The Desert Vista “Senior Walk” is one of the program’s best traditions and it might not happen in 2012.
The Thunder played its final home game of the regular season last week and chose not to do it after its win over Dobson.
The senior class took a vote and gambled on the fact that it will have a first-round home playoff game.
A win tonight at Chandler (7-2) and no worries. It would most likely secure a top-eight seed, Desert Vista enters the week at No. 7, and it can continue the tradition next week at Thunder Stadium.
A loss, however, and the Thunder might have to make other plans because it would probably put them on the road in the first round of the postseason.
“It was a hard decision, but we want everyone to know we have the confidence we can beat anyone,” senior Nick Farina said. “We use that as motivation to get everyone going. Coach (Dan) Hinds asked us when we wanted to do it and we all looked at each other at the same time and knew we wanted to wait.”
The Thunder (7-2) is playing well heading into the game, but the last few years the game against the Wolves, who are 10th in the seedings, has been a nail biter.
Last year, Desert Vista won 38-31 with Chandler having the ball on the Thunder 16-yard line in the final minute before turning the ball over on downs.
In the 2010 game, the Thunder prevailed 28-21, but wasn’t put away until a Farina interception even though the Wolves played without current UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.
Hundley led the Wolves to the winning scoring drive in 2009 with a touchdown pass with 2 seconds remaining in a 29-22 victory.
So chances are this year’s game is going to come down to the final minutes again and a loss might put the Senior Walk, which sees the senior class hold hands and walk the length of the field together, in jeopardy or at least add a twist to it, if they decide to do it at a later date should they not have another home game.
Hinds has no problem with the seniors postponing the tradition to a home game that might not happen.
“They chose not do it,” Hinds said. “They are assuming we will be back. I never get involved in it, but there is nothing wrong with showing confidence in yourself. It’s not a slight against Chandler. They just believe they are going to win.”
The game against the Wolves just means both teams are getting a jump start on the postseason. While both are assured of playoff berth even with a loss, for seeding purposes a win means having the comfort of a home game in round one.
“We are going after it and we are treating it like a playoff game,” Hinds said. “We’ve already talked about it in those terms after last week’s game. We told them playoffs start now. That intensity will be there and we are starting the playoffs a week early.”
Desert Vista has cruised to a couple of wins — 103-17 scoring advantage over Mesquite and Dobson — since the loss to Hamilton and seems to be coming together.
“We expect to go far into the playoffs,” senior Kaleb Germinaro said. “We are taking it as if we lose this game it is a bad situation overall. Playing Chandler just prepares us for the playoffs.”
The Thunder are about as healthy as they have been all year. The confidence is up and they are playing well. It’s the right time for things to come together and just might be enough to keep the Senior Walk tradition going.
“We’ve cut our mistakes way down and we all felt really good about our win on Friday (over Dobson),” Hinds said. “Everybody was starting to feel that team unity grow.”
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