursday was an enormous red M which still had to be cut and then sewn into the center of the field.
“It will be tight, but I believe we’re going to make it,” Behlow said.

Rain delayed paving of the new, nationally certified track until this week, but Behlow again expressed confidence the project would be completed on time and under budget.

The new design, with its 100 meter curves and 400 meter total length, will allow MUHS to host official track meets for the first time in years, Superintendent Tim Foist said.

The $1.2-million project was financed through a lease-purchase arrangement with contractors that allows the district to spread payments over five years.

A project of this scope would normally take three months to complete but contractors are expected to finish in less than seven weeks, due in large part to Behlow’s efforts, Foist said.

“John [Behlow] has saved the district literally thousands of dollars on this project,” Foist said.

Behlow, who regularly works 18-hour days at the field, slept on a cot at the sports complex many nights to supervise crews in their work. He has poured and finished concrete and completed many other tasks, relieving the contractor of duties that would otherwise require diversion of resources to finish.

The savings made it possible for contractors to perform additional paving and concrete work beyond what was originally contemplated for the project, Behlow said.

A coach for the Marauders’ kickers and receivers, Behlow has a vested interest in seeing the field is ready in time for Friday’s game against Payson.

Behlow initiated the 24-hour work schedule starting Aug. 31, about one month into the project, which first broke ground June 28.

He displayed a notebook jammed full of detailed notes Thursday showing what tasks were completed each day. The notebook gives an indication of the scope of the project.

According to Behlow’s notes, contractors have hauled more than 220 large truckloads of specially mixed sand and other materials to the work site since June. Hundreds of white plastic bags filled with sand and tiny rubber pellets hauled to the scene waited to be spread on top of the turf Thursday.

A crew of nine workers labored overnights under the stadium lights in recent weeks, stretching and pulling sheets of five-yard swatches of synthetic turf into place. The sections are stitched together and pressed into position with a road roller.

Foist, who regularly delivers breakfast to the night crew and can sometimes be found wielding a rake or shovel to help out, said the new track and field “promises a great future for our community.”

Public access to the track and field through controlled turnstiles will be permitted once the project is completed, Foist said.

Behlow paused to survey the work Thursday, then pointed at other projects he has personally been involved with during his 30 years with the district, from the construction of baseball fields, to new landscaping at the entrance to the school.

He gave credit to many others who worked on the project, including Foist, the MUHSD Governing Board, contractors and volunteers.

“I want to make sure all the people who donated money and time and all the people who worked on this get a thanks from me,” he said. “This is for the kids.”

The Mingus Union High School football team may have the highest expectations they’ve ever had coming into this season.

Although Mingus football players and their coaching staff strive to play for a state championship every year, they usually don’t have the returning horses they have this season for a run at the title.

Quarterback Nick Alred looks for a receiver downfield in the annual red-white scrimmage game Friday, Aug. 20. Mingus travels to Alhambra High School on Friday, Aug. 27, for a scrimmage game.“We’ve got all our skill players back and we had a great year last year. The boys worked hard in the weight room in the off-season and they are ready to get things going,” longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.

In 2009, the Marauders rattled off 12 straight wins to play themselves into the 4A-II conference state semifinals before losing to Santa Rita High School, 24-14.

Finishing the season two wins shy of a state championship and 12-1 overall in 2009 would certainly motivate most athletes and Mingus is no different.

Now in 2010, the Marauders are flying under the radar again within their conference, at least in some of the media’s eyes.

What’s new? If the team doesn’t come from Phoenix or its surrounding areas, it’s tough to get recognition.

The Marauders will surely challenge for a state championship in 2010 and as previously mentioned, most of their biggest horses are back.

Mingus returns six starters on offense and seven on defense this fall and will be led by senior returning quarterback Nick Alred.

Alred was fantastic in 2009, recording over 160 yards per game last season on offense.

Other top returners for Mingus include seniors Juan Gonzalez who is sure to get All-State votes come December while Matt Chavez, Carson Sandoval, Kevin Webb, Eric Cassada, Cruz Chavez, Ronald Morones, Tyler Christensen and Fernando Anquiano all return.

