Great fans, great players, great teams make sports fun

If you didn't show up the football game on Friday when Chandler Hamilton came to town you really missed something.

Those who did should remember the name Tremell McGill.

He's the running back who was wearing the No.

8 jersey for Hamilton.

Next year McGill will almost certainly be in the backfield at a major Division I college program.

Four or five years down the road it's very likely you'll be able to turn on the TV and see him in an NFL uniform.

He's that good.

Another fellow who was worth the price of admission to see was Chandler quarterback Travis Dixon.

Dixon didn't even play a full half, but he demonstrated that, although he's only a junior, he has a remarkable throwing arm, vision and can run the ball himself.

He may not end up an NFL quarterback, but it would be a mistake to bet he won't be at the helm of a Division I college team in a few years.

I've seen hundreds of college football teams over the years.

Sportswriters and coaches see more teams (and hear more renditions of the national anthem) than just about anyone.

Some of those teams are just plain special.

Defending state champion Mesa Mountain View is awesome and loaded with Division I talent, but so is Hamilton.

Mountain View beat Hamilton last year and again this year, but I wouldn't count on it doing that three times in a row.

And, I'll bet that's what is going to happen when the state playoffs roll around.

Look for Hamilton to be the 2003 state 5A champion.

If you missed the game Friday, you missed seeing one great team.

The Bulldogs were on the losing end of a 55-14 score against the Huskies, but don't consider that a real negative.

Hamilton's traveling varsity numbers more then Kingman's varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams combined.

But, there's something special about Kingman High School sports this year.

It may be hard to put your finger on it if you only go to a game now and then or just read the results in the paper.

But, if you get out and see the different sports teams and watch and hear the players, you'll know there is something going on.

The difference is sometimes showing up in scores.

Sometimes it may only be overheard on the sidelines.

Coaches usually call it heart or guts.

What the real difference is with these teams from the last couple years is attitude.

The athletes this year want to win, but know that it's not always going to work out that way.

But, if they can't win, they want the other team to know they were in a fight.

The football team is young and lacks depth and experience, but there was fire in their eyes Friday night.

You could tell on the last two Kingman drives when the Bulldogs made back-to-back scores that they weren't going to be denied.

In two years at quarterback Justin Walsh showed the most determination he's ever shown in running the team and in putting his head down and tacking on tacklers.

There was not giving up in the Bulldogs on Friday.

When Herb Askew was asked to run up the middle on fourth and three, he ran for six and the 5-foot-8, 153-pounder carried at least three Hamilton linemen and linebackers three of those six yards.

When the Hamilton quarterback appeared sure to have a safe trip around the right side of the Kingman defense for a touchdown, somehow David Kinion not only caught him, but stripped the ball and forced a fumble and a Huskie turnover on a touchdown saving tackle.

That was late in the game with the Bulldogs down 48-7 and victory completely out of reach.

The difference is attitude.

Even the fans have a different attitude.

At the beginning of the game the stands were filled with raucous fans with noisemakers and horns.

At the end of the game the stands were almost filled with raucous fans with noisemakers and horns.

The crowd noise never let up and neither did the cheering.

Not even when it was 48-0 in the fourth quarter.

And it permeates the programs at Kingman this year.

OK, maybe they won't all have winning records, but there won't be any rolling over and quitting.

On Sept.

11 the new attitude was especially apparent.

Kingman had four sports playing at home.

Volleyball, swimming, boys golf and JV football were all home.

The volleyball team beat Cesar Chavez and, for the first time in Amy West's tenure as coach, started the season 4-0.

They haven't even been pushed to four games in the best-of-five format adapted by the league this year.

The boys' swim team swept all 11 of its events against Phoenix Camelback and the girls won 8-of-11.

The boys' golf team played two teams from the region, Tolleson and Avondale Westview, and won by 41 strokes.

The JV football team hosted Phoenix Alhambra and won 52-8.

No one, not the student/athletes themselves or their coaches expects Kingman teams to go undefeated this year.

But, it seems that there's a little bit of swagger among Bulldog athletes this year.

And a whole lot of attitude.

It seems they may be trying to send a message to their opponents.

That message appears to be "You may beat us on the field or the court, but you aren't going to beat us down.

"You're going to know we were in the game."

It's fun to see.

I hope it gets a little more intense every game and match the rest of the season.

Ric Swats is a sports writer for the Miner.

He can be reached at 753-6397, extension 223 or by e-mail at rswats@kingmandailyminer.com.