The County Line
12 months ago Andrew Luberda 0
Welcome back to The County Line, my blog on news and notes surrounding the athletic programs we cover at CountyLinePreps.com.
Hard to believe we’re heading into the second half of the season but it, in fact, begins on Friday night.
In this edition, some news about the QCUSD high school opening in 2019, Queen Creek enjoying home support, ALA-Queen Creek quarterback update, and a Bucket List member is out for the season.
Here we go, let’s walk the line…
Eastmark HS – The second Queen Creek Unified School District high school, which was recently named Eastmark High School is opening in 2019. Paul Gagnon will be the school’s new principal when it opens. I was fortunate to get to know and work with Mr. Gagnon during his stint as Queen Creek’s principal.
I’m looking forward to covering the athletics’ programs at the new high school, which is appropriately located in the Eastmark Community in Mesa. The school is currently under construction, but as you can see in the photo, the goalposts on the football field are already in place. The new school will open with only freshmen and sophomores in 2019.
Eastmark High School recently announced its mascot choice, which was determined by a vote. We’re happy to include the Firebirds in our coverage at County Line Preps.
Getting prepped for tonight’s big @eastmarkhs mascot announcement🎉 Who will win? Who did you vote for? Come find out who won at tonight’s @EastmarkAZ First Friday Concert at the Eastmark Great Park. Reveal will happen a little before 7:00. @qcusd #excellencethroughleadership pic.twitter.com/n3X3cRjWFh
— Eastmark High School (QCUSD) (@eastmarkhs) September 7, 2018
Home Sweet Home – In my recap of Queen Creek’s win over Skyline last Friday night, I wrote about the Bulldogs’ dominance at home, where they’ve outscored three opponents, 169 – 47.
I asked head coach Travis Schureman about the Bulldogs’ consistency so far this season at Ralph Pomeroy Field.
“It’s a great place to play,” he responded. “We have great fans who come out and support us. That’s huge, anytime you can get have that type of fan support that packs this place. We appreciate what the student body, the families and the community do for us here, because it’s an electric feeling.”
“Our players are coming to work every day and that’s important,” he added. “They’re staying the course, so we’ll see if we can continue (doing the same).”
Patriots Name New Starting QB – This week marks the first game of the season that transfers across the state are eligible to play, and that includes Rand Jensen and Bo Winfield, who transferred to ALA-Queen Creek from Basha and Red Mountain, respectively.
Both will play on Friday night, as head coach Rich Edwards told me in a text. Jensen, a junior, will be the starting quarterback when the Patriots visit their sister school to the north – ALA-Gilbert. Winfield will play on defense and “get No. 2 reps at QB,” according to Edwards.
Prayers Up for Tucker – For the second time in as many seasons, Poston Butte senior Tucker Usher, who made our 2018 Bucket List, will miss more than half the season due to an injury. He’s played in just eight of a possible 20 regular-season games over the last two years.
Just over a year ago, Usher broke his collarbone on the first day of summer workouts, during a 7 v 7 event. Last week at Desert Edge, he suffered a dislocated ankle and a fractured fibula, requiring the Broncos’ three-way threat to undergo surgery on Friday morning.
“It was really bad,” Poston Butte head coach Dain Thompson told me about the injury. “Poor kid just kept asking me why this keeps happening to him.”
If you are a person who believes in prayer, @UsherTucker could use a few. The @PBHS_FB senior suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula at Desert Edge last Friday. He is having surgery tomorrow a.m. 🙏⬆️ pic.twitter.com/PORixO83SW
— County Line Preps (@CountyLinePreps) September 20, 2018
This is not the first time Thompson has seen one of his players experience multiple injuries during their varsity career at Poston Butte. His son Tyler had two separate knee injuries while a Bronco.
“(It’s) been a lot of fun and joy with football in my life, (but) these moments are the opposite.” Dain Thompson said.
I asked Usher about the injury and what he said to his teammates, to whom he is a leader.
“My teammates obviously all contacted me the night of the injury and sent me their prayers and wishes to get better fast,” he said. “I answered them with a ‘thank you, I love you, and keep working towards our one team goal and that’s getting to the playoffs.’”
“As a team our goal has been winning the very first playoff game in Broncos’ football history, and we always talked about nothing stopping us along the way. I can’t wait to watch my brothers battle it out the rest of the season.”
Prior to Thompson taking over the Broncos’ program before last season, there was little stability with turnover at the head coach position. It’s been well-documented that time was difficult for the players.
Usher said he wouldn’t change a thing. He’s learned more than football at Poston Butte.
“People often (overlook) Poston Butte football because of past records and a long history of different head coaches, but I am proud to say that I would not have wanted to go anywhere else for my high school football career,” he told me. “Our coaching staff is very humble, and I think they deserve a lot more credit than what they get.
“Not only have our coaches taught us how to play football, but they have changed everybody into great young men and that goes a lot further in life than being a great player. I love my coaches and my team and everything that Poston Butte football represents.”
It’s that type of outlook that will get Tucker through this temporary setback and he’ll likely be better off for it on the other side.
Get well soon, Tucker!