Beating Hamilton would cure Chandler's ills - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Beating Hamilton would cure Chandler's ills

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Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 7:39 pm | Updated: 1:05 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

It's the epic Chandler rivalry game, right?

After all, it's No. 1 Hamilton vs. No. 5 Chandler. On TV. The winner gets a leg up in the Fiesta Region, while the loser gets sentinto the murky middle of the region rat race.

They're two teams who house themselves five miles apart, don't like each other, and have coaches chock-full of personality.

It's the defining game of the season, right?

Wrong. It's No. 6 on a 10-game (at least) schedule.

The Wolves (3-2, 1-1) made it clear this week that beating the Huskies (5-0, 1-0) would cure the flu bug traveling around the team, but they have bigger cares than ending their 0-fer history against Hamilton this decade.

For one, two-touchdown leads against Mesa and Phoenix Brophy disappeared the past two weeks. Chandler hung on against the Jackrabbits but not against the Broncos.

"We just have to worry about us," Wolves coach Jim Ewan said. "If we played a better game in the second half and fourth quarter the last two weeks ...We're not far off being a really good team. We need to tweak things and improve Chandler and let the chips fall."

Most of the kids on both sides grew up around each other. Chandler's Jeremy Morris and Malcolm Holland transferred from Hamilton to Chandler in their high school careers. A couple of players have girlfriends who go to the other school.

And, even the loser of this game is still likely to reap a healthy number of power points by season's end.

"They still have nothing to lose," Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. "If they do, same ol' stuff. It is what it is, and I'm sure Jim feels there's a monkey or gorilla on their back (about not beating Hamilton). It's an elite game for both of us - that's the No. 1 thing - and in addition it's a good city rivalry, and all the kids know each other."

Ewan raved about Hamilton's offense, calling it the Energizer Bunny that "keeps on ticking." Belles praised Chandler quarterback Brett Hundley. Athletically and on the line, Chandler is the best Hamilton has seen.

Most of these matchups haven't been very compelling on the scoreboard, but the Wolves played Hamilton to 14-0 in last year's playoffs.

One of these times, Chandler will win this game. It's inevitable. So said Ewan as he recalled his nephew being part of the first four-year graduating class not to win a state championship at Phoenix St. Mary's.When? That remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries.

"We're more aware of it than they probably are," Ewan said. "We talk about a big rivalry, but it can be even bigger if we'd win one of these. For them it's another game."

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