Drew Swartz hesitated just slightly before faxing in his paperwork to the Air Force Academy Wednesday afternoon.
After all, the two-way Gilbert High football standout was about to make a commitment to Colorado Springs, Colo., beyond the normal four years. He'll owe Air Force five years after football, so he may get to rejoin society just before 2020 dawns.
"It's a little scary, but I like the idea of going there," Swartz said. "I want to major in business management. I'd really like to coach (football) when I get done."
Swartz has been a rare Gilbert High football player in the past decade - heading to a Division I program and a service academy to boot. Swartz joins a trio of other Arizona football players headed to Air Force (Paradise Valley kicker Danny Compton, Phoenix North Canyon defensive back Roland Pierce and Lake Havasu running back Brent Michaels). Phoenix Desert Vista wide receiver Casey Bolena and Chandler Basha safety Jordan Fraser are headed to the Naval Academy.
Chandler rolling: Who says seeding matters? The No. 16 seed Chandler boys soccer team upset No. 1 Tempe Corona del Sol, 2-1, in penalty kicks on Tuesday. It was the first time a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 since power points were introduced.
So much for the Wolves losing four of their final five matches before the tournament.
A day later, the 14th-seeded Wolves girls team knocked off No. 3 Gilbert, also 2-1, also in overtime. The Wolves had lost three of five entering the tournament.
Bunker sidelined: Red Mountain shooting guard Jeff Bunker, who suffered a separated shoulder in a Jan. 30 loss to Mountain View, is day-to-day according to Mountain Lions coach Greg Sessions. Bunker did not play in Red Mountain's loss to Mesa Westwood on Tuesday and likely won't play Friday against Mesa Dobson. Bunker is averaging 10.8 points a game and is the team's most consistent 3-point threat.
Region scenarios: Queen Creek can clinch a tie for the East Sky Region title with a win over Gilbert Higley tonight. The Bulldogs won the last meeting by 17 points.
Chandler Seton would still get a share of the title by beating Gilbert Perry and Tempe in its final two games. The Sentinels beat Perry by three points earlier this season and lost to the Buffaloes by one.
If Queen Creek and Seton both lose today, a four-way tie for the region title would be possible. Queen Creek and Perry's seasons would be done with 10-4 region records. If Seton then beat Tempe on Tuesday and Phoenix Arcadia won its final two games, all four teams would end up with 10-4 region records.
Gilbert thin for stretch run? Guard Whitney Southerland appeared to be back in form from a bum knee last week when she ripped the nets for 32 points at Chandler. But Southerland is struggling with her knee again. She followed up her 32-point effort with just two points.
"You could tell she wasn't herself," Gilbert coach Tom Bunger said. "She just wasn't moving well. We had to take her out in stretches. It didn't help we were another player down due to a family illness."
Gilbert suited up just eight players Tuesday in its loss to Chandler Hamilton, counting Southerland. Southerland's availability the next few games is day-to-day. Bunger hasn't ruled out sitting Southerland until the state tournament begins Feb. 25 if her health remains unsettled.
"It may be something like the Suns do with Shaq," Bunger said. "We have the toughest three games to finish the year of anybody (home Friday with Mesa Mountain View, at Gilbert Highland Feb. 10 and home vs. Gilbert Mesquite Feb. 13).
Hamilton quarterback earns national award: Chandler Hamilton quarterback Zak Hambsch has been selected as one of 50 national recipients of the annual Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year.
Hambsch passed for 2,300 yards, 18 touchdowns and threw five interceptions. He also rushed for 519 yards and six TDs in helping guide the Huskies to the 5A-I state title.