RED ROCK REVIEW .COM  is Sedona Arizona's Events, Issues, and Information Guide

Major Update on the 15th of Each Month (New Stuff Everyday)

Hot Links:


SRRHS Football program picking up momentum

by Jillian O'Bannion

Editor’s Note: O’Banion is a junior at Sedona Red Rock High School. Last year, she was the Editor in Chief of The Sting, the school’s student newspaper. She is also an excellent athlete, a vital player on the women’s soccer, basketball and softball teams.

Sedona football“Scoreboards are for newspapers, mommas, daddies, grandmas and grandpas, but not the team.” These words from Jim Cromartie, Sedona Red Rock High School’s head football coach, just about sum up his feelings about sports competition.

However, a bit more conversation with him reveals his love of the game - the program, the athletes, the coaching staff, and the crowd.

Cromartie is starting his second season at the helm of the Scorpions coaching staff. He has 31 years of coaching experience under his belt with five of those at the University of New Mexico.

Coaching is what he loves to do and Sedona is where he wants to do it. The sports fields at the high school are filled with action daily as the team prepares for the season.

Cromartie is obviously proud of the enthusiasm and efforts of the 2001 Scorpion football team. “This group has worked harder than I’ve ever had in a team,” he said.

Key returning senior players include Fritz Nugent (running back/receiver), Brian Sanders (inside linebacker/full back), Tyson Liebe   (tight end/linebacker), Preston Tribble (linebacker/tight end), Shawn Koupal (running/ defensive back), Matt Lawler (kicker/defensive back), and Grady Polcyn (running/ defensive back).

Adding experience are returning juniors Johnny Cunningham (quarterback/defensive back), Chris Tolley (offensive/defensive lineman), and Stephen Fierro (quarterback/defensive back).

Cromartie is looking for additional support from the most-improved player, senior Stewart Davis (offensive/ defensive lineman), and new senior players Keith Terry (offensive/defensive lineman), Matt Petelle (offensive/defensive lineman), and Joey Grebenstein (receiver/defensive back).

The team also has an able group of assistant coaches. Matt Vukelich, Bill Rankin, Hugh Von Plater, and Rob Lezcano bring experience and dedication to the Scorpion ranks. Equipment handlers Jerry Eaton and Pete Sanders will round out the coaching staff.

SRRHS has moved from Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Conference 2A to Conference 3A West Region this year. Conference membership is based on school enrollment (3A schools generally have from 450-949 students).

Though the Scorpions have been one of the larger enrollments in 2A, Sedona will now be on the lower end. Cromartie sees this change as a necessity and a challenge he’s willing to accept.

With more students available for team selection, bigger schools may have the edge in all sports, but Cromartie sees his football team as ready to represent Sedona and Red Rock High in a way they deserve.

“I envision success not by the scoreboard. I envision success for players and the team by playing as well as we can play,” Cromartie said.

One important change (due to the conference move) is that a player can only play in a total of 10 games between junior varsity and varsity competition. Therefore, the Scorpions will have to balance their limited ranks between the two teams.

Cromartie sees the Scorpions’ greatest strength as being the number of returning players who are familiar with the system. On the other hand, the main weakness of the team is the lack of new players, especially incoming freshmen. Cromartie said that young players are the key to developing a strong football team.

SRRHS has many good athletes, but other sports compete for their talents. And many are not willing to commit to the hard work of a successful football experience.

Sizing up the competition in this year’s nine-game schedule, Cromartie feels that Parker and Wickenburg are going to be the biggest challenges for his team.

The Scorpions have experience playing Camp Verde, Chino Valley, Orme, and Williams, Higley is a new school. River Valley and Fountain Hills, both also new to the 3A conference, round out the Scorpions’   schedule.

Cromartie sees a strong chance to win six of the nine games. The other three games will have to be exceptionally well-played to bring home the Scorpion win. “I would never tell anyone that we don’t have a chance.”

The team goal is to accomplish as much as they can in relation to their abilities, Cromartie said.

With this experience and enthusiasm, Cromartie also wears the hat of SRRHS athletic director. Building good programs in all sports is one of his objectives in this role.

Improved facilities with restrooms, a concession stand, and a resurfaced track are part of his dream for the high school. If his success in building athletes on the football field is an indication of his ability to bring people together as a team, Cromartie should be able to fulfill this goal. However, right now he is concentrating on the task at hand.

With hard work, dedicated team play, and the support of Sedona, the Scorpions will be looking back on this football season with pride.

“I look forward to an exciting and enjoyable season for myself, the players, the school and the community,” said a smiling Cromartie.

Back to the top  |  Post a Response

Back to Homepage

Copyright 1999 Red Rock
All Rights Reserved