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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 5:00 am | Updated: 6:58 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Keith Morris - The Independent

LAKESIDE — It’s hard to judge whether a team in this state is better than a team in that state.
But a 49-game unbeaten streak, which includes 46 consecutive wins, is bound to get you attention.
So is a 17-0 start this season.
As a result of its recent dominance Blue Ridge is No. 1 in the nation in the first-ever MaxPreps.com rankings released last week and updated on Monday, Oct. 3.
The two-time defending Class 1A-3A state champions went 21-0 last year after finishing the 2009 season by winning their final eight games of the year and going unbeaten in their final 11. Their unbeaten and winning streaks are both believed to be the longest current streaks in the country.
The Jackets have outscored their opponents 97-6 this season, posting 12 shutouts.
“It just means that our numbers are pretty good right now,” said second-year Yellow Jackets head coach Bryon Crain. “There’s no way to tell (who’s the best) because there is no national championship.
“But it’s kind of fun to be ranked and it’s exciting for the guys and it’s really a good thing for the community. And it demonstrates how much support we get from the community here. I think that’s what it demonstrates more than anything. And normally we don’t see this kind of stuff with soccer up here so it’s very exciting for soccer in general.”
Only one team has scored more than one goal on the Jackets. Holbrook managed two in an 8-2 Blue Ridge win at Holbrook on Sept. 8 in the Jackets’ eighth game of the year. They have gone 9-0 since that contest, outscoring teams 44-2.
Blue Ridge has won both tournaments it’s entered, going 4-0 at the Chino Valley Tournament held Sept. 2-3 and winning all three games at the Tucson Desert Christian Old Pueblo Shootout held Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The Jackets beat Desert Christian 3-0 on Sept. 30 then beat Benson 4-0 and Tucson St. Gregory 9-0 on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Marquette (Wis.) University is 15-0 and No. 2. Rounding out the top five are Cary N.C. Green Hope (13-0), Rockford, Ill. Boylan (13-0) and Newark, N.J. St. Benedict’s Prep (13-0).
According to a page on Maxpreps.com explaining the rankings:
“MaxPreps National and State Freeman Ratings are the result of our collection of enormous amounts of information from teams throughout the country and the application of a computer model developed by our associate Ned Freeman. The most important thing to understand about how the ratings system works is that it is 100 percent objective.
“The size of the schools, their division, the league they’re in, how good the school or league are historically, their geographic location, how well liked the school is, how good the league is in other sports do not matter and therefore, none of these factors are programmed into the system. Those subjective factors inevitably bias humans saddled with the daunting task of trying to figure out who the best teams in the nation, in a state, or a region really are.
“Instead, Ned’s system just takes into account the facts. Cold, hard, and unfeeling fact — but as accurate, objective and fair as possible.
“MaxPreps uses a computer program to determine team rank. We do not poll coaches, sportswriters, or fans. Nor does our staff make any judgments on the merits of any individual team. Prior season history, school size, and comments on message boards are not considered.”
Although the attention is nice, is the coach worried about this going to his players’ heads? Well, yes.
“Absolutely,” Crain said. “So we just talk to them about continuing to play their game, continuing to focus on a day-to-day basis. And that’s the key right now. We actually told them just to forget it, don’t even think about it because it’s not a big deal.”
The players seem to have gotten the message, just like they got the message about never losing focus and overlooking a team. Four of the team’s eight seniors are captains.
“I don’t think much of it,” said captain and left midfielder Trey Cavanaugh of the No. 1 ranking. “We’re taking one game at a time just like everyone else should be. It shouldn’t get into our heads at all. We’re all out here just to play, just to have fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
‘Cavanaugh was featured in a recent ESPN The Magazine issue as a “Player to Watch” after scoring 26 goals as a junior and 53 goals coming into this season.
“It’s just a number,” said center defender and captain Jacob Wilcock. “I think that what we accomplish we’re going to accomplish on the field. I don’t think (this will go to our heads). We’ve had talks. We know what we’re doing and we’re going to stay focused one game at a time.”
The winning streak falls into the same category for the players — it’s just a number.
“It means nothing besides our team has been together and working hard and our hard work is paying off as a team,” said left defensive midfielder and captain Luke Traeger. “As far as the streak goes, it’s not a huge deal to me. It’s just take one game at a time and be on top of our game every single game.”
Goalkeeper and captain Konnor Smith echoed his teammates’ feelings.
“The winning streak really doesn’t mean anything to me,” Smith said. “If we lose a game it’s not a big deal to me. Sure, I’ll think about it and kind of regret it but other than that it’s not like the biggest deal to me.”
Although it’s such a cliche, players really buying into the “one-game-at-time” theme is what has led the Yellow Jackets to such a long winning streak.
“It’s very important,” Smith said. “You can never overlook a team because there’s always that chance that if you overlook a team and are just like, ‘Oh, that team really doesn’t matter too much, we’re worried about the next game,’ then you’re not focused and you’re probably going to just get shut down and something’s going to happen and it’s really going to come back to you and hit you really hard. So it’s just one game at a time. Don’t overlook any team.”
Senior Martin Forsberg and juniors Knoah Broseman and Martin Skovsby scored against Desert Christian. Skovsby had two goals and sophomore Humberto Banuelos and freshman Jose Nava one each against Benson. Banuelos and Skovsby both had two goals against St. Gregory. Traeger and sophomore Ezequial Esparza had one goal and one assist apiece and Nava, Cavanaugh and junior K.K. Waldo added one goal each. Sophomore Clayton Crain had two assists and Broseman and senior Salvador Ramirez one apiece.
Skovsby has 17 goals and six assists. Forsberg has 11 goals and five assists. Broseman has 11 goals and seven assists. Ramirez has nine goals and seven assists and Waldo eight goals.
They followed the Old Pueblo performance up with an abbreviated 3-0 victory over Payson at Blue Ridge in a rain storm on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The game, which was delayed in the first half by lightning, was halted by lightning during heavy rain with 19:04 remaining.
Cavanaugh had a goal and an assist against Payson, giving him 22 goals and seven assists on the season. Ramirez and Broseman also had a goal apiece.
But it’s not just about scoring for this team. The defense has been a huge part of the success.
“I’m so proud of our defense because we came out at the beginning of the season and we had a problem playing as a unit I think as a defense,” said Wilcock. “But we’ve come so far. I’m so proud of our defense.”
Also contributing this season have been seniors Joe Duncan and Michael Julian; juniors Devin Moffat, Paco Laguna, Tyler Tsouhlarakis, Brad Tomlinson, Josh Saldana and Michael Waldo; and freshmen Eliseo Ramirez, Andrew Gomez and Jonah Broseman.
Blue Ridge has just two games remaining before the Division 4 state tournament. The Jackets are at St. Johns on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and at Show Low on Saturday, Oct. 22. Blue Ridge beat St. Johns 13-0 in Lakeside on Sept. 1 and beat Show Low 9-1 at Blue Ridge on Sept. 20. Naturally, Blue Ridge is No. 1 in the power rankings used to seed the tournament.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:33 am 
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Saw this online the other day. Granted, I realize that this ranking means very little in comparison to maxpreps football rankings, but it’s still pretty cool! Way to go Jackets! Finish out the regular season strong, and then focus on the playoff. Going for a 3-peat!


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