Zone Read: Crazy Clock Confusion, Crew Chaos

Arizona Sports News online

Zebra Crossing

Friday night Fairfax High players streamed onto the field after a dramatic one-point win over host North.

Or so they thought.

Follow me on this…

With just over eight seconds left in the game, the Mustangs attempted a game-winning field goal which was blocked and recovered by a North player who was tackled as time expired.

Here’s where it starts to get crazy.

The head referee asked the press box to put one second back on the clock. The Stampede came out in victory formation, took a knee and celebrated an apparent win. Moments later North head coach Bernie Busken argued to the crew on the field that it should have been the Mustangs’ possession with one second on the clock since the ball didn’t cross the line of scrimmage.

The refs not only gave the ball back to North but put one second back on the clock. 

Of course North brought their field goal unit back on the field and…of course the kick was good sealing the Mustangs 27-26 home win in a game which made zero sense for those of us who follow football.

Befuddling isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe the bizarre sequence of events made by this group of referees.

Some would argue this is what makes high school football, high school football: no replays, no appeals and an angry bunch of coaches and players bussing back to Laveen. Not a real badge of honor for the veteran crew who I’m told have been downgraded and will not receive any post-season assignments later this fall. 

Essentially, Fairfax won the game TWICE but lost.

Got that? 

An Apple(white) For Your Thoughts

It was good to see former Desert Mountain star quarterback Kyle Allen get a win in his home state as the Houston Cougars knocked off UofA last weekend in Tucson. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Cougs who were relocated to Austin when Hurricane Harvey hit. UH also had their first game of the season against UT-San Antonio cancelled.

Through it all, first-year head coach Major Applewhite was commended for his selflessness and pro-active thinking during the crisis.

“He dealt with all the people who needed to care of their families back [in Houston],” Allen said in his post game press conference from Tucson. “I thought the whole staff handled it really well. I was really appreciative of the way they handled it.”

A Case for Cade

Last fall I first told you about a new linebacker over at Higley High who was making an immediate impact on Eddy Zubey’s defense after transferring in from nearby Williams Field. 

After registering 109 tackles as a junior, Cade Matthews is up to his old tricks again with the Knights. Through the first three games he already has 35 stops, including 11 in the backfield. What’s even more astonishing is he only played a half in two of the three contests due to lopsided scores.

Matthews best game to date could have been last week at Saguaro: 15 tackles (six for loss) and two sacks. He already has offers from Air Force and Columbia and several interest from several others.

A Knight in shining armor, indeed.

Second Time Around

Whatever message first-year Gilbert Christian head coach Scott McDaniel was selling this off-season, the student Knights’ body was buying. With the help of McDaniel’s on-campus recruiting, the roster size has swelled and GC is off to a 3-0 start with a huge game this week against fellow unbeaten Phoenix Christian.

One of McDaniel’s key new (old) additions this season is Blake Kelly who is a playmaking weapon out of the backfield or split out on the edge. He also plays cornerback.

The track star returned to football this season after taking last year off and is a big reason Gilbert Christian is off to their best start since 2014.

They’ll get their stiffest test of the season against PC who hasn’t allowed a point all season, rolling to easy victories over Alchesay, Chandler Prep and Bisbee.

The Wolverine

Out at Tolleson High junior Andre Johnson has been turning some heads and making a case to be considered one of the rising prospects in the west Valley.

The 6-foot-3, 181-pounder with 4.6 speed is averaging nearly 18 yards per reception to go with four touchdowns. He’s also a threat in the return game and plays defensive back for head coach Jason Wilke, as well.

Johnson pulled off the hat trick last week against Mesa returning a blocked punt and kicks for scores, as well as hauling in a touchdown reception. 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.