Before every Desert Vista football game that I covered the last two years one of the first things I did when I hit the sidelines was find Benny Hinds, especially before a big game like Hamilton and the Ahwatukee Bowl.

Mr. Hinds always knew, through talks with his son, Dan, how well prepared the team was mentally. Whether or not the team had a good week of practice or if they were a little off.

More than anything though, I loved talking to Mr. Hinds, who died this week, about stories of when Dan, the Thunder's football coach, and his older brother, David, were kids. He talked about their boxing days, when he coached them in Pop Warner and really remembered fondly Dan's play at McClintock and Northern Arizona.

He'd always give a little funny story and then the following week I'd sometimes mention it to Dan and he'd look at me like how and in heck did I know that.

It didn't take much to get Mr. Hinds talking about how proud he was of his sons and I'll never forget watching him during the 2011 state championship game against Hamilton.

As I'd follow the ball while keeping stats I'd come across Mr. Hinds and as it became more and more clear that the Thunder was going to beat Hamilton, the smile and gleam in his eye were becoming more prominent.

He kept asking can they do it? Can they hold on? How many yards rushing do they have?

I remember asking how it felt watching his son, and his coaching staff, come up with a perfect game plan.

While I don't remember exactly what Mr. Hinds said back to me, I will never forget the look on his face and I was amazed by how completely proud he was at that moment before getting caught up in the postgame craziness.

Later that night, I remember thinking I hope at some point I made my dad feel that same way.

As we get close to Father's Day, Dan Hinds and his family are hurting terribly right now, but I hope he realizes just how his dad felt about him.

From the little bit I got to see on a few Friday nights, it was something special.

Editor's note: Services for Mr. Hinds will be on Monday, June 17. The viewing is at 9 a.m. and the service will begin at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1483 N. Driftwood in Gilbert.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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