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Sedona readers know that developing, maintaining and protecting their local biking, hiking and horse trails is important. But to Camp Verde and Cottonwood readers, U.S. Forest Service projects are coming soon to their local recreational trails as well.

George WernerAdjacent to Cornville Road, for instance, horse trailer accommodations are planned for the development of a trailhead at a location known as the Yavapai County Asphalt Mixing Table.

Further east, just outside of Rimrock and south of Montezuma Well, six miles of trail loops are in the works. These Sunset Trails, as they are called in a decision notice authorized by Red Rock District Ranger Nicole Branton, “serve the local residents who identified the importance of this project” and could be in place as early as next year.

The Camp Verde area has the Beaver Creek Trails Coalition. Cottonwood has its Skyliners. The Friends of the Forest and Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition assist the Ambassadors in Sedona. Get involved, then stay involved by following @sedonanews on Twitter.

For the full column, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

After Sedona Red Rock High School split eight matches Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and 26, in its final volleyball tournament of the regular season, sectional play in one of Arizona’s most competitive volleyball divisions awaits head coach John Parks’ Scorpions.

Junior Xan Hawes finesses a tip for Sedona Red Rock High School over the net in a home win over Wickenburg High School. Hawes’ outside hitting will be needed consistently in order for the Scorpions to win the title of one of the toughest high school volleyball sections in the state in Division III, Section VII.
“You have the best of what was Division IV and III last year, and then you have some Division II teams that were OK that are now able to compete at the Division III level, all in the same group,” Parks said. “We seem to play at the level of our competition.”

Which is fortunate for Parks in that after opening sectional play Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Mingus Union High School, the Scorpions get a week off before they play their next sectional match at home.

Unfortunately, that match Tuesday, Oct. 6, is against Northland Preparatory Academy, which is 2-1 against SRRHS already through 11 early roller-coaster games.

The Scorpions [5-3] could use the time off, as sophomore defensive specialist Julia Koss continues to be limited by a shoulder injury and junior Shelby Brackin is sidelined this week with a jammed thumb.

“She tweaked it pretty good,” Parks said. “We’re hoping she’s back next week. She just needs to let it rest.”

Adding inconvenience to injury is a two-week equestrian tour of France senior co-captain Kendall Woellmer scheduled at the beginning of the year, which she won’t be back from until the Tuesday, Oct. 20, home match against Northwest Christian School.

“If I have Julia and Shelby back, then we’re OK,” Parks said. “I need at least one of them back — I can’t have three out.”

After the Mingus opener, Woellmer, for sure, will miss Northland Prep and “tough” sectional road tests at Bradshaw Mountain and North Canyon high schools, Parks said.

Freshman libero Liza Westervelt, sophomore Madi Ninneman and junior Xan Hawes have stepped up in the back row for Koss, whose shoulder may not be back at 100 percent for the rest of the season, Parks said.

For the full story and tournament results, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Wyatt Stevenson is making his final season running cross-country at Sedona Red Rock High School count.

Senior Wyatt Stevenson is making the most of his final year of running at Sedona Red Rock High School. The six-foot, two-inch boys cross-country runner won his first two 5Ks and has finished third in his last two, averaging less than five-and-a-half minutes per mile run.
The six-foot, two-inch, 142-pound senior overcame a slow start Sept. 9 at the Payson Invitational to his season to win his next two meets, pushing past an average of less than five-and-a-half minutes per mile.

“The Payson meet, I got fifth,” Stevenson said. “Very slow — 18:40. That was more of just a fun meet: I really wasn’t wanting to hurt myself on the first day.”

But he quickly picked up his pace in the first two 5Ks of the season Sept. 12 and 19.

At the Fountain Hills Invitational on Sept. 12, Stevenson beat 125 other runners in the junior and senior open division with a time of 17:25.70. The next Saturday, in Anthem, he then improved on that time by nearly three-and-a-half seconds to top a field of 97 runners.

Those times are a leap ahead of a junior year in which Stevenson struggled to break the 18-minute mark, especially considering Stevenson has been running with a recurring pain in his chest since at least Oct. 24, when it prevented him from finishing at the Holbrook Invitational.

“It’s bothered me, actually, every race,” he said. “Last year, I was scared. I didn’t know what it was.”

The best that doctors have been able to diagnose, Stevenson said, is that his heart is higher in his chest than most others, affecting blood flow.

“They don’t know what it is — they can’t figure it out,” he said. “I’m looking past it. It’s part of me. It hurts, but it’s just kind of like getting a side stitch now.”

