Estrella Foothills Joins East

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Gomer Pyle frequently uttered the words “Surprise, surprise, surprise,” in his long-running television show of decades ago.

That’s the same revelation wrestling coach Dave LaMotte was feeling when he was told at a recent coaching clinic there was a new school entered in the 3A conference East region.

Estrella Foothills, a new school that has only freshmen and sophomore classes is now competing in East region wrestling.

“When I was told that at the clinic, it was the first I’d heard of it,” LaMotte said.

Estrella’s entry into regional wrestling circles has resulted in a last-minute schedule change for the Longhorns.

On all schedules published by PHS, the wrestling team is slated to host Snowflake at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) in Wilson Dome.

With the new school now in the mat mix, the action begins at 4:30 p.m. with Snowflake taking on Foothills. At 5:30 p.m., Payson hosts Foothills. At 6:30 p.m. in a clash of longtime regional rivals, Payson is slated to take on Snowflake. Junior varsity action involving the three schools will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the wrestling practice room.

No charge

The good news for Rim country wrestling fans is that there will be no admission charge to the Rim Country Duals when they are held Dec. 20 and 21 in Wilson Dome. PHS coach Dave LaMotte and Tournament Director Dave Heizer decided this year to increase the entry fees for competing schools and wave the spectator admission charge. Both say they hope the move improves attendance at the duals.

Dunn deal

Former Payson High School football coach Dan Dunn has been appointed head coach at Mesa Community College.

It will be Dunn’s second stint as head coach of the Thunderbirds.

In the 1970s, Dunn coached at Gilbert High School where he led the Tigers to a small school state championship.

Dunn coached at Payson High School from 1992 to 1995. During his tenure at PHS, Dunn continued to hold down his math teaching position at Mesa College.

After leaving Payson, Dunn spent several seasons as the offensive coordinator at Mesa Red Mountain where his good friend Jim Jones serves as head coach. The pair teamed up to lead the Mountain Lions to 5A state championships in 2000 and 2001. Because Dunn is highly regarded in high school coaching circles, his appointment will probably mean Mesa College will be well stocked with Arizona-bred athletes.

Under former coaches, many of the football players were from out of state. Payson High School coach Steve Saben says he will steer any of his players who want to play at the next level toward Mesa.

Enough, enough

Is there anyone besides me tired of hearing sports reporters, many of who have never worn a jock strap or coached football, bash Cardinal quarterback Jake Plummer?

It seems all we read about is what an ineffective quarterback Plummer is and how he’ll be ushered out of town when his contract expires.

The real reason behind the woeful plight of the Cardinals is not with Plummer but in the leadership of the team under the Bidwell family.

In the best days of Johnny Unitas or Bart Starr, neither Hall of Fame quarterback could have guided the Cards to a winning season.

Couple inept leadership with the starters the Cardinals have lost to injuries and you have a football team that is never quite right.

From this perspective, the best thing for Plummer would be to catch on with another team where his considerable skills can best be put to use.

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