Lions may have a new look - The Explorer: Sports

Lions may have a new look

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Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:11 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Last year's magical run at Pusch Ridge included a nine-game winning streak before a season-ending, 28-7 second-round playoff loss to Yuma Catholic.

"We felt like our team was blessed all year," said coach Bob Vance. "We were really good. It wasn't because we were more talented. God blessed our season."

The Lions had a high-powered offense that scored more than 40 points eight times. At times, it looked like they were conducting throw-and-catch practice drills with their spread offense.

Six of Pusch Ridge's eight all-league performers have graduated. Only speedster Tyler Vance and kicker Chad Springetti return.

Senior Vance and classmate Tyler Goodwillie "will be the two guys I'm counting on at the skill positions," Bob Vance said before the Lions host their season-opener with Northwest Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.

"John Jackson is a key at offensive lineman and linebacker, and Ryan Tanner and Colin Chafin are keys also."

The quarterback job is up for grabs between newcomers Ryan Genzman and Josh Mendibles, both juniors. "Goodwillie might play some, too," Vance said. "This year we might run more, depending on how things shake out at quarterback."

The Lions, fast a year ago, should be so again.

"Speed is always one of our strengths," Vance said.

Pusch Ridge's defense was often overshadowed by its high-powered offense, but the defense was very solid.

"(Defensive coordinator) Coach Mark Frithsen is such a good coach," Vance said. "I think we'll be just as effective."

"We've got Tyler Goodwillie at safety and Tyler Vance at cornerback," Frithsen said.

"We'll need to experiment. We're having some players play that haven't played before. Usually our first game is pretty ugly. So many new kids."

"Ryan Tanner can be almost unblockable at times," Vance said. "John Jackson might be tried at linebacker, or else he'll play defensive lineman."

"We did all right on defense last year," Frithsen said. "As long as the offense scores, it takes a lot of pressure off the defense."

Pusch Ridge has but 22 varsity players. "A lot of guys go both ways," Vance said.

Jackson thinks the team can go unbeaten in region for the third straight year.

"We may not score so many points," Jackson said. "We'll have a solid defense."

In the region, "I would still pick us," Vance said. "We may not have the single standout. But a lot of guys who are very good. I expect to win again."

Pusch Ridge

Region: 2A South

Coach Bob Vance, 3rd year

Record: 16-5

2010 Schedule

Sept. 3 Northwest Christian

Sept. 10 at Phoenix Christian

Sept. 17 at Miami

Sept. 24 Baboquivari

Oct. 1 San Manuel

Oct. 8 at Canyon State Academy

Oct. 15 at Hayden

Oct. 22 San Carlos

Oct. 29 at Ray

Jackson a key on both sides

John Jackson doesn't touch the ball for Pusch Ridge Christian, but his value shows whenever the high-flying Lions score touchdowns.

The senior left tackle is a key piece of a line that helped pave the way for 2009's 2A player of the year, Greg Schimke, to throw the most touchdowns passes and second-most passing yards in Southern Arizona last year. The Lions scored more than 40 points nine different times.

"Greg has a great heart," Jackson said of the graduated Schimke. "He gave us credit in giving him a lot of time to throw.

"(This year) we'll be able to blow up some holes and run well."

Jackson's value becomes of paramount importance on a team that coach Bob Vance says doesn't have as much depth s it did a year ago.

Last year, the Lions had eight players make the 2A all-league teams. Two of those return.

"We may not score so many points," Jackson said. "I think we'll have a solid defense."

Jackson plans to be part of that solid defense. If all goes according to plan, Pusch Ridge will have another playoff run, and Jackson will make one of the 2A all-league teams.

Defensive coordinator Mark Frithsen said he's replacing all of his linebackers from last year. Jackson hopes to make the conversion to fill one of those holes.

"I played a fair amount of defense," Jackson said. "But linebacker will be a new challenge."

"John Jackson, at offensive lineman and linebacker, will be a key," Vance said.

"Coach has faith in me," Jackson said.

"We'd like to go unbeaten in region for the third straight year," Jackson said. "We can go further in state."

— Curtis Elliott

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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