It’s the game that never ended, and it seems the debate around it won’t either.
On Friday, Arizona Interscholastic Association executive director Harold Slemmer notified Valley Christian and Lakeside Blue Ridge of his ruling on the football game played between those two schools on Sept. 9.
Based on the report from game officials, Slemmer awarded the victory to Blue Ridge, which was leading 23-14 at halftime when the game was called due to unsafe playing conditions brought on by severe weather.
The game was delayed twice by lightning and the third quarter would not have started until 10:30 p.m., so the officials canceled the game.
Valley Christian wasn’t happy with the decision but reluctantly accepted the ruling.
"Although we concurred with the head official in his decision to end play for safety reasons, we did not agree to terminate the game with the existing score as required by National Federation football rules," Valley Christian principal Clark Stephens said in a release.
"We respectfully disagree with the executive director’s ruling."
Free at last: Scot Bemis and his Notre Dame Prep Saints are playing a bit lighter this week. The weight of trying to win their first varsity game has been lifted.
The Saints beat Higley 23-16 Friday for the school’s first-ever varsity victory. The Saints are playing their first year in a region this season after playing an independent schedule last year.
"It’s a relief, a monkey off the back," said Bemis, whose 4A Division II team is 1-3.
Now the task for Bemis is to get the Saints ready for their game Friday against Tucson Santa Rita.
"We’re not going to sit and celebrate," said Bemis. "We have to get the next one."
The Saints are playing without their top running back, junior Chase Reynolds. He recently suffered a slight back fracture and won’t play at least for the next three weeks.
Price to pay: The wins are starting to pile up for 3-1 Apache Junction; so are the injuries. In the Prospectors’ season opener, No. 1 running back Thomas Wolfe suffered what was thought to be a knee sprain. Further tests revealed a slight tear of his anterior cruciate ligament. Coach Max Ragsdale said Wolfe probably won’t have surgery during the season and could return to at least spot play soon.
The Prospectors also have lost middle linebacker Steve Duarte to a broken ankle, probably for the season.
Nice result: Mountain Pointe girls coach Geoff Owers got a pleasant surprise from his team at the Padre Invitational Saturday at Kiwanis Park.
"I thought they were going to look a little more tired," Owers said of his team after it beat rival Xavier by 33 points for the team title. "Kristin (Phillips) looked like she was hardly breathing."
Phillips won by 57 seconds, but the biggest Pride performance came from Natasa Vulic, who finished fourth.
"Last year, she was on JV, right in the middle, 12th or 13th runner," Owers said. "(This) was her breakthrough in cross country. She came through with a solid last mile. She’s improved, got hungry and was a pleasant surprise."
More surprises: Skyline’s Carola Dewitz has seemingly come out of nowhere this year to post solid finishes at some big invitationals. But she didn’t come from nowhere, she came from Germany.
The exchange student finished second behind Queen Creek star Kari Hardt in the senior race at the Chandler Invitational on Sept. 10. On Saturday, she was 14th in the star-studded Padre Invitational, finishing the 3.2-mile course in 21 minutes, 7 seconds. The only East Valley Region runner ahead of Dewitz was Red Mountain’s Lauren Reich, who placed second.
Head of the class: Mountain View’s Tawni Jones ran away with the girls individual diving title at Saturday’s Thunder Wolves Classic at Chandler High, with Mesa High’s Aaron Medina taking first in the boys competition.
Jones’ score of 253.6 was nearly 57 points higher than second-place finisher Shelby Snyder of Mesa. Medina took the boys title by almost 17 points, with Marcos de Niza’s David Timchak taking second.
- Staff writers Brad Falduto and Brett Fera contributed to this report.