Asu, Ua Rivalry Can't Be Downplayed

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It's being written around the state that Arizona State University football coach Dirk Koetter and his University of Arizona counterpart Mike Stoops are close friends and have decided to downplay the rivalry between their two schools.

It's hard to tell if those allegations are factual. But if true, Frank Kush, Danny White and all the past great Sun Devil football players and coaches, as well as those at UA, must have cringed when they read those musings.

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Sparky will be out to cheer for the Sun Devils in their clash Friday with the University of Arizona.

Koetter and Stoops simply haven't been in Arizona long enough to get a real feel for the intensity and rivalry that goes along with the Sun Devils vs. Wildcats annual battle.

Stoops has been in Arizona less than a year. He can be excused for his comments. Koetter, however, has been a part of the rivalry for four seasons. Watching Wildcat running back, Clarence Farmer, dance on the Sparky logo in the closing seconds of Arizona's 34-21 win over ASU in 2001 should have been a sure sign to Koetter that the annual Duel in the Desert is not just another game.

Walking out of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Oct. 16 just after top-ranked University of Southern California had thumped ASU 45-7 was a humbling experience for myself and all ASU alumni.

But humility turned to disgust, when departing Trojan fans began singing "Bear Down Arizona" to us.

Even in California, they know what makes the blood boil without desert heat.

State bragging rights and a lot of hardware, including the Territorial Cup, will be a stake when the Cats and Devils collide at 1 p.m., Friday in Tucson.

It's not just another ball game.

Coaches needed

Payson Parks & Recreation is currently looking for coaches for the third- and fourth-grade boys and girls basketball teams. Registration ends Dec. 15. The league will begin play Jan. 8, 2005. If you are interested in coaching, or need to sign your child up, please come by the recreation office at 1000 W. Country Club Dr. You can also call (928) 474-5242, ext. 268.

Fossil Creek closed

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has issued a notice of closures planned for segments of Fossil Creek.

Anglers and outdoor recreationalists should avoid contact with the water in certain stretches of the creek during some periods in November and December. During those months, stream renovations will be occurring. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 6, no contact with creek water will be allowed downstream from the Sally May Wash. The closures are necessary because of work to renovate segments of Fossil Creek in anticipation of the stream being restored to its historic streambed during the de-commissioning process for the Irving and Childs power plants. A short-live chemical will be added to stretches of the stream to remove any exotic fish remaining after efforts to capture and remove them. Efforts are under way to restore native fishing populations in the creek.

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