Chavez is one of the best linebackers in the game while Sandoval is solid at running back and Cassada has a great pair of hands at receiver.

Perhaps the only question hanging over the heads of Mingus coaches and their program is the offensive line.

“We’re not very deep, maybe six or seven guys, so hopefully they can stay strong and keep from getting injured,” Young said.

Depth may be a concern at offensive line for Mingus, but knowing the Marauders, things usually work out.
“We’re not very big up front, but they are strong and athletic,” Young added.

Mingus is scheduled to open the season on the road Friday, Aug. 27, when the Marauders travel to Alhambra High School for a scrimmage game.

Mingus will officially begin its season Friday, Sept. 3, when the team travels to Prescott High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Marauders are scheduled to host Payson High School on Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. in their first home game of the season.

If the new football field isn’t complete, however, the contingency plan is to play the game at Sedona Red Rock High School according to Mingus Athletic Director Mike Boysen.

The Marauders are also scheduled to host Bradshaw Mountain High School on Friday, Sept. 17. Where the game will be played if the field isn’t done by that date has yet to be announced.

The hot, windy and humid climate in Yuma made things worse for the Verde Valley Minors All-Stars [ages 9 to 10] last week as they managed to win only one game and were eliminated from the Arizona Little League All-Stars State Tournament.

First baseman Josh Scalf reaches for a throw to get an out in a game July 6. Scalf recorded a base hit in the top of the fifth inning Thursday, July 22, in a 5-2 loss to the Lake Havasu All-Stars.Pete Kelly, the head coach of the District 10 Verde Valley champions, said this tournament was a great experience for the boys.

“We were so proud of the boys after we finished; it was a good experience. Each of the games we played were close, so it was great,” Kelly said.

Verde Valley went 1-2 in three games last week, with opposing teams only outscoring the boys from Cottonwood, 18-15.

On July 20, Verde Valley played its first game at Yuma Catholic High School and lost a close one to the Rio Vista All-Stars, 7-6.

Verde Valley led 6-0 going into the fourth inning, making it a hard loss to swallow, according to Kelly.

The next day, Verde Valley played the Ahwatukee All-Stars on July 21, but this time, the boys in black and red wouldn’t go down without a fight and scratched a late victory, 7-6.

Tied 6-6 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyre Kim walked before Chris Mathe singled to put runners on first and second, with two outs.

jose pacheco rounds third after hitting a two-run homer in a game July 6. Pacheco and his Verde Valley Minors All-Stars [ages 9 to 10] team managed to get only one win at the Arizona Little League All-Stars State Championships in Yuma last week, defeating Ahwatukee.Up next to the plate was young stud Tyler Kelly who worked the count before promptly doubling to the gap, sending Kim sprinting home with everything he had to cross the plate and give Verde Valley the victory, 7-6.
“It’s pretty cool to watch that happen; it was a great hit and gave us the win,” Kelly said.

With two games down and one to go, Verde Valley needed just one more win to advance to the final four and give itself a chance to win a state championship.

Unfortunately for Verde Valley, the Lake Havasu All-Stars stood in the way.

Starting pitcher Bryce Cramer toed the mound for Verde Valley but wound up throwing only 20 pitches in one-third of an inning and walking three batters before being pulled by Kelly.

“We had some pitching practice earlier in the day and I thought Bryce [Cramer] was ready to go, but he was a bit wild and I decided to pull him right away for a more experienced pitcher. In the end, I figured if we could win this game Bryce would pitch the next day but it just didn’t happen that way,” Kelly said.

Relief pitcher Chaz Taylor was called upon and wound up doing a bang-up job, pitching 4? innings, allowing four runs on five hits while walking five and striking out four.

Taylor kept Verde Valley in the game for most of the night Thursday, July 22, but the offense couldn’t figure out Lake Havasu’s pitcher and managed only three hits.

“They had a really good pitcher. Even the hits we did have were little bloops or choppers. He kept us off the solid part of the bat all night,” Kelly said.

Down 1-0 in the top of the second inning, Verde Valley tied the score 1-1 after Cramer reached after being hit by a pitch.

