Running back Anthony Braunreiter says having his dad on the Ironwood Ridge coaching staff is "awesome" and "always helpful."


Ironwood Ridge's Anthony Braunreiter had a low key Thanksgiving.

It involved practice at 7 a.m., followed by "a big ol' lunch and watching a lot of football on TV."

Right next to him, nearly the entire day, was his dad, Doug.

"I usually think a lot more about Thanksgiving than I did this year," Doug said.

That's understandable, Doug. We understand you're a little busy this holiday season.

As Anthony and the Nighthawks prepare to face Peoria Centennial on Saturday in the Division II state championship game, Doug will be at the game, wearing multiple hats.

He'll be the proud dad, rooting for his son to succeed. But, he'll also be the man calling plays.

Dad is in his third year as offensive coordinator for the Nighthawks.

"Every day I come to practice, it's like 'wow, this is such a great opportunity,'" Doug said. "It's really been quite the experience working with Anthony.

"It's just been like the cherry on top of the sundae."

It's hard to imagine a better four-month stretch for the Braunreiter men.

Anthony, who missed seven games last year after surgery on his thumb, has rushed for 1,685 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Nighthawks as a senior. He's been the catalyst in the postseason, going over 200 yards twice and scoring 10 touchdowns in three games.

Meanwhile, Doug has been on the sideline, pressing the buttons.

"It's been awesome to have him out there," Anthony said. "He'll give me some extra pointers and it's always helpful."

Doug first joined coach Matt Johnson's staff four years ago as the wide receivers coach. Before that, he coached Braunreiter, quarterback Tyler Williams and a handful of other Nighthawks when they were playing youth football in elementary school.

After one year on the Nighthawks staff, Johnson promoted the elder Braunreiter to offensive coordinator and had him handle the play-calling.

In his first season in that role, the Nighthawks went to the state semifinals and followed it up last season with another semifinal appearance.

"I was very nervous when I first took on the new role," Braunreiter said. "I was so grateful for the opportunity and wanted to make the best of it."

Three years later, it's clear Johnson made the right pick.

He directed an offense in his first season that threw for nearly 3,000 yards with Tyler D'Amore at quarterback. Once D'Amore graduated, Braunreiter had to shift gears on offense and adjust to Williams' style of game, which is more run-first.

This year, the Nighthawks didn't top the 2,000-yard passing plateau, but are closing in on 4,000 rushing yards.

"You have to play to your strengths," Braunreiter said. "You have to know what you have."

What he has is a hard-working son and a football team that is one game away from being state champions.

Foothills' Cortese resigns

Scott Cortese has resigned as football coach at Catalina Foothills.

The Falcons went 0-10 this past season.

Cortese took over the program in 2009 after Johnson left to lead Ironwood Ridge.

He went 16-26 in his time at Foothills and led the Falcons to their first-ever postseason win in 2010.

Foothills athletic director Jody Brase said she's working hard to bring in a high-caliber coach and is just starting her search.

Swan earns 1st start at CU

Former Marana basketball standout Jamee Swan, now playing at Colorado, earned her first college start Sunday and made the best of it.

Swan scored 14 points in just 16 minutes. She was 6 for 9 from the floor and added three rebounds as the Buffaloes beat Missouri-Kansas City 78-55.

Swan played seven minutes and scored one point in her college debut against Idaho before starting against UMKC.

Adelstein signs letter

Mountain View's Shayna Adelstein signed a letter of intent to play softball at Western Washington.

Adelstein, a pitcher who had a breakout season as a junior, signed this week at a ceremony at Mountain View.