The saga when it comes to the Nevada selection for the Barry Sollenberger Classic has heated up again as the game closes in on the one month mark.
AIA Executive Director Chuck Schmidt made a trip to Nevada and spoke at the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control meeting on Tuesday to explain the selection process for the annual mid-August game featuring Nevada and Arizona schools.
At first glance his quotes didn’t exactly show confidence in Arizona football against Nevada powerhouse Bishop Gorman, the team that had represented the Silver State the last two seasons.
“The dialogue centered around what would be the best game,” Schmidt told the board, according to the Las Vegas Sun article. “We wanted to insure the Arizona team invited had the chance to compete on the field.”
The Arizona team would be Desert Vista.
But Schmidt on Thursday said it was taken out of context, and that the two teams in the big-school game - Palo Verde and the Thunder - met the criteria that would have been sought by the late Sollenberger if he had been around to finalize the matchup.
"It is loosely based on last year's teams, what they have coming back and what they stand for," Schmidt said. "To imply anything else is simply false and taken out of context of what was discussed."
Here is the entire story from the Las Vegas Sun.
The Thunder was chosen as the Arizona representative after winning the state title last November. Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said he wanted to play Gorman at the time but said it wasn’t something he had no control over.
But the game’s organizers did and chose to go with Palo Verde on Aug. 18 at University of Phoenix Stadium instead of Gorman.
The article had Schmidt saying: “Do you want to show up and play a game where there is really no chance of winning.”
But again Schmidt said that quote was out of context and came when he was discussing the public vs. private issue that has been a prevalent issue in Nevada for some time and nothing to do with the Thunder taking the field against Gorman.
"I certainly did not say anything harsh against Arizona football," he said. "I touched on a lot of different topics. I can't help where the quotes are attributed and how they are used."
Gorman thumped Chaparral last year in the event 42-22 after trailing at halftime and lost 24-17 to Hamilton the year before.
The program has been impressive under Tony Sanchez, who has posted a 43-3 record since 2009, but The Thunder has a bit of talent coming back and seems primed for a similar run in 2012.
For what it is worth, Palo Verde has been pretty solid – going 59-6 since 2007 – and will be a quality opponent for the Thunder.
Clearly, there was a form of miscommunication happening on Tuesday. It is not my place to question another reporter's work, especially one I don't know from another state.
At the same time, it is hard to believe Schmidt would paint Arizona football in such a negative light.
Schmidt wasn't happy about the way the story was presented, but really all he cares about is upholding Sollenberger's ideals and legacy.
"When it comes to size and scope we feel we have found the school that best identifies with Desert Vista, which does such an awesome job when it comes to sportsmanship and the way they handle themselves," Schmidt said. "They are very capable and comparable teams. The focus is on Barry and what he would have wanted."
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.