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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 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.

Amanda Randolph slips one past a Coconino High School blocker to score a point during Mingus Union High School volleyball team’s last home game of the 2010 regular season Thursday, Oct. 28. The Marauders took the match in three quick but close games.The Mingus Union High School volleyball team ended the regular season schedule on a three-match win streak but none of that mattered Tuesday,Nov. 2, when the 4A-II conference state playoffs began.

At No. 2 Amphitheater High School, the No. 15 Marauders struggled with one of the best teams in the state, and lost a tough one to end their season, 3-0.

“They served and hit really well. It’s one of the best teams we’ve seen this season. They did a really nice job,” Mingus assistant coach Brian Herman said.

Marauders Head Coach Audrey Islas was set to come back from her leave of absence this week, but Mingus had to get out of the first round of the state tournament if she was to coach again this season.

Senior Kayla Dixon led all Marauders with nine kills while fellow senior teammate Amanda Randolph had three kills, two blocks and two ace serves.

Senior LaShea Taylor lays a kill on the lagging Coconino High School Panthers during the third and final game of the last home match of the 2010 volleyball regular season Thursday, Oct. 28. Mingus lost to Amphitheater High School Panthers as well in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs Tuesday, Nov. 2, 3-0. Mingus finished 9-9 overall this year.Senior team captain Lashea Taylor chipped in as well, recording three digs to lead Mingus.

“Our girls got better each game, we improved on some things, but they were strong,” Herman said.

Mingus lost games one [25-16] and two [25-18] before finally giving the Panthers, who are 28-10 this season, a run for their money.

In game three, Mingus trailed 22-21 looking to finally win a game and maybe get back into things, but senior star Taylor Lane was too much for the Marauders as she recorded three straight kills for her team to take the game 25-22 and win the match.

With the loss, the Marauders wrap up the 2010 campaign with a 9-9 [5-3, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall record.

Mingus will lose Randolph, Taylor, Kayla Dixon and Jessica Zaske to graduation but a strong junior core, which includes Cortlin Sandoval, Sheila Brown, Vanessa Vera and Taylor Brott, should lead the way in 2011.

Like a broken record, the Mingus Union High School football team proved once again they are the team to beat in the 4A-II Grand Canyon region, taking rival Flagstaff High School behind the woodshed, 41-7.

Quarterback Ronald Morones completed all six passes he threw Friday, Oct. 15, helping his Mingus Union High School football team defeat rival Flagstaff High School, 41-7.“I thought our boys played well. We did the things that needed to be done which is why we won,” Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.

The 15,000-seat stadium at Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University was mostly empty, but the scoreboard for Mingus filled up quickly as the Marauders tallied all 41 points in the first half.

“With the luck we’ve been having lately with injuries, after the first half, I took most of our starters out,” Young laughed. “I didn’t want to risk any more injuries.”

The 41-7 victory over the Eagles on Friday, Oct. 15, improves Mingus’ record to a perfect 2-0 in the Grand Canyon region and 6-1 overall this season.

The Marauders are currently ranked No. 5 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls, which were released Monday, Oct. 18.

Mingus may have to go on without another star player in senior Juan Gonzalez after a knee injury in the second quarter sidelined him for the remainder of the contest Friday.

X-rays were negative and Gonzalez received an MRI on Monday, Oct. 18. Results of the MRI were unavailable at press time.
“Right now, the most recent update we have is Juan [Gonzalez] has a sprained knee,” Young said Tuesday, Oct. 19.

It would be the second major blow the Marauders have suffered after losing senior quarterback Nick Alred to a serious leg injury in the beginning of the season.

logan couch led the Marauders with eight carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the 41-7 win.Chances are good Gonzalez will be unavailable to play this week, according to Young.

In Friday’s game against Flagstaff, Mingus running backs had over 300 yards rushing including senior Logan Couch who had eight carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Ronald Morones had five carries for 12 yards but completed all six passes he threw for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Other standouts included Josh Longfellow who had 11 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown, while Gonzalez had five carries for 42 yards and a touchdown before exiting with the injury.

Senior receiver Eric Quesada chipped in with four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in the victory over Flagstaff.

Next up, Mingus will take its 6-1 record south to Peoria on Thursday, Oct. 21, when it plays Liberty High School.

Liberty is currently a perfect 7-0 on the season and is ranked No. 1 in the 4A-II conference.

