As Sam Sees It<br>
The Winslow Bulldogs football team is making a run at the Arizona 3A Conference Championship and, from this perspective, has a pretty good shot at going all the way. There are a number of teams still in the hunt that are capable of claiming the title when it is all over.
Top ranked Blue Ridge is likely the most dangerous, having beaten two of the other top contenders in regular season play. The Coolidge Bears look to be the best of the contenders from other than the 3A East Region.
The first really big game will likely be between Coolidge and defending champion Show Low with the Bulldogs to get the winner if they can get that far. By seeding, Blue Ridge’s toughest obstacle to the Championship Game would be River Valley. The guess here is that it would be a mistake to count out the Round Valley Elks. The Elks are probably the most improved team in the state since the start of the season.
The Bulldogs are blessed with an abundance of speed and will score on anyone. The defense has not faced a team of the quality of Blue Ridge or Coolidge, but has dominated every team it met except Snowflake. Winslow has also improved considerably since that game.
Quarterback Jordan Payne was no where near full speed in that contest and did not play on defense. Speedy senior receiver and defensive back Lucas Armenta missed over half of the season but is healthy now and a huge asset on both offense and defense.
Things will not get any quieter after the football season at Winslow High School as far as sports are concerned. The basketball teams will be in action on Nov. 23, which is three days before the football team hopes to play its last game.
The Lady Bulldogs cagers are the defending Arizona 3A Conference Champions and are favored in most areas to bring Coach Don Petranovich yet another state title. State championships are not easily won. There will be a number of talented challengers, most of whom will come from the same 3A North Region as the Lady Bulldogs. Certainly, Winslow will be one of the best teams in the state and a lot of fun to watch.
The Winslow boys also have the look of legitimate title contenders. Many of the same players who have made the football team a success are expected to star on the basketball court. The main asset of this team will be, as it was in football, blazing speed.
There will be an abundance of other talented teams throughout the region and the state. Winning a title will not be easy for either the boys or the girls. It is, however, doable.
WHS boys’ basketball coach Charlie Gover will enjoy watching the Bulldog football team contend for a title and will be one of the team’s happiest fans when they win it. He will, however, have to start the season with a team that may not resemble the one the Bulldogs will have on the court at the end of the year.
Winslow High School is blessed with an abundance of talented multi-sport athletes. That may cause some problems when the seasons over-lap, but in the long run the competitive spirit that is developed in every sport more than outweighs any temporary disadvantage.
Coach Matt Gracey has built a football program in Winslow that is the envy of the state.
The glory days are back. Let’s cap them off with a state championship trophy for display in the new high school.