In death peace is always asked for those who are no longer with us, but in reality moments of serenity should be wished for the family and friends dealing with the void.

It isn’t easily attained.

Dan Hinds knows all about it after losing his father, Benny, who died on June 12 at the age of 78.

It helped in that it wasn’t unexpected as the elder Hinds was diagnosed with bone cancer and fought it for as long as he could.

“He told me before the Hamilton game (on Oct. 5) that he had to talk to me about something after the game, so I knew something was wrong,” Hinds said. “It got him pretty good and it was rough at the end, but he lived a good life.”

The fact that they had a good relationship that only got stronger since the diagnosis has given Hinds the peace everyone searches for in the mourning process.

“There is something to be said about being deeply connected at the end,” Hinds said. “It’s tough and I will miss him every day, but there are some people who lose their parents and they are filled with guilt and regret. I don’t have any of that.”

It allows Hinds to come to grips, gain some serenity and focus on other aspects — like Desert Vista football — of his life.

The Thunder won a 7-on-7 event at Arizona State against mostly smaller schools on the day his dad died.

“I kept getting texts from players saying they won it for him,” Hinds said. “It was good to know they were working hard even though I wasn’t there.”

The Thunder didn’t fare well in Northern Arizona the following week as they missed a good portion of the defensive players who attended an out-of-state camp.

The most important development for the Desert Vista football program during the spring and summer sessions is finding a starting quarterback.

While they are not there yet, Hinds was happy with how the three candidates performed thus far.

Sophomore-to-be Alex Farina, who was the freshman starter last year, is still a consideration. While senior Cade Van Raaphorst, the junior varsity starter in 2012, knows the system the best, and Desert Ridge transfer Brendon Smith, who will be a senior, has immersed himself into the system and handled the transition well.

“They are going to make it a tough decision,” Hinds said. “They all have their good qualities and things they need to work on. We’d like to have it figured out by the time we come back from camp (July 23-27 in Snowflake), but it isn’t necessary.”

Hinds indicated that Farina, the brother of graduated all-state safety Nick, will either start for the varsity or JV. He won’t be the varsity backup unless there is an injury. Farina is athletic and plays older than his class level would suggest.

Smith played in at least 10 games for the Jaguars last season as he completed 14 of his 39 pass attempts for 298 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions, along with 32 rushes for 22 yards (including sacks) with a touchdown.

“He is working hard and he is very coachable,” Hinds said. “He is doing all of the little things a quarterback has to do to be prepared.”

Van Raaphorst not only has the lineage, his dad, Jeff, led Arizona State to the 1986 Rose Bowl title, but he already has a college scholarship as he will be heading to Duke to play lacrosse.

“He has really come along physically,” Hinds said. “He is really running the football well and he can throw it, too. Football is becoming more and more about the multi-faceted type guys at quarterback.”

There is plenty of time before Desert Vista takes the field on Aug. 31 in San Diego against Mission Hills (Calif.), but if a little quarterback competition can help keep his mind off the void, Hinds is all for it.

“We have been moving on a little bit each week,” Hinds said. “He will always be with me when I am on the sidelines. He was always up for talking football and the season will be here before we know it.”

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

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