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Signing day mostly quiet in Yuma, except for Matadors
While there will be no touchdowns scored and no tackles made, today is one of the biggest days in college football. It's signing day.
There won't be any prep "stars" declaring their allegiance on Sportscenter, but you can count on many teens in suits holding press conferences in high school gyms around the country. While Yuma won't have any high school players dotting their I's and crossing their T's on a letter of intent, Arizona Western has a pair heading to the next level.
Defensive back Andrew Turner will sign with Temple and running back Martun Sample will agree to play for Indiana State, according to AWC coach Bob O'Mera. Linebacker Dan Nelson was an early signee with UCLA and is already attending classes in Los Angeles.
Turner, a 6-foot, 181-pound sophomore from Los Angeles, led the Western States Football League with seven interceptions last season. Sample, a 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore from Toledo, Ohio, rushed for a team-high 550 yards on 99 attempts and scored five touchdowns.
"You can never know what someone is going to do at the next level," O'Mera said, "but I know (Temple) is planning on Turner coming in and starting right away and Sample should do great; they were really high on him."
Nelson, who hails from Boise, Idaho, played just one year in the cardinal and gold.
O'Mera will begin receiving commitments today from prep players around the country, but the roster will not be set for several months.
"It's a process that goes all the way through the spring," the sixth-year coach said.
AWC has 24 roster spots to fill, but has sent out many more letters, knowing some players will choose to go elsewhere.
- Yuma Catholic's Michael Cooley and Jake Turnbloom will not be signing any letters today, but both are sure to play in college, according to coach Tom Hurt.
Cooley, who quarterbacked the Shamrocks to the 2A state semifinals in 2003, is all but set on Chapman (Calif.) University.
"I really liked my visit and I like that way the program is run over there," Cooley said. "I'm still looking at some schools back east, but I'm kind of set on Chapman."
Turnbloom, a 6-foot, 230-pound fullback/linebacker, will go to either Division III national champion St. John's (Minn.) or the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Hurt said. Turnbloom moved to Yuma from Minnesota this past summer.
- Yuma High offensive lineman Adam Flynn is waiting to hear back from several schools before making a decision, he said Tuesday.
Flynn, a 2003 member of The Sun/Yuma Rotary All-Region Team, has applied to Stanford, Harvard and Georgetown and would have the opportunity to play at all three. He is waiting to see what type of financial-aid package each school will offer.
Matador softball hosts Great Western Shootout
The AWC softball team will officially open its 2004 campaign this weekend when it hosts the annual Great Western Shootout.
The 16-team shootout, which has evolved from a tournament with a champion to one of pure pool play, will run Thursday through Saturday at Cibola and Yuma Catholic's fields.
Rounding out the field are nine in-state teams - Central Arizona, Chandler-Gilbert, Eastern Arizona, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix College, Pima and South Mountain - and six teams from beyond the state's borders - Colorado Northwest, Dixie State, Northern Idaho, Salt Lake City College, Snow College and the University of Colorado.
AWC will play a doubleheader Thursday, facing Colorado NW at 6 p.m. and Snow College at 8 p.m. Both games will be at Yuma Catholic. The Matadors will take Friday off and have five games on Saturday - all at Yuma Catholic. They'll play at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The Matadors will be a young team with just five sophomores - two returners, two transfers and a redshirt - and will use their seven games to find their identity.
"We need to play these games. We'll figure out what we have and see what we need," Stone said.
The Matadors will rely on the pitching of Cibola-grad Stephanie Crow and three freshmen. Candace Hildebrand, Caley Peterson and Danielle Fetherolf will fill out the rotation, although Fetherolf is coming off surgery on her anterior cruciate ligament.
Loss drops AWC women to No. 12
With its 16-point loss to Central Arizona this past Wednesday, the AWC women's basketball team dropped two spots in the latest NJCAA rankings, released Tuesday.
The Matadors (19-3, 13-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) are currently ranked No.12, and still have a one-game lead on Central Arizona (20-2, 12-2) in the ACCAC standings. With upset win, the Vaqueras jumped four spots to No. 24.
AWC travels to Thatcher tonight to meet fourth-place Eastern Arizona (12-8, 9-5).