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All-Tribune First Team Offense
All the accolades wouldn’t have mattered much without the ring. Scottsdale Saguaro quarterback Tim Ruben hit the elusive 2,000-yard rushing, 2,000-yard passing milestone in the third quarter of the 4A-I championship game against Tucson Canyon del Oro on Dec. 8, but it was the furthest thing from his mind one quarter later.
Beat Brophy? Many have a chance.
Teams to watch
The chill of winter means basketball is already underway with a plethora of early-season games and tournaments, and yet the question remains:
Turnovers were a key reason Mesa Red Mountain failed in 2007 to reach its third 5A football title game this decade. Turnover in personnel is high again, but according to coach Jim Jones, that isn’t weighing as heavily as it did some years ago.
McClintock's Cameron Forte averaged 21.9 points and 7.7 rebounds to garner the Tribune's Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.
Austin Fares has always been a soccer nut.
Believe it or not, there was a time when Kyle Ciliento thought he was never going to score a goal in high school. As a freshman at Phoenix Pinnacle, Ciliento failed to score in his first two matches.
All-Tribune First Team Offense
One expected dynasty in 5A-I boys basketball has been cut short halfway through its reign.
When Peoria Centennial routed Chandler Hamilton early in the 2008 prep football season, the Coyotes staked their claim to the title of best team in Arizona.
There wasn’t much question about the best boys basketball team in Division I last year, as Corona del Sol finished the season on a 30-game winning streak and cruised past Laveen Cesar Chavez for the state championship.
Even before he entered high school, impossible expectations were thrust upon Matt Carlino. Two years later, he’s somehow lived up to them. Carlino entered his freshman year at Gilbert Highland already a household name in basketball circles, and the first year had its ups and downs.
The diagram is titled, “The shot that cleared the clock.”
Spencer Thompson thought for a minute and then talked about the one thing he never quite learned how to do in his four years on the Mountain Pointe soccer team.
The difference between Chandler Hamilton coach Steve Belles’ first year and second year guiding the Huskies was one fewer win. A 13-1 campaign followed by a 12-1. That single discrepancy in record was not playing in the title game and hence not winning the championship.
The Fiesta Region is Gilbert Highland’s home, and if the Hawks are going to flock to the playoffs under second-year coach Pete Wahlheim they must find some success in the region. Not win it mind you, just nab a game or two.
The 2006 prep track and field season opens with some interesting questions. The Wolves broke Mountain View's two-year hold on the 5A championship and appear talented enough to make it two straight of their own.
The theory goes that a new era has begun at Phoenix Brophy. Household names like Ray Polk, Bryan Berens and Sean Lieb have each taken their two high school state championships and moved on to college.
The stakes just became much greater.
Brophy swim coach Pat O’Neill knew Gabriel Espinosa was the favorite to win the 50-yard freestyle at the Division I state championship meet in early November.
Many of the top players from last year's boys volleyball season are moving on. But the top teams aren't going anywhere. Although it's a new group individually among the cream of the crop, the top programs aren't going to rebuild this year - they'll just reload.
Repeating as state champion in prep athletics is no easy feat. Although there are a smattering of teams that make long playoff runs each year, actually finishing on top in back-to-back seasons doesn’t happen often.