The football regular season has come and gone, and while it’d be foolish to make snap judgements or draw concrete conclusions about anything based on one year, it’s interesting to take a quick look back and see what effect (if any) the recently implemented appeal process had on a few East Valley schools.
The current two-year scheduling block was the first to allow individual sports to petition up or down through an appeals committee, and McClintock, Westwood, Coronado and Combs successfully moved down a division in hopes of helping rejuvenate their struggling programs.
Of those successful in appealing down one division from its original placement, Combs fared the best with a 6-4 record and the school’s first playoff appearance last week in Division IV (a loss to Seton Catholic). Westwood was next at 6-4 though the Warriors fell short of a Div. II playoff berth.
“Being in the division we are was great for us,” Combs coach Jesse Hart said. “Being such a new school, we have some really good teams in our division so it’s a great challenge to try and get to their caliber of play. All the teams in our division are well-coached and pretty close to us as far as demographics and enrollment size.”
McClintock went 2-8 in Div. II in 2012, 5-5 in Div. III in 2013, though in the same section as Williams Field, Queen Creek and Saguaro. The Chargers wound up No. 20 in the power rankings, aided by its strength of schedule ranking.
“When we were placed in arguably the toughest section in the division, we thought it was important to not run from it, and continue to build our program,” Chargers coach Matt Lewis said. “Our schedule allows us to have competitive games and also play opponents we are striving to be competitive with in the future.”
Coronado moved down to Div. III and went 3-7, but the Dons were in most games for at least three quarters, if not longer, and the Dons held up at the lower levels.
“Our record was not good, but each week we felt we had a legit chance to win or be competitive in the game,” Coronado coach B.J. Pasquel said. “Six of our games came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter.”
Horizon and Poston Butte tried to move down to Division II and III, respectively, but were denied. It looks wise now since Horizon went 8-2 in its Division I regular season and nearly beat Basha in last week’s playoff opener.
Poston Butte (3-7), however, had it much rougher both in its schedule, and results. A few of those games were decided by less than a touchdown (Marcos de Niza, Notre Dame, Marana Mountain View and Westwood, and lost by nine to Queen Creek), but recently-resigned coach Mike De La Torre said it was a struggle beyond the frustrating outcomes. The Broncos never had a losing season in its brief history and none of the program’s three levels finished .500.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.