Oct. 27, 2004 - Canyon del Oro High School head football coach Pat Nugent does it this time of year. So does Wayne Jones and his Mountain View High School team. Both will be the first to tell you that they are guilty of scoreboard watching as the season draws closer to its end.
Both head coaches were well aware that a Salpointe Catholic win over Tucson High Oct. 22, would all but bury the Badgers in the 5A Southern Region standings and set up a potential title deciding matchup the following week between CDO and Mountain View.
Salpointe came through on its end, dropping Tucson for an 11th consecutive year.
Nugent and Jones have more in common than a passing interest in their opponent's results. Both are owners of unbeaten region records and are tied atop the 5A Southern Region. Both will face each other Oct. 29 at Mountain View in a game most likely to determine the region champion and a possible No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.
For Jones and Mountain View (6-2 overall, 4-0 5A Southern Region), the key to winning the region and making the playoffs is simple.
"Win out and we're in," said Jones of his team's final two games. But for the Mountain Lions, that may be easier said than done. After the Oct. 29 game against CDO (7-1, 4-0), Mountain View will face Salpointe (5-3, 3-1), closing their season against two tough squads with post-season aspirations of their own.
Despite their identical region records, two very different teams will square off against each other when CDO takes the field at Mountain View.
"We're about as healthy as we could be this time of year," said Jones who attributes his team's strength to its on and off field work habits and, perhaps, a little luck. "Maybe we're just hitting harder than they are."
On the CDO side of the ball, injuries have ravaged the Dorados which, in its last two games, may finally be showing signs of succumbing to major injuries of key players and a short bench.
"We've been flirting with disaster all season," said Nugent of the injuries catching up to his team. "Every week this team seems to respond."
If it hadn't been for an overtime fumble against Horizon Oct. 22, CDO, despite losing star-caliber players including running backs Sean and Peter Romero, lineman Ravi DeFilipo and wide receiver Daniel Finnegan for stretches of the season, could be a perfect 8-0 on the season.
The biggest blow for the Dorados this year may have come when Peter Romero, a leader on defense and the backbone of the Dorados kicking game, was knocked out for the remainder of the season with a leg injury. Finnegan will handle some of CDO's kicking while Nugent works on training a new full-time kicker.
For Mountain View, a mid-season change in offense has paid off. To alleviate pressure on quarterback Casey Ramsey, the Mountain Lions switched to a "tight-end" offense and are not running the ball as often as they did early on. The switch worked. Ramsey is among the top four passing leaders in Tucson with 1,087 yards and 10 touchdown throws.
Last season, Mountain View beat the Dorados at CDO. The game was marred by a bomb threat called in as time expired. This season, CDO will travel to Mountain View High School, 3901 W. Linda Vista Blvd., for a 7 p.m. kick off.