Division I football state championship
No. 1 Hamilton vs. No. 3 Desert Vista
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
Records: Hamilton 13-0; Desert Vista 12-1
Last meeting: Hamilton 35, Desert Vista 10 (Oct. 6)
TV: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Coach: Steve Belles
Aug. 26 vs. Mountain Pointe W 17-7
Sep. 2 vs. Santa Fe (Calif.) W 52-0
Sep. 9 at Notre Dame W 47-7
Sep. 16 at Desert Ridge W 28-6
Sep. 23 vs. Mesquite W 30-7
Sep. 30 at Chandler W 28-21
Oct. 6 at Desert Vista W 35-10
Oct. 14 vs. Dobson W 58-20
Oct. 20 at Basha W 44-14
Oct. 28 vs. Corona del Sol W 49-0
Nov. 4 vs. Valley Vista W 37-7
Nov. 10 vs. Chandler W 28-0
Nov. 18 vs. Desert Ridge W 31-21
(Numbers in parentheses)
OL - (61) Kevin Milne, 6-3, 210, Sr.
OL - (64) Bryce Holland, 6-0, 217, Sr.
OL - (63) Devon Finai, 6-2, 305, Jr.
OL - (60) Jacob Conrad, 6-2, 220, Sr.
OL - (79) Patrick Joseph, 6-4, 290, Jr.
WR - (10) Kendyl Taylor, 6-0, 195, Sr.
WR - (5) Just'N Thymes, 6-1, 155, Sr.
TE - (83) Joe Kronschnabel, 6-0, 185, Sr.
RB - (1) Clayton Stanchik, 5-10, 165, Sr.
RB - (32) Marcus Jones, 5-6, 182, Sr.
QB - (4) Blake Kemp, 6-2, 204, Sr.
K - (44) Daniel Wichman, 5-8, 165, Sr.
KR - (16) Christopher Billingsley, 5-7, 130, Sr./(10) Kendyl Taylor, 6-0, 195, Sr.
DL - (99) Zach Phillips, 6-3, 200, Sr.
DL - (17) Calvin Thomas, 6-4, 270, Sr.
DL - (7) Jaxon Hood, 6-1, 295, Sr.
DL - (33) Alex Burgoyne, 6-0, 215, Sr.
LB - (6) Nic Henson, 6-2, 200, Sr.
LB - (54) Santana Sterline, 6-1, 195, So.
LB - (52) Daniel Duran, 5-7, 225, Sr.
CB - (3) Robert Milus, 6-0, 177, Sr.
CB - (11) Cole Luke, 6-0, 162, Jr.
SS - (2) Reggie Daniels, 6-2, 185, Sr.
FS - (43) Josiah Pola, 6-2, 180, So.
P - (10) Kendyl Taylor, 6-0, 195, Sr.
PR - (11) Cole Luke, 6-0, 162, Jr.
DESERT VISTA THUNDER
Coach: Dan Hinds
Aug. 19 vs. Maryvale W 63-0
Aug. 26 vs. Mesa W 38-6
Sep. 9 at Mountain Pointe W 24-0
Sep. 16 vs. Westwood W 63-7
Sep. 23 at Corona del Sol W 49-14
Sep. 30 at Saguaro W 31-28
Oct. 6 vs. Hamilton W 35-10
Oct. 14 at Mesquite W 31-14
Oct. 21 at Dobson W 56-0
Oct. 28 vs. Chandler W 38-31
Nov. 4 vs. North Canyon W 42-7
Nov. 18 vs. Basha W 42-32
(Numbers in parentheses)
OL - (63) Cole Preston, 6-1, 225, Jr.
OL - (64) Mitch Wehrli, 6-3, 260, Jr.
OL - (52) Zack Tamburo, 5-11, 250, Jr.
OL - (62) Sam Hartman, 6-3, 220, Jr.
OL - (68) J.J. Dielman, 6-5, 260, Sr.
TE - (18) Ryan Ortega, 6-3, 225, Sr.
WR - (24) Matt Geranen, 6-2, 180, Sr.
WR - (14) Kaleb Germinaro, 5-10, 175, Jr.
FB - (32) Michael Arredondo, 6-2, 215, Sr.
RB - (33) Dominic Kereluk, 6-0, 195, Sr.
QB - (16) Hunter Rodriguez, 6-4, 215, Sr.
K - (4) Scotty Goldfein, 5-10, 165, Sr.
KR - (7) Matt Young, 5-10, 180, Jr.
DL - (60) Ryan Hawkinson, 6-0, 250, Sr.
DL - (52) Zack Tamburro, 5-11, 250, Jr.
DL - (10) Lorenzo Melvin, 6-2, 225, Jr.
DL - (68) J.J. Dielman, 6-5, 260, Sr.
LB - (84) Cody Peterson, 6-3, 215, Sr.
