The full benefits of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s reclassification process can’t be evaluated until we’re deep into the season, but there’s already been a positive response in Kingman, where I spent the day Tuesday.
For the first time, the three Kingman high schools – Kingman, Lee Williams and Kingman Academy – will play each other. They’re all in Section IV of Division III along with defending Division IV champs River Valley, Wickenburg, Lake Havasu, Parker and Mohave.
The game between Kingman and Lee Williams already is the talk of the town. Lee Williams coach Eugene Kramer said that fans have told him, “You better not lose to Kingman.” Kingman first-year coach Greg Tonjes, meanwhile, is trying to revive a program that went 0-11 last year. He had his players buy yellow T-shirts that read, “Kingman Bulldog Football. No Joke!”
Beating a Lee Williams team that finished 7-4 last year would give true meaning to the slogan.
The game will be played at Oct. 2 at Lee Williams, and a crowd of nearly 5,000 is expected.
“All of the stores in town will be closed,” Kramer said only half-jokingly.
As I said, it’s too early to tell how the reclassification process will play out. But here in Kingman, it’s gotten a community excited about a fall Friday night.
That’s a good thing.
I’ll have more on the Kingman schools later this month at azcentral.com. Wednesday I’ll be at River Valley, trying to figure out how a football program that went 3-7 as recently as 2009 became state champs last year.
PHOTOS: High school football preseason practice