THE WOODY REPORT #6
The Skyline Region has slowly built itself into a player on the state's prep football scene, largely due to the presence of Mike Nixon at Sunnyslope. During his stay, Nixon took the Vikes to back-to-back semifinal trips and a quarterfinal trip last season. In 2001, the Skyline produced arguably the state's two best players, state player of the year Nixon as well as Whizzer White Award winning running back Randy Hill of McClintock:
- McCLINTOCK CHARGERS- Last year, McClintock's "5A athletes" were supposed to run roughshod over this region as well as the state. Four weeks in though, the Chargers were 2-2 and on track to an 8-4 season. Hill and Andre Bailey, both ASU recruits, are gone, but with the rest of the region being down this year, now would be a good time for their "5A athletes" to take advantage. In ends Rottimi Gipson (6-2, 225) and Darryl Kennon (6-3, 228), the Chargers might have the best defensive line in the region.
- THUNDERBIRD CHIEFS- I'm going to go with my gut here and say these guys are due; the past two years they had perhaps the most athletic team in this region only to run into injury problems in region play. Last year's defense pitched three shutouts and should be tough again with key additions coming from an undefeated JV squad. In fact, a junior could start at quarterback, with Bryan Wagner competing for the job.
- MOON VALLEY ROCKETS- Year in and year out, this is the strongest team in the state, proving that with a national title in this year's power lifting championships. But in all honesty, they don't have a lot on the field to show for that. In defensive back Solomon Smart, the Rockets have one of the west coast's better d-backs; he impressed scouts at the Nike Camp. If a solid running back emerges (maybe play Smart both ways?), they'd have a great shot with a big, strong line leading the way.
- SUNNYSLOPE VIKINGS- Despite everything they lost (Nixon, NAU-recruit Gilbert Gallahar, all-stater A.J. Cooper), I still think the Vikes can hold their own and keep out of the cellar. Ron Gosch is a do-everything player, able to line up at running back, receiver, and linebacker. With a little bit of luck and some help from the junior class, Dallas Hickman's crew could surprise.
- GLENDALE CARDINALS- In Jerry Vaughn Glendale returns a workhorse at running back that can carry the ball every time if needed, while also playing safety. The problem here is how do you get rid of that stigma that comes after years of losing? That mental aspect is more important than people think. Also, depth appears to be thin for the Cardinals.
- WASHINGTON RAMS- The Rams are young, which is a good thing to know following a 2-8 campaign. But, as has been the case for sometime now, Washington lacks size in the trenches to compete year-in and year-out. The Rams need to find a replacement for talented Marvin Mhene; he was Washington's go-to guy at running back. As is the case with most Glendale Union schools, depth is never a given.