Homecoming for the Winslow Bulldogs on Friday was quite a celebration and quite a football game. The opponents were the Round Valley Elks who were coming off the spoiling of another team's Homecoming celebration.
The Elks had turned Blue Ridge Yellowjacket mistakes into touchdowns and beaten the then top ranked Yellowjackets 15-7. That result had propelled the Elks to the top of The Arizona Republic poll in the 3A Conference.
Winslow continued to be ignored by the pollsters despite an impressive 5-1 record with the only blemish being a 20-19 loss at Snowflake.
The Bulldogs were clearly the better team, but offensive mistakes turned into two easy scores for the Elks and Winslow trailed most of the contest.
The large Homecoming crowd really got into the game, encouraging the Bulldogs and venting their anger when they saw something differently than the officiating crew did.
The Winslow defense that had controlled the line of scrimmage all night finally forced a Round Valley turnover that resulted in the winning touchdown. All they had to do then was keep the Elks at bay and seal the victory.
The Bulldog stalwarts were up to the task and served notice that there is still some pretty good football played north of I-40. (Technically, Nasser Stadium is a few blocks south of that latitude.)
Before the celebration gets too far out of hand, Winslow faithful should remember that there is still a 3A North Region to be won. The sternest test for that chore will likely come on Friday when the Tuba City Warriors come to town.
Tuba City enjoys a 5-2 record for the season and is a perfect 4-0 against regional competition. The Warriors demolished Monument Valley 51-6 in their game on Friday. The only losses on Tuba City's record are a 28-20 set back at Snowflake and a surprising 53-0 thumping by Fountain Hills.
Both of those are quality football teams and it is likely that the latter score isn't really indicative of the talent of the respective squads.
The Warriors have scored 207 points against regional competition and allowed only 20. Their only losses were in the first two games of the season. It would be a serious mistake to take this team lightly.
Several readers have given me information about more WHS graduates currently playing a sport at the collegiate level.
There will, undoubtedly, still be some who have not been reported or remembered. However, let me pass along congratulations to this growing list of successful local athletes and wish them the best.
Orlando Vargas, one of the stars of the 2004 Winslow Bulldogs football team, is currently plying his skills at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Vargas is a defensive back for the Aggies.
Three former WHS baseball players will be performing at the collegiate level. Daniel Vandervalk is at William Penn College in Oscalusa, Iowa. Remigio Sells is at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia. Lucas Armenta is at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma.
Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox on being the first team to win a division series this year, sweeping the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox in three brilliantly played games.
This is an exciting team and should be fun to watch in the American League Championship Series and, possibly, the World Series.