LB - (22) Jordan Pogue, 6-1, 200, Sr.
LB - (32) Michael Arredondo, 6-2, 215, Sr.
CB - (8) Ryan Wagner, 6-1, 180, Sr.
SS - (1) Chandler Kimball, 6-0, 170, Sr.
FS - (11) Nick Farina, 6-0, 180, Jr.
CB - (26) Austin Hicks, 6-1, 180, Jr.
P - (3) Eric Camarillo, 6-1, 177, Sr.
PR - (8) Ryan Wagner, 6-1, 180, Sr.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
•Kendyl Taylor, RB, Hamilton: Younger brother of former Husky and ASU wideout Kerry Taylor, Kendyl might be better. Since becoming more of a featured back his season has taken off, averaging eight yards per carry and the team's leading receiver. He's the engine for Hamilton's offense and was outstanding against Desert Ridge in the semifinals.
•Jaxon Hood, DT, Hamilton: Big, physical and quick, Hood and Calvin Thomas form arguably the best high school defensive interior in the state. With 84 tackles and 12.5 sacks, Hood goes up against the school he grew up idolizing when his mother worked at DV, but now the Thunder are going to have a huge task moving Hood and Thomas in order to get its running game going.
•Michael Arredondo, RB/LB, Desert Vista: D.V.'s leader on and off the field, the two-way stud had 642 yards rushing and 17 TD, and 148 tackles and three sacks on defense. The team's heart and soul for two years will have a huge task getting his defense lined up against Hamilton's balanced attack, not to mention running between Hamilton's tackles on offense.
•Hunter Rodriguez, QB, Desert Vista: The numbers aren't gaudy (2,582 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT) because DV loves to run the ball, but his accuracy and intellect will be vital in this game. His ability to make reads, avoid turnovers and deliver the ball quickly and on time will give the Thunder the offensive balance it has to have.
OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Blake Kemp (.632 completion percentage, 2,234 yards, 20 TD, 6 INT; 345 yards rushing, 9 TD); RB Frankie Felix (279 yards rushing, 4 TD; 229 yards rec.); RB Clayton Stanchik (333 yards rushing, 4 TD; 194 yards rec.); WR Just'n Thymes (479 yards rec., 5 TD); DB Reggie Daniels (77 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 INT); DL Calvin Thomas (75 tackles, 9.5 sacks); DB Cole Luke (50 tackles, 5 INT); LB Nic Henson (83 tackles, 4 sacks).
RB Dominic Kereluk (828 yards rushing, 12 TD; 260 yards rec.); RB Kaleb Germinaro (538 yards rushing, 6 TD; 285 yards rec., 3 TD); RB Jarek Hilgers (585 yards rushing, 7 TD); WR Matt Geranen (430 yards, 5 TD); DB Nick Farina (92 tackles, 3 INT); DL Melvin Lorenzo (77 tackles, 7 sacks); DB Ryan Wagner (56 tackles, 2 sacks).
KEYS TO THE GAME
•Corraling Kendyl: Everyone knows it, few have actually been able to do it. Hamilton's offensive options are numerous which makes stopping Taylor so difficult. He can run out of the backfield, catch passes and return some kicks. The Huskies are good at getting the right people the ball in the right situations, and feeding Taylor is a must.
•Balance: This is especially important for Desert Vista against Hamilton's offense. The Thunder have had loads of success running the ball in the regular season and playoffs, but the last time they played Hamilton's defense, they could do no right. If Desert Vista can find success on the ground and through the air, there's a chance. One-dimensional offenses will never work against Hamilton's defense.
•Serenity: Hamilton has been here a lot and so have many of its players. Desert Vista players have been in some big games, but not on this stage, and that's an automatic red flag for keeping emotions in check and not losing one's head. The latter leads to all kinds of penalties or possibly turnovers, and that's a defeat against Hamilton.
When Hamilton has the ball: Outside Kendyl Taylor, the Huskies haven't had a huge-play threat consistently down the field, though Just'N Thymes is capable of huge gains. Despite a whole new offensive line that's taken time to grow, they still love to run the ball with Taylor and a variety of backs. Just when you think you know where the Huskies are headed, they'll play-action with Blake Kemp, who's quietly set passing records at the school after a sluggish start to the season. They'll also run the option. Their formations and playbook variety are extremely difficult to defend against.
When Desert Vista has the ball: The Thunder have used its patented "fly sweep" for years under coach Dan Hinds, and this year is no exception. Jarek Hilgers, Dominic Kerelus, Michael Arredondo and Kaleb Germinaro have seen the bulk of the work in the Thunder's running game, both in the sweep and up the middle. Hunter Rodriguez has been accurate this season, and wants to reverse his last game against Hamilton, where he threw three of his five interceptions this season. Matt Geranen leads a balanced bunch of receivers when the lefty Rodriguez takes to the air.