Rivalry is three way for some Queen Creek high schools

Quarterback Kaleb Honea hands off the ball to Gavin Danielson during a game at Williams Field. (Courtesy of Gwendolyn Flake)

Quarterback Kaleb Honea hands off the ball to Gavin Danielson during a game at Williams Field. (Courtesy of Gwendolyn Flake)

Rivalry is as much a part of football as pep rallies before the game. But for some Queen Creek schools, they don’t have one traditional rival, they have at least two, sometimes more.

The first time Queen Creek played Higley High School was the 2004-5 season and the rivalry has stuck. During those years, Higley and Queen Creek were both single high school districts.

“Higley has been a rival with Queen Creek for a lot of years and it has just continued,” Queen Creek coach Travis Schureman said. “Part of it was that it was the closest school to Queen Creek for a long time.”

Higley’s Eddy Zubey is in his fifth season as head coach.

“It started from what I know, when the school opened and they started playing varsity football,” Zubey said. “Higley’s varsity team has only beaten Queen Creek’s varsity one time in the 12 years of its existence.”

Even though Queen Creek has dominated the varsity games against Higley, there is still a rivalry, Zubey said.

“Our players grow up with these kids, they go to the same church, they play youth sports together,” he said.

While Higley may not have beaten Queen Creek at the varsity level in some time, they have won games against the freshman and junior varsity teams. This is the first team that are all Zubey’s players.  And Higley played Queen Creek on Sept. 25.

“This is our best opportunity to beat those guys (Queen Creek) while I have been head coach,” Zubey said during an interview the week of the game.
Then Williams Field opened in 2008.

 

“I would say Queen Creek has been a little more balanced of a series,” Williams Field coach Steve Campbell said.

Williams Field played Queen Creek on Sept. 18, bringing the series to a three game tie.

“They won the first couple then we won one then we beat them in regular season and they beat us in the regular season,” Campbell said of Queen Creek.

Queen Creek and Williams Field started playing each other in the 2011-12 season. Queen Creek won that game 22-20.

“For the most part all of the games have been really close,” Campbell said.

Schureman said his team looks forward to playing Williams Field.

“We play a similar type of football,” Schureman said.

When Queen Creek and Williams Field started playing each other the games were always at the end of the season to see who was going to be section champions, Campbell said.

“They ended up not in our section now,” Campbell said. “But I don’t think it took anything away from the rivalry and how much it meant in last week’s game.

During the 2013-14 season, Queen Creek and Williams Field played twice. Williams Field won the regular season game, and Queen Creek won the semi-final playoff game.

Wide receiver Justis Stokes makes a run for Williams Field. Williams Field won the game 17-14 over Queen Creek. (Courtesy of Gwendolyn Flake)

Wide receiver Justis Stokes makes a run for Williams Field. Williams Field won the game 17-14 over Queen Creek. (Courtesy of Gwendolyn Flake)

“It seems like we’re always playing those guys,” Schureman said.

Higley has never beaten Williams Field at the varsity level.

“It’s a goal of ours every year,” Zubey said. “Just as beating Queen Creek is a goal of our football program.”

Higley and Williams Field are only three miles apart. Higley will play Williams Field at home on Oct. 2.

But competitiveness isn’t the only thing that factors in to the rivalries, Campbell said.

“We have families that are divided,” Zubey said. “We have brothers and or sisters going to Higley and their brother and or sister goes to Williams Field, for various reasons.”

Now that the Arizona Interscholastic Association has changed the divisions, the schools are playing schools they have never played before but are closer proximity than their historical rivals.

“As we change conferences, this year we played Campo Verde, which is two miles away and we played Gilbert, which is right down the street,” Campbell said. “It’s the same kind of thing, a lot of our kids grew up and played each other.”

Campbell said the conference changes were not getting rid of the rivalry but actually adding more.

“If you look at attendance when we are playing these teams, we have had great attendance at every game so far,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he felt the increase in attendance was due to the schedule changes of playing closer schools.

“Just because there is an interest side to it, that there are so many schools so close together, that a lot of people on the campuses know each other.” Campbell said. “They played youth football together or travel baseball, there’s just a lot of cross over.”

Queen Creek is the farthest rivalry school.

“The ironic part is that out of all those schools Queen Creek is one of the furthest schools and our kids have very little cross over with Queen Creek,” Campbell said “But because competitiveness of our games and what has been on the line, it has created the rivalry.”

Schureman said it adds to the high school experience.

“It’s just great for high school football to have a rival,” Schureman said. “It’s what you play high school football for, these are the things that kids will remember for the rest of their lives.”

News Services Assistant Arianna Grainey can be reached at 623-445-2717, via e-mail at agrainey@newszap.com or on twitter at
ariannagrainey.

 

 

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