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Saguaro Wins State
Saguaro High School Phoenix, Arizona
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Summer 1996

Saguaro (pronounced Sa-wa-row) High School in the Phoenix, Arizona area won the 1995 4-A State Football Championship by a 42-7 score in front of over 21,000 people at Sun Devil Stadium. I did a clinic for Head Football Coach Tim Beck to kick-off his 1994 season and another the nigh before the 1995 State Championship game. They had no home wins in 5 years, no homecoming wins in 7 years and hadn’t had a winning season in ten years. From the first clinic, Coach Beck remembered, “Coach Shepard picked out one of our better kids. We were in the auditorium and he had 500 pounds on a bar up on the stage. He told everyone how hard it is to give an eleven. That most people give only a five even though they may have high goals. He explained that we must change course and lean how to give an eleven every day.
“Coach Shepard looked at the chosen player and told him he was going to Dead Lift, with a spot, the 500 pounds – not once, not five times but eleven times. We were all stunned but then we began to all clap in unison. That kid gave absolutely everything he had and did it eleven times. It was sheer bedlam. We knew a lot about the number eleven from that point on.
“That event brought our team closer together. It helped that kid become a leader. Eleven became our rallying point. It was a great motivational tool. It caught on and became a turning point in our season. “The second time Dr. Shepard came down was the night before our State Championship game. He relaxed both players and coaches before giving us an intense mental visualization session. It really worked and bonded us together like never before. I was choked up. “One math teacher wondered what had happened to our players the next morning. All nervousness and doubt had left them. The players said they were jacked. There is no question that we had more confidence. Dr. Shepard put us all in a circle, lying on our backs, in the wrestling room. He told us that tomorrow was going to be a great day. When tomorrow can and I asked the kids how they felt, they’d look around, smile and say, What a great day!’ Two words describe the session: Awesome and tremendous,”
I have been involved with the BFS Clinic Program for 11 years and 4 clinics. My first clinic experience was in Massillon, Ohio at Washington High School where Greg Shepard put on an instructional and inspirational clinic for the Massillon Tiger’s Football Program. The instructional portion of the clinic was outstanding in teaching our players the knowledge in areas of strength training, conditioning, flexibility, speed improvement, and what they needed to do to be successful. The inspiration portion of the clinic was highly motivational and emotionally inspiring. At times there was not a dry eye in the room.
My second experience was in Florida, where Greg put on another outstanding clinic for another high school. The results were the transformation of a mediocre program into instant winners going 43-12 over 5 years with 3 Conference Championships, a Sectional Championships and a State Runner-Up finish.
My third experience was in Scottsdale, Arizona at Saguaro High School, where a perennial losing program was transformed in only 3 short years to State Champions. When I say a perennial losing program I mean a 5-45 program over the previous 5 years, with no home wins in 5 years, no homecoming wins in 7 years, scoring only 80 points and giving up over 360 points the previous year. That’s a 35-8 average loss over 10 games. Greg gave an inspirational clinic focusing on giving an 11 effort in everything you do motivating our players to want to do whatever it takes to become champions. The result was an 8-3 season a playoff berth, the first winning season in 10 years and the belief that those who worked hard could be champions.
My fourth experience was the next year, the night before we played for the State Championships in Arizona. Greg came in and gave an incredible motivational and inspirational clinic. We may have been a 60/40 favorite in that game but his goal after the clinic was to make us a 90+ favorite. The inspirational use of stories and visualization techniques motivated our players to the point that there was no way we were going to lose that game. The result was the culmination of a 13-1 record setting season with a 42-7 victory and our schools Football State Championships in its 30 year history.
I know this will be a bold statement but I believe that a BFS Clinic will result in making your players, coaches, program and school a winner. The BFS program, beliefs and philosophies will transform your athletes into winners, change their attitude and make a difference in their lives.
Our team motto our first year was “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions”. Our team motto our second year was “Whatever it Takes”. Our team motto last year was “Expect To Win” and our playoff motto was “In It To Win It”. The BFS concepts of “Upper Limit”, Riding The High Places”, “Training Creed” and “Expect A Miracle” just to name a few will make a difference in your players lives. It has made a difference in my players and my life.
Walt Sword
New Head Football Coach
Saguaro High School
1995 4A Arizona State football Champions

Coach Shepard with the Saguaro Sabercat football team the night befor the state championship game.
Coaches Walt Sword (L) and Head Football Coach Jim Beck with Coach Shepard (C). Coach Beck is now at I-AA S.W. Missouri and Walt Sword is the new head coach.
A short practice the evening before the game. Two players went five for five on 50-yard field goals.

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