By now, I will have seen Winslow High School’s new football sensation Michael Zaitz.
Those of you who went to Camp Verde for the season opener were treated to quite a show by the Peoria senior transfer.
How many players get to score a touchdown the first play they participate in at their high school? Zaitz accomplished this when Winslow kicked off and Camp Verde fumbled. He scooped up the loose ball and rambled 20 yards for the score.
Not many get to score five touchdowns in a game either, much less their first game for their new team. Zaitz did this as well, with three running touchdowns and another on another fumble recovery.
The second fumble was by a team-mate, but the results were the same as the first: six points for the Bulldogs.
Winslow looked to be loaded even before this talented transfer arrived. Junior quarterback Jordan Payne saw only limited action at Camp Verde, but should be one of the best signal callers in the state at the 3A level. He is also one of the best defensive backs in Arizona as well.
Seniors Orlando Vargas and Carlos Quezada are two way skill players who were important cogs in Winslow’s run for the 3A North Region Championship and march to the state semi-finals. How much more potent will the Bulldogs be on offense with the addition of Zaitz?
The absence of talented receiver and defensive back Lucas Armenta will be eased somewhat by the presence of Zaitz.
Armenta will be out until at least midseason after a wrist operation. According to reports, he broke the wrist near the end of the basketball season and played the entire baseball season before the seriousness of the injury was discovered.
It slowed him down so much that he was selected as the 3A North Region Player of the Year and to the Arizona All State Team.
Not many athletes play harder than Armenta and his return will make the Bulldogs a much stronger team for a playoff run as the season wears down.
Speaking of athletes in the Armenta family, Lucas has a sister who will be a sophomore at Texas A & M-Corpus Cristi. Erica Armenta was the leading hitter for the Islanders softball team and the catalyst that got that team into the NCAA Tournament.
She led the squad as a freshman in batting average, hits, runs scored and stolen bases. She started every game at second base. Needless to say, more good things are expected of Erica in the 2005 season.
Winslow High School benefited from the same type of contributions when Erica was a player here.
She started all four years and was the catalyst for the offense. She was an exceptional catcher, but moved to shortstop when such a move was seen as beneficial to the team. She is also an excellent centerfielder.
Many Winslow fans will follow with interest the college career of Erica. Hopefully, we will be following Lucas’s college career in the same way next year. My guess is that the three sport star’s college future is in baseball.
The Winslow Mail and As Sam Sees It would like to keep the community informed about the college careers of former Bulldogs.
There are a number of WHS graduates planning to play various sports at institutions around the country. I will be following as much as possible the careers of our neighbor John L. Sullivan (football at Haskell Indian School), my granddaughter Juliet Sullenberger (softball at Scottsdale Community College) and Anthony “AC” Carter (football at New Mexico).
If readers have a friend or relative playing at the collegiate level and want to see their careers followed in the paper, please feel free to contact me at The Winslow Mail.