As Brophy (6-1, 2-0 Desert Valley Region) prepares for its annual tilt against parochial rival St. Mary’s (6-1, 2-0), the Broncos will do it without junior quarterback Conor Hearn.
Brophy coach Scooter Molander confirmed that Hearn is no longer with the team. Molander said Hearn’s parents have withdrawn him from school, but said he could not comment further.
Conor Hearn’s father, Ed Hearn, is principal of Brophy College Preparatory.
Hearn sat out the Broncos’ 20-19 loss to Westwood Sept. 30 for undisclosed reasons. He last saw action two weeks ago, throwing four touchdowns in the Broncos’ 48-0 homecoming win over Paradise Valley.
He was out of the lineup again last week during the Broncos’ 34-14 win over Horizon. Sophomore Bryan Berens, who saw the bulk of the snaps against Westwood, took the helm against Horizon as well, completing 4-of-7 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Huskies.
Molander said Berens will start Friday against St. Mary’s.
Knight trifecta: St. Mary’s senior guard Nicole Neals, a Chandler native, committed to play basketball for Nebraska beginning next season, St. Mary’s coach Frank Denogean said.
Neals is the third Knight to commit to playing Division I college ball, as guard Dymond Simon and center Kayli Murphy have already committed to play at Arizona State.
"They really did their homework," Denogean said. "The head coach was looking for a point guard and thought Nicole could play point and shooting guard."
Neals, who averaged 18.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in leading St. Mary’s to its second consecutive 5A state title game last season, visited the Lincoln, Neb., campus last month during the Cornhusker football team’s 7-6 win over Pittsburgh.
"She was on the sidelines for the football game," Denogean said. "She said, ‘Coach, I had goose bumps.’ "
"Nicole is just a great kid. (She’s) a great representative of the East Valley."
Desert Mountain’s Duckworth earns national recognition: Desert Mountain sophomore Angela Duckworth, winner of the 500 freestyle at the 2004 5A state championships as a freshman, was named SportsGirl 2005 by the Women’s Sports Foundation at the organization’s annual "Salute to Women in Sports Awards" presentation Monday night in New York.
Duckworth, a three-time All-American as a freshman last year, was one of four finalists to make the trip to New York before learning early Monday she had won the award.
The first-place award, presented annually to girls ages 10-14 for their excellence in athletics, leadership and community service, includes a $5,000 prize awarded to an athletic program at the winner’s school or within her local community.
Tournament teams: Westwood and Chandler are 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 5A powerpoint rankings heading into the final week of regular-season play. The Warriors and Wolves stand, however, to get bumped from the 16-team state tournament field by No. 19 seed Yuma Cibola and No. 20 seed Laveen Cesar Chavez.
Cibola is on its way to winning the Gila Valley Region title and Chavez is on top in the Metro. Teams that win region titles, but are not in the top 16 of the powerpoint rankings earn automatic state tournament berths. Currently, that would mean Westwood and Chandler would be out of the state tournament.
- Staff writer Les Willsey contributed to this report.