Going for a ride

Desert Vista quarterback Matt Young evades Palo Verde defense and throws a pass during the Sollenberger Classic at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday.

David Jolkovski/AFN

GLENDALE - Matt Young's first attempt hung in the air too long. A defender undercut the receiver and intercepted it.

Not a good start, but it also was anything but an omen.

Young, a first-year starting quarterback, looked poised, shifty and displayed a strong arm along with good decision-making abilities in helping the Thunder to the 20-10 win over Palo Verde in the Sollenberger Classic on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Young completed his next 12 passes and finished 12 of 15 for 164 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was clearly going through his progressions instead of taking off after the first read.

“He’s a competitor,” head coach Dan Hinds said. “We knew that and he keeps his cool.”

Young did some good things in and out of the pocket. He should only get better considering he really hasn’t played the position since the 2010 season when he was the starter on the junior varsity.

“I am still trying to get comfortable in the pocket,” Young said. “We have a great offensive line but when everyone is covered up I like to take off and do what I can.”


Muscial chairs

The Desert Vista offensive line returned nearly intact, but had many different looks during the game.

Cole Preston got hurt and was out of few plays, while Zach Tamburo had to get his helmet repaired and was out of few as well.

The reserves came in as played well for the most part.

“We got guys who are committed,” senior Cole Preston said. “There is a first team but we are all together and it is great group of guys.”

Sophomore Derek Hicks shined in replacing Preston and Tamburo as Jarek Hilgers scored the first touchdown of the game on a run to the right side on the first play after Tamburo left because of his helmet.

Out of order

Greg Battle wasn't happy.

Now, the Desert Vista defensive coordinator is a hard man to please on many levels, but when the Thunder's headsets didn't work he let it be known something needed to be done.

Palo Verde had perfectly working communication with the coaches up in the booth and Desert Vista was unable to use the knowledge of the coaches up top as easily. They were using walkie talkies.

A loose wire was the culprit and the Thunder were out of commission until about 5 minutes left in the second quarter.

"Not exactly the way you want to start the season," said Desert Vista athletic director TJ Snyder, who took the brunt of Battle's wrath.

Staying strong

Palo Verde (Nev.) head coach Darwin Rost didn't want to be a distraction.

But when you are well loved by the community and a successful football coach for 26 years, news of being diagnosed with lupus doesn't get swept under the rug.

"I really don't want to talk about it," Rost said to AIA365.com. "I'll just move forward. We'll get through this."

He contemplated calling the game from the booth but was on the field for the Panthers.

Living right

The Barry Sollenberger Classic does have style.

The visiting teams from Nevada stayed at a hotel in the Biltmore area.

Not bad accommodations to say the least.

Moapa Valley practiced at Camelback High both days after arriving on Thursday, while Palo Verde practiced at Sunnyslope High one day and Camelback the next.

Blue Ridge coach Paul Moro and his group arrived Friday and were honored to be in the game, but he is very happy to be heading back to the White Mountains area.

"We did two light practices and that was enough in this heat," he said. "It's 75 back home. I can't wait to get back there."

New digs

Desert Vista was flashing their new Nike uniforms and looked very sharp.

A state title must bring privileges.

"Pretty nice, don't you think?" Thunder coach Dan Hinds said.

On the sidelines

Desert Vista senior safety Nick Farina (knees) missed the game after being a game-time decision, while offensive guard Mitch Wehrli (knee) most likely won't be back until the Mountain Pointe game on Sept. 7.

"It's killing me," Farina said.

Stay safe

Moapa Valley senior Kyler Leavitt appeared to suffer a neck or head injury and was taken out of the stadium on a backboard. The paramedics said he was expected to be fine.

Split squad

In the Desert Vista game, two of the seven officials were from Nevada.

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



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


(1) comment


Wonderful article!! Huge fan here!!


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