Thunder season was uncomfortable from the start - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Game Day

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Thunder season was uncomfortable from the start

Desert Vista still confident in strong foundation

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Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 4:45 am

All of a sudden the temperature changed.

Soon thereafter it wasn’t long before the players were starting to stir, coaches were fleeing the bus and no one was ready to make the trip in the stifling environment.

At the time, it was just a problem with the air conditioning on the charter bus getting ready to depart Desert Vista’s parking lot for a six-hour ride to California for the first game of the year.

But maybe, if one believes in such things, it was a sign of things to come in an uncomfortable 2013 season for the Thunder.

Something was certainly broke in this unforeseen 4-6 season that came to an end Friday night with a 34-7 loss to Brophy at Thunder Stadium.

Desert Vista had a chance to get in the Division I postseason, a vital achievement to send the seniors off with some pride while gaining important postseason minutes for the underclassmen coming back, with a win but it never came together.

“We just didn’t have enough things go our way,” senior Anthony Reaves said. “Every time we did something good, we always seemed to do something to lose momentum. We should have been better, but there is no other group of guys I’d want to fight for.

“It’s a brotherhood that can’t be broken.”

The loss to Brophy was a microcosm of the season as there were missed opportunities, struggles in the running game and the defense gave up way too much to the Broncos’ running attack.

And when Desert Vista did something positive — senior Richard Heywood caught a 45-yard touchdown pass — the Thunder almost instantly lost momentum when Brophy took the ensuing kickoff back about 85 yards to set up an easy scoring drive.

The struggles led to the first non-playoff season since 2009 when the team went 2-8.

The Thunder responded with a 10-win bounce back season and a state title the following two years.

“We’ve been through seasons like this before and I believe you have to stay the course and continue to work hard,” Hinds said. “It also makes you take a good look at yourself and the things you do. The last time we went through that there was a lot of growth and I think that will be the case again.

“There are going to be some decisions I am going to have to make and things I have to do to move forward.”

The senior class won’t be part of it but players like Jason King, Will Barfield and Garrison Schwartz have left an indelible impression on those who remain.

“They did everything right, but we didn’t do enough to win,” sophomore quarterback Alex Farina said. “I am so thankful for those guys and how they accepted me. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I will always look up to some of those guys.”

The seniors lingered at Thunder Stadium on Friday night following the traditional Senior Walk — the class holds hands, walks the distance of the field and comes back — before hugging it out and sharing some final words in their Desert Vista uniforms.

“I will miss these guys and the level of trust I felt,” Schwartz said. “There’s nothing like lining up next to someone and knowing he had your back. This is hard, but there are bigger things to life than a tough football season.

“We will take the things we’ve gone though this year and it will give us life experience to build off the rest of our lives.”

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

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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