Junior Luke Doerner finished with his best time in nearly two years 45 seconds later to place fourth and help the boys team edge host Boulder Creek High School by a point in the junior varsity division of the Adobe Invitational.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 2, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The Sedona Red Rock High School swim teams warmed up for their first State qualifying opportunity by beating Gilbert Christian High School but falling to a larger Knights team from Arizona College Preparatory Academy at the Sedona Community Pool on Sept. 22.

Junior Austin Cottle dives off the blocks for Sedona Red Rock High School during a Sept. 22 home meet against Gilbert Christian High School and Arizona College Preparatory Academy. Cottle was runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle in the loss to the Knights but helped lead the boys 200-yard freestyle relay team to victory as part of the Scorpions’ 60-point win over Gilbert Christian High School.
The girls edged GCHS by eight points but fell to Arizona College Prep, 66-28. The boys allowed just 11 points from Gilbert Christian in winning by 52 but fell, 69-24, to the Chandler-based school.

The Scorpions will travel Saturday, Oct. 3, to Phoenix for the Brophy Invitational — their first of three attempts, in three weeks, to qualify for the Division II state swimming championships.

“We’ve always done well with pressure, [and] the proximity of meets is just a fact of high school swimming,” said A. Jay Bronson, SRRHS head swimming coach. “I’m incredibly excited to see how we do this weekend.”

Although sophomore Sarah Reed could qualify this weekend if she continues her two-second improvement in the 200-yard individual medley, junior Mary Brown was the only individual Scorpions winner Sept. 22, swimming the 100-yard backstroke in 1:15 to take first place.

“They have a great chance to make it,” Bronson said. “Between veterans Mary and Sarah, they will go far.”

In the event prior to hers, juniors Austin Cottle, Skyler Lee-Eason and Dawson Stevenson teamed up with sophomore Sasha Conway on the 200-yard freestyle relay team to take first place in that event.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Oct. 2, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The giant scorpion of Greek mythology, magnified by the blood of the Titans, guards the Sedona Red Rock High School gymnasium.

Sedona Red Rock High School senior Bailey Ehrlich leads his section in both interceptions and receiving yardage. He had two interceptions Sept. 25 against North Pointe, one of which he would return 70 yards for a touchdown, in the 56-6 road win Friday, Sept. 25..
But if the results Friday, Sept. 25, from Moon Valley High School in Phoenix are any indication, that scorpion appears to have a three-headed counterpart playing quarterback for head coach John Bradshaw.

In his first action of the season, junior Chas Rescigno struck North Pointe Preparatory Academy for three touchdowns and 120 passing yards to lead SRRHS to its first road win, 56-6.

“He looked great,” Bradshaw said. “It’s nice to have two good quarterbacks.”

With Rescigno out the first month of the season with a partially separated shoulder, incumbent signal-caller Derrick Johnson had started the season at quarterback for the Scorpions [3-2].

“Derrick’s my all-star,” Bradshaw said. “He’s my go-to guy.

“I want to keep him at the running back position, but if I need him, I still consider him my starting quarterback.”

But the actual starting quarterback for most of the pre-sectional schedule, including the first quarter-and-a-half at North Pointe, had been junior Dawson Barber — second-best passer in Division V, Section VII.

“Now that we have two quarterbacks back, we can share the reps,” Bradshaw said. “They can play defense, too.”

Rescigno, who relieved Barber midway through the second quarter after he hooked up with Johnson on a 13-yard touchdown reception, put to good use what Bradshaw calls “those Spidey arms that go eight feet in the air” at middle linebacker.

Rescigno also punts for the Scorpions, but only kicker Daniel Ruiz’s leg was needed in the eight-touchdown barrage Sept. 25. The senior converted all eight extra points and handled all nine kickoffs.

“The biggest thing for us is, all the guys we have now — our team — all care about football,” he said. “Every single person that dressed played a lot of football and everyone on the field did their jobs and won their battles.

“That’s what I’ve been preaching this whole year.”

For the full story, standings and more photos, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

Both volleyball matchups between the West Sedona School and Big Park Community School A teams have delivered rally-filled, crowd-fueled rivalries.

