The Arizona Interscholastic Association had to give special permission for that?
That it did.
Forced relationships are never a good idea and that's essentially how the game between Desert Vista and Maryvale came about.
The Thunder had trouble securing the two "freedom" games after the AIA's computer spit out eight of the 10 games on the 2011 schedule.
With every sensible opponent off the market, Desert Vista finally came to an agreement with Maryvale on a two-year contract, but since it would give the Panthers an 11th game it had to be approved by the AIA.
The outcome was a tad lopsided as Desert Vista took care of Maryvale with ease 63-0 on Friday night in what was the only game in the state and the first of three over the weekend.
"I'm just proud of our boys," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "They stayed focused on the sidelines. The guys that got in played real hard."
The Panthers had trouble with the quarterback exchange several times in the first half and gave the Thunder the ball inside the Maryvale 30-yard line a handful of times.
Desert Vista took advantage of the short field and scored three times within the first 12 minutes of the game. The Thunder led 28-0 by the end of the first quarter.
The running clock rule was in effect before halftime as the Thunder pushed out to 42-0 with 4:33 left in the second quarter on Dominic Kereluk's second touchdown.
There is no question that the Thunder gained some confidence, found some playing time for younger players and sustained only one major injury (junior Ian Pletnik sustained a possible dislocated elbow) in opening the year against a Phoenix Metro team.
After the fact, Hinds had no qualms with turning down a state-power type opponent, say for instance Peoria Centennial, or having their own calls go unreturned when they had a chance to make deals in March for the freedom games.
"These guys (Maryvale) are going to win some games and get some power points," Hinds said. "It's about the power points. Our schedule is tough enough, you know what I mean."
Maryvale coach second-year coach Cornelius Bowick was fine with the pairing as well. He knew coming in that he didn't have a Darren Woodson or a Phillippi Sparks to run onto the field like the Panthers did back in the late in 1980s.
But he was more than happy to bring his short-handed (some players were just cleared to play) and youthful (a lot of sophomores and juniors) squad to Ahwatukee Foothills to show his players what they can achieve.
While in college the lesser opponent gets a big old check in return, here the Panthers earned some bruises and eventually some victory points (and Desert Vista's opponent's victory points).
But it was what his program needed.
"The No. 1 teacher is the game," Bowick said. "I wanted to see how they respond to adversity. Some responded well and some didn't respond well at all. You could see some of the players tense and didn't know how to respond.
"I would never, ever want to see anyone take a 63-0 shellacking like we took, but we are going to learn from this. When we fumbled seven times in the first half, and they see that on film, they will know we didn't even give ourselves a chance to fight."
Enough of the off field what ifs; here's a look at what happened on the field and what the Thunder did to backup their state title aspirations.
Junior wide receiver Kaleb Germinaro stepped into the Mike Ingrassia role quite comfortably, scoring on runs of 14 and 19 yards on the fly sweep before catching a 42-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-forever in the third quarter from Hunter Rodriguez (4 of 8 for 80 yards and an INT).
He said it was easy staying focused and keeping the intensity despite the fact that the outcome was essentially decided by the end of the first quarter.
"I play every play like it is my last play," said Germinaro, who finished with 92 yards rushing on three carries and 134 total yards. "(The fun) started when we did a walk through at 4:30. Actually, when I put on my tie and dress shirt because that meant it was game day."
Senior running back Mike Arredondo added a score and had 60 yards on nine carries, while Kereluk had 22 yards on five carries, including his two second-quarter touchdowns.
The defense added a score early as Lorenzo Melvin recovered one of Maryvale's fumbles when the junior defensive end grabbed the loose ball in the end zone to give Desert Vista a 14-0 lead.
The Thunder added two scores on special teams, although one was called back, as Matt Smith returned the second-half kickoff 96 yards for a school record. Junior backup quarterback Matt Young, getting time as a punt returner, had his long return for a score called back because of a penalty.
It was one of those games that became difficult for the dominating coach. It is hard to determine when the right time is to send in the second and third units without taking away from the first-teamers who need to the reps to get ready for next week's opponent, in this case Mesa.
"As a head coach, you just try to manage this game," Hinds said.
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Maryvale 0 0 0 0 – 0
DV 28 14 14 7 – 63
DV – Germinaro 14 run (Goldfein kick), 8:14
DV – Melvin fumble recovery end zone (Goldfein kick), 5:01
DV – Germinaro 19 run (Goldfein kick), 4:30
DV – Arredondo 5 un (Goldfein kick), 0:00
DV – Kereluk 2 run (Goldfein kick), 9:12
DV – Kereluk 5 run (Giesking kick), 4:33
DV – Smith 96 kickoff return (Giesking kick), 11:44
DV – Germinaro 42 pass from Rodriguez (Giesking kick), 2:24
DV – Hilgers 2 run (Geisking kick), 7:47
First downs 4 17
Rushing 21-(-)45 28-245
Passing att/comp/int 8-10-1 4-8-1
Passing yards 80 80
Fumbles 6/5 1/0