If Mingus can beat Liberty on its home turf, the win would go a long way in determining if the Marauders will get a No. 1 seed heading into the state playoffs.

“We’re a pretty good team and so are they. It should be quite a battle,” Young said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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.

Mingus Union High School Swimmers get ready to launch in an earlier meet this season. The Marauders finished second and third overall at the Buckeye Invitational on Thursday, Oct. 14.In one of the final tune-ups of the season, the Mingus Union High School swim team took second and third overall Thursday,
Oct. 14, at the Buckeye Invitational.

In the girls meet, Verrado High School took first with 111 points while Mingus took second with 102 points and Buckeye High School wound up in third with 82 points.

For the boys, Mingus took third with 82 points while Verrado claimed first with 126. Buckeye wrapped up the top three with 106 points.

Kayla Furey helped her Mingus Union High School team take second overall Thursday, Oct. 14, with 102 points.“We’re just about ready for the state meet coming up. The kids are excited,” first-year Mingus Head Coach Erin Estes said.

Top performances for the girls include Danielle Castillo who took second overall in the 100-yard butterfly event with a personal best 1:16.87 time.

Castillo was also third in the 500-yard freestyle event with a personal best 6:33.67 time.

Mikiel Block finished third overall in the 200-yard freestyle event with a 2:12.46 time.Freshman Katheryn Knowles took first overall in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a 1:17.67 time and Jaime Adams took third overall in the 100-yard freestyle event with a 1:08 time.

For the boys, senior Adam Sandoval took second overall in the 100-yard breaststroke event with a personal best 1:13.90 time, earning him a provisional state qualifying time.

Also in the mix was senior Cody Heflin who took third overall in the 50-yard freestyle event with a 25.43 and Mikiel Block who was third overall in the 200-yard freestyle event with a 2:12.46 time.

Next up, the Marauders will travel south to Surprise to participate in a regional meet Friday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 23.
After regionals, Mingus will prepare for the Division II State Championships which are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6.

Location of the state championship meet was unavailable at press time.

The Marauders football team got back to their winning ways Friday, Oct. 1, defeating visiting Paradise Valley High School handily, 42-0.

Running back Juan Gonzalez receives congratulations from his Marauders teammates after running for a 68-yard touchdown in the first half of a home game against Paradise Valley High School on Friday, Oct. 1. Mingus shut out the Trojans, 42-0.October has been good to the Mingus Union High School football team in recent years.

Since 2004, the Marauders are 24-4 during October and are currently on a 22-game winning streak after the 42-0 win over Paradise Valley on Friday.

Mingus is 19-0 since the 2006 season and was 3-1 in October 2005 with its only loss coming to rival Flagstaff High School in the first game of the month, 18-6.

On Friday, senior safety Juan Gonzalez got the ball rolling in the first quarter, returning an interception for a touchdown to give Mingus a big boost of confidence.

“It was a big play. We gained so much confidence after he scored. After a tough loss the week before, our boys needed something and Juan [Gonzalez] gave it to us,” Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.

Like Young said, the Marauders needed it badly after having their lunch handed to them against Apache Junction High School the week before, 34-7.

After a Logan Couch punt, which pinned the Trojans down inside their own 15-yard line, Gonzalez tipped a pass to himself on Paradise Valley’s first play from scrimmage and ran it 15 yards into the end zone for a touchdown, putting the Marauders up 6-0.

The quick score deflated any hope of victory by the Trojans who struggled offensively the rest of the way.

Offensively, Mingus got back to what it does best — run the ball. Against the Trojans, Marauders runners carried the ball 44 times for 303 yards and four touchdowns.

Kevin Webb led all running backs with 16 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. Gonzalez was next in line with 10 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Marauders held the Paradise Valley offense to 256 total yards, but more importantly, shut them out on the scoreboard.

“I think our defensive players were a little upset. Giving up as many points as they did the week before isn’t like them, and they couldn’t wait to get back on the field and make it right,” Young said.

With the victory, Mingus improves to 4-1 [0-0, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall this season and is ranked No. 7 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls, which were released Monday, Oct. 4.

Next up, Mingus is set to host Page High School in the 4A-II Grand Canyon region opener Friday, Oct. 8.

Friday night’s game could be a region championship preview with Page holding a 4-1 overall record this season and a No. 15 ranking in the power point standings.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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