Eighth-graders Karissa Ramirez, No. 10, and Grace Hafner, No. 13, form a wall for the Big Park Community School block Sept. 15 at Clarkdale-Jerome School. The Coyotes rebounded from their loss to the Mingus Rams with a sweep Tuesday, Sept. 22, of West Sedona School.
Each time, however, there has only been one winner, and it continues to be the Coyotes [7-2] — although the Wildcats [6-3] can claim to be closer than ever after a 19-25, 25-18, 15-9 result at Big Park.

“We both have really good, bump-set-spike programs that try our hardest,” said eighth-grader Mary Westervelt, who added several clutch spikes in the tiebreaker to her reputation as a hard-serving closer earned in the season sweep of the Wildcats. “We just got in a little funk playing at home. We were nervous at first.”

But Westervelt was harder on herself after Wildcats eighth-grader Jacki King came out on fire in her service game.
“Her hits were really good too,” Westervelt said. “My serves were kind of off.”

The Wildcats had adjusted to that part of Westervelt’s game, coach Patricia Etcheverry said.

“That was really our goal,” she said. “Our first game of the season, we were unprepared for her serves. This game, we had conquered the serve thing.”

Fueled also by the unexpectedly tricky underhanded serves of Emma Beattie, the Wildcats’ only sixth-grader on the A team, and the sets of eighth-grader Amari Sonn, the Wildcats reeled off eight straight points to finish the Coyotes in the first game.

For the full story, please see the Friday, Sept. 25, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The good news at Sedona Red Rock High School on Saturday, Sept. 19, was that nobody else got hurt.

The Sedona Scorpions offensive line gets set as quarterback Micah Johnson, No. 16, checks off a play with running back Gavin Earl, No. 40, during their home loss Sept. 12 to Prescott. Red Rock Youth Football will try again for its first win at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Cottonwood.
It also didn’t hurt that the Sedona Scorpions, 0-3 after a 46-6 loss to Chino Valley, were much more evenly matched than in a 60-point bloodbath Sept. 12 at the hands of Prescott.

“I know the scoreboard doesn’t always show it, but if I had another month with these kids, and we could start this season back in mid-July as opposed to three weeks before their first game, we’d be lot more prepared,” head coach Tod Christensen said. “We’re, just now, finally starting to see that.”

On offense, quarterback Micah Johnson and wide receiver Jackson Caughlin give Christensen hope for Sept. 26. The two hooked up on a 40-yard pass late in the first half, with another touchdown by Caughlin on a second-half kickoff return called back on an illegal block in the back penalty.

“We were really moving the ball between the 20s in the second and third quarter,” Christensen said. “Sizewise, it’s very comparable, and we were playing just as hard. They’re just a well-coached team that executed better than we did.”

Running back Bryan Aviles’ 80 yards provided Sedona more offensive balance than in previous contests, including a late run he broke off for 35 yards.

“That opened up the passing lanes for us,” Christensen said. “We weren’t just one-dimensional.”

For the full story, standings and more photos, please see the Friday, Sept. 25, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

The JV boys are 1-1 after a Sept. 22 loss, 2-1, at Chino Valley High School.

With a final road game at North Pointe Preparatory Academy to play before settling into sectional play, the report card on Sedona Red Rock High School [2-2] remains incomplete.

Senior Derrick Johnson, left, uses senior tackle Tim Hall to give him blocking space Sept. 11 in the Scorpions’ win over Valley High School. Johnson was the leading SRRHS rusher with just 20 yards as Hall was lost indefinitely Friday, Sept. 18, in the second quarter of a 40-15 loss at Chino Valley High School with a hamstring injury.
The connection of junior quarterback Dawson Barber and senior wide receiver Bailey Ehrlich continues
to power the Scorpions offense to early leads, which it took again Friday, Sept. 18, at Chino Valley High School, 8-0.

Barber hooked up with Ehrlich in the first quarter on a 17-yard pass play, doing so again coming out of halftime on Barber’s longest completion of the game for 46 yards.

Ehrlich had 159 receiving yards on the night, comprising all but 60 of Barber’s passing yards.

“[We] never did retake the lead,” head coach John Bradshaw said. “[We] had an interception going in for the second touchdown which switched the momentum to Chino.”

Although SRRHS cleaned up its total penalties, which marred a 40-0 win Sept. 11 over Valley High School, the effects of both ineligibility and injuries took their toll against the Cougars, particularly in the second half of a 40-15 loss.

“We will be working on our tackling [and] push off the line,” Bradshaw said after the Scorpions mustered just 13 yards rushing. “They got to the tackles ... just didn’t finish the tackles, which we will address this week.

“And we have to run the ball better.”

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 23, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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