The 2009 season is - and should be - the furthest thing from Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds mind this week. He's got a second championship game appearance in five years to worry about, let alone that the Thunder's opponent is Hamilton.

On the outside, however, it's been interesting to see Desert Vista come out of the abyss that season.

The Thunder went 2-8, something which should almost never happen given the talent and neighborhoods full of families in Ahwatukee. Starting quarterback Cody Sokol got hurt, the Thunder lost five consecutive games to end the season.

It was a mess. Hinds was getting ridiculed by segments of the overzealous Desert Vista fan base, it was worse than usual. They wanted him out of the country (usually a successful Desert Vista season only results in folks wanting him only to leave the school).

The real misery, however, began months before the on-field swoon of ‘09.

That summer, Hinds' wife, Karen, lost her brother, sister-in-law and their two kids to a plane crash over New Mexico.

Her brother's third child (the oldest) wasn't on the plane. How's that for shattered teenage years?

The Hinds' family also had two infants at the time, so he was working, coaching and often caring for both infants all at once while an obviously-shaken Karen attempted to deal with her family tragedy.

Hinds won't talk about any of this. For him, it has nothing to do with the 2011 season or Saturday's state championship game, and family matters stay that way with him.

Can't argue with that, and while the program was solid before the pothole of two years ago, DV's quick rebound to last year's state semifinals and this year's title game ought to quiet the legions of relentless naysayers.

Someday, however, Hinds might reflect on how quickly the Thunder returned to prominence, and if they shock Arizona and grab the gold ball on Saturday evening, there are ample reasons it might mean more to him than anyone else.

This article ran as a blog for the Tribune.

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