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They might play in the middle of nowhere, but the River Valley Dust Devils are making quite an impression on the football field in the Division IV state playoffs.
Of all things which can impact a football game's outcome, Mother Nature often isn't on the list in this part of Arizona, but it could be a significant factor this weekend.
No. 6 River Valley vs. No. 2 Seton Catholic (Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. at North Canyon H.S.): So much for the theory that Seton Catholic wouldn’t be good enough to contend and potentially repeat as Div. IV state champions after the mass graduations from the 2012 title team. The Sentinels sustained their share of injuries, but a team coach Rex Bowser thought might have been a year away has gradually (though not easily) improved and learned to play at a varsity level. The Sentinels are coming off a tense quarterfinals win against Winslow, in which the defense hung on late even after allowing 315 yards rushing and three touchdowns to bulldozing RB Kelly Wood. River Valley knocked off Snowflake, 28-14 (it was the closest game River Valley has played in since Week 3), so the Sentinels won’t get another crack at Snowflake after Seton lost to them, 28-23, at home in mid-September during a penalty-marred affair. River Valley is a bit of an unknown coming from the Mohave Valley, but they’re good and have been almost all season (its only loss was 21-17 to Div. V powerhouse Yuma Catholic). The question of course, when facing Seton Catholic, is whether a team can stop the Sentinels’ spread-you-out offense. Conversely, Seton is going to get another dose of ground-and-pound with River Valley RB Brandon Long (212 yards last week vs. Snowflake). The Sentinels are extremely small in size defensively (their biggest player is 185 pounds), so they’ll have to be quicker and better tacklers than last week. Stopping Seton, however, could be the bigger problem for River Valley.
Prediction: Seton Catholic 24, River Valley 20
Two guys who wore No. 40 jerseys saw each other face-to-face about 40 times on Saturday night.
If Seton was expecting to knock Coolidge from the ranks of the unbeaten, it might want to forget the first 10 minutes of Friday’s Division IV matchup.
Given the events that occurred in the previous 23 and a half minutes, it made sense that Seton Catholic's final hope of a comeback victory was struck down by an untimely penalty – one of many in the second half that contributed to the team's 28-23 loss to Snowflake on Friday night.
In a game in which the two squads traded momentum, Chandler Seton Catholic held onto the mojo a little longer on their way to a 34-23 home win over the Maricopa Rams on Friday night.
Outlook: It’s a whole new crew at Seton Catholic.
High school coaching can be a thankless job with long hours, low pay and a thousand little tasks having nothing to do with actual coaching.
Seton Catholic football coach Rex Bowser
All-Tribune First Team Offense
Area football players were snubbed on the All-Arizona team voted on by the football coaches association.
Seton Catholic coach Rex Browser takes a Gatorade bath after defeating Lakeside Blue Ridge in the Division IV state championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, at Northern Arizona University’s Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
As the saying goes, Jimmies and Joes trump X’s and O’s.
After some stunning players, plays, performances and playoffs, football season has drawn to a close for another year.
FLAGSTAFF — No matter what the Seton Catholic defense accomplished this season, the memory of last year’s semifinal loss to Blue Ridge shined brightest.
Once worse for the wear, Seton Catholic’s football team now feels stronger for enduring the proverbial spanking.
All the extra effort Seton Catholic made this season to play one more football game means this.
Lessons learned? Let’s find out.
This was not your typical Seton Catholic football game.
Tempe fans watch their team play Seton during "Senior Night" , Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 in Tempe. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Seton head coach Rex Bowser shown on the sideline as his team takes on Tempe, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Seton's Anthony Johnson is tackled by Tempe's Talib Id-Deen late in the second quarter Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 in Tempe. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant is sacked by Setons's Matthew Pawlowski on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 in Tempe. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
The Tempe football teams takes the field after halftime while taking on Seton, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 in Tempe. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]