Cramer stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, then eventually scored on another passed ball.
In the top of the fifth inning down 5-1, Verde Valley scored its second run of the night after Tyler Kelly tripled and Josh Scalf singled to record the only RBI of the night.

“I thought we played three pretty good games. Each of the teams we played are basically club teams who play year-round so to play with them like we did is pretty amazing,” Kelly said.

The defending 4A-II conference state champions in the Mingus Union High School boys cross country team are primed and ready to make another run for a title in 2010.

Runners on the Mingus Union High School cross country team jog down trails next to the Verde River behind Riverfront Park on Tuesday, Aug. 31 followed by the girls’ team coach, Lisa Rauch, on her bicycle. Boys’ team coach Jim Bostwick rides behind the faster runners.Having lost only one runner in Wilson Cutbirth to graduation in 2009, the 2010 version of Marauders cross country is sure to be fantastic.

“We’ve got a good group of boys back this season. We’re excited to get the year going,” Mingus Head Coach Jim Bostwick said.

The Marauders will depend on a core group of runners this season that should earn them the top spot come November.

Returning in 2010 for Mingus are seniors Hunter Rauch and Austin Covey while juniors Colin Garttmeier, Chris Ortiz and Juan Wells return as well. Junior Lane Gehl is also included in the mix.

Wells finished sixth overall as a sophomore with a 16:40.71 time at state last season while Covey was 12th overall with a 17:16.52 time.

Rauch and Ortiz also finished in the top 20 while Garttmeier was 25th and Gehl was 36th.

Top newcomers in senior Tanner Johnson and junior Pal Scott should push for a top five spot at Mingus this season, making the Marauders cross country team even more dangerous.

On the girls’ side of the hill, Mingus lost three seniors after their sixth-place finish last November at the state championships.

Leading the group of returners is senior Erin Freriks, who took 46th overall at state last season.

If Freriks is anything like her older brother, watch out for a top finish in her senior season.

Other top returners for the Mingus girls team include juniors Emma Schraner and Alex Henley while sophomore Skyler Storie returns as well.

The only newcomer that should make an impact for Mingus this season on the girls team will be freshman Sienna Gehl.

Mingus is scheduled to begin its season on the road where they travel to the Payson Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

The Marauders will against host the famed Mingus Mountain Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 2, in Clarkdale.

The Division III Sectional Meet is scheduled to take place Saturday, Oct. 30, while the Division III State Championships are the following weekend beginning Saturday, Nov. 6.

The state championships are held at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.

When Mingus Union High School Athletic Director Mike Boysen came to town in 1993 he was hired to be the school’s athletic trainer and was required to teach a few classes.

Who knew 17 years later Boysen would be one of the more recognizable athletic directors in the state?

Athletic Director Mike Boysen was hired in 1993 to teach and be the athletic trainer at Mingus Union High School. During the 1999-2000 school year, Boysen was hired to be athletic director, a position he has held ever since.Last year, Boysen received the 4A conference athletic director of the year award, which is handed out once a year by the Arizona Interscholastic Athletics Administrators Association.

At the moment, Boysen leads the way for a Mingus athletics program that is successful at almost every turn, from football to cross country to tennis to baseball.

Boysen is also the head athletic trainer and runs the program with a classroom of kids eager to learn the trade.
Originally from Austin, Minn., Boysen graduated from Canon City High School in Canon City, Colo., in 1983.

From there Boysen attended the University of Northern Colorado and graduated with a degree in athletic training in 1989.

Immediately after college, Boysen was hired by the NFL’s Denver Broncos to an internship position which he held for one year before spending three years at a physical therapy clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo.

During his time at the clinic, Boysen spent his afternoons working at Sierra High School with their athletes and soon after was hired at Mingus.

Boysen didn’t become an athletic director until the 1999-2000 school year, and has held the position ever since.

“My favorite thing about being an athletic director is the little things that most people don’t see from the outside. Sometimes the success of a certain team can depend on it and that’s what makes the job worth it,” Boysen said.

The 45-year-old Minnesota native believes his relationships with other athletic directors around the Verde Valley have helped his cause as well.

