San Manuel Jr. Miners win back-to-back CJHL Championships; Hayden plays a very close second

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Captains holding championship trophy Isaiah Ramirez, Ralphie Valencia, Noah Casillas, Mathias Medina. Photo by Estrella Chavez

  The San Manuel Jr. High football team won its second-straight Central Junior High League Championship by defeating Hayden Jr. High on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 22 – 20.

  “We stuck together as we made mistakes throughout the game,” San Manuel head coach Freddy Burnham said. “That allowed us to overcome them.”

  The Jr. Miners avenged a loss to the Jr. Lobos just a few weeks ago – a 34 – 6 defeat – to reach a goal they set before the season.

  The Jr. Miners’ defense was the difference in the second meeting between the teams, as the unit allowed only one touchdown. Hayden’ other two scores came only special teams.

  “Our defense came up with some big stops that allowed us to get the ball back,” Burnham said.

Isaiah Ramirez rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the Jr. Miners while Mathias Medina ran for another.

  For the Jr. Lobos, running back and defensive end Damien Smith, safety Jando Lorona, and quarterback Fabian Elvira played well, according to head coach Nimo Lorona.

  “We played well,” Lorona said. “(San Manuel) is very big, tough team. We’re undersized compared to them, but we fought hard until the end. We just ran out of time because they controlled the ball and clock and kept the ball away from us.”

  Congratulations to the players and coaches on both teams.

Andy Luberda (1080 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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