Artichokes prepare for bowl game

The Artichokes will look to end their season on a high note this Saturday

Jeremy Beren, Sports Editor

Despite a tough loss in the Western States Football League Championship Game, the Artichokes can still have a successful season.

“The bowl game is another opportunity, another game,” defensive backs coach Darrell Dawson said.

The Artichokes held a 27-24 lead over Arizona Western after three quarters in the WSFL championship on Nov. 8. But things went very wrong in the fourth quarter, as Arizona Western scored 28 unanswered points. They went on to win, 52-27.

“We ran out of gas,” head coach Doug Madoski conceded. “We competed hard, but we didn’t have the depth.”

Still, the Artichokes enter the Valley of the Sun Bowl with an 8-2 win-loss record. They will host the game on Dec. 6, and Dawson wants to send the second-year players off with one last victory.

“We lost a lot from the 10-1 team last year,” Dawson said. “It’s great to be at home, and we want one more win for these kids.”

That win will not be easy to come by, however. The Artichokes will face Nassau Community College in the bowl game, and the Lions are undefeated.

“We watched eight games they played,” assistant coach/offensive coordinator Tommy Ziegler said. “They’re very strong defensively with a talented secondary.”

While Ziegler studied NCC’s stiff defense, Dawson examined their offense. He came to the conclusion that they are a balanced squad that earned their sixth-place poll ranking.

“They have a really big offensive line, they run the ball really well, and they have two quarterbacks,” Dawson explained. “So we have to throw everything including the kitchen sink at them.”

“I’ve known coach Ziegler for 15 years, and he’s an offensive genius,” he continued. “I’m confident we’ll have a good game plan.”

Win or lose, the Artichoke coaching staff will count this season as a successful one. The Artichokes had six players named to All-WSFL teams. A further six players were honored by the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and named to All-ACCAC teams.

“It’s a testament to those kids’ hard work,” Madoski said. “And it speaks to what we’re doing as a program.”

All-WSFL first team selection Will Kreitler had a particularly unique distinction. Ziegler was only too thrilled to discover it.

“We’re proud of all our guys, but he’s the first center to have that honor,” he said.

The Artichokes are excited to have home-field advantage on Saturday, and will look to play that into a victory. One thing the team does not lack is confidence, and that will be important if they are to upend a tough Nassau team.