Boysen confessed one of his biggest role models in the profession lives only 15 miles away, Camp Verde High School Athletic Director Mark Showers.

“I don’t think he knows this but I’ve always admired and respected Mark [Showers]. I use him as a role model for myself and how to run a good athletics program. We have a very good relationship. He’s a great person as well, which is the most important thing of all,” Boysen said.

During his 17-year tenure at Mingus, Boysen has seen a lot of athletes come through the halls for the Marauders, but nothing has been more exciting to him than when his own two kids have made it onto the field.

Josh, Boysen’s 20-year-old son, was a Mingus football and tennis player who currently serves in the U.S. Air Force.

Boysen’s 15-year-old daughter Kalina is currently enrolled at Mingus, and plays volleyball and softball for the Marauders.

“It’s been neat to see my own kids come through the program and getting to watch them has been a thrill,” Boysen said.

Despite recent troubles with the athletic program at Mingus, Boysen continues to show excellence in his work on and off the field and one day, there may be more than one AIAAA awards sitting on his mantel.

The Verde Valley Minors All-Stars [ages 9 to 10] stayed alive in their hopes of claiming a District 10 title Tuesday,
July 6, defeating the Prescott All-Stars 11-7 to force game two tonight.

Starting pitcher Tyler Kelly delivers a pitch against the Prescott All-Stars on Tuesday, July 6. Kelly almost went the distance, giving his team 5 1/3 good innings.“I was getting worried there for a while but we pulled through and now it’s just one game for it all,” Verde Valley skipper Pete Kelly said on the field after the game Tuesday.

On June 30, Prescott beat Verde Valley 9-5 and laid in wait for the boys in black and red to defeat the Prescott Valley All-Stars on Friday, July 2, which they did by the final score of 14-6.

Since the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament is double elimination, Verde Valley had to beat Prescott on Tuesday, and would have to beat them again tonight to be named champion.

At Jimmy Herridge Memorial Field in the Riverfront Park complex in Cottonwood, Verde Valley jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on a big two-run home run by catcher Jose Pacheco in the top of the first inning.

Pacheco was 3-4 on the day with the home run, a double, three runs scored and three RBIs.

Not bad for a kid who doesn’t stand 5 feet tall and weighs about 80 pounds soaking wet.

After Verde Valley made it 5-1 in the top of the third inning, Prescott wasn’t going to go away easily and gave Verde Valley starting pitcher Tyler Kelly a difficult inning, scoring four runs to tie it, 5-5.

First baseman Josh Scalf slides in at home plate to give his Verde Valley All-Stars a run.Kelly managed to work his way through the damage and go 5? innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out one.

“I thought he did a great job. He threw strikes and almost gave us a complete game,” Pete Kelly said.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Prescott scratched across two more runs to take a 7-6 lead, putting a little fear into the 100 or so Verde Valley fans in attendance Tuesday night.

In the top of the fifth inning, however, Pacheco doubled and Jake Schwisow doubled to score him and tie the game, 7-7, then Bryce Cramer grounded out to the pitcher, scoring Schwisow to give Verde Valley the lead, 8-7.

From that point on, Verde Valley would hold the lead and add three more in the top of the sixth including a gutsy squeeze play by Schwisow, scoring Josh Scalf and Pacheco to give Verde Valley an 11-7 lead.

Catcher Jose Pacheco gets mugged by his teammates at home plate after he hit a towering two-run home run in the top of the first inning against the Prescott All-Stars at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood on Tuesday, July 6. The Verde Valley All-Stars won the game, 11-7, forcing a game two championship Wednesday, July 7, at 6:30 p.m.In the bottom of the sixth, Kelly got one out before reaching his 85 pitch count limit and was removed to a standing ovation.

Schwisow took the ball from Kelly and pitched the final ? of an inning while striking out one batter to secure the victory for Verde Valley.

Standouts at the plate for Verde Valley included Chaz Taylor who was 2-3 with a run scored while Schwisow was
1-2 with a walk and two RBIs.

The final game of the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, at Riverfront Park.

Verde Valley will send Pacheco to the mound, their No. 2 starter, in an effort to earn itself a championship.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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