Jeff Griffith
ASU Student Journalist

Shin, Fagan lead Shadow Mountain to season’s first win

September 2, 2017 by Jeff Griffith, Arizona State University

On a warm Friday night in early September, Shadow Mountain wide receiver Nainoa Shin lined up wide in his second game of a young season, ready to use his impressive athleticism to try and torch the North Canyon secondary. 

His team emerged victorious by six points.

That was last year.

Now a junior and starting quarterback, Shin’s receiving capabilities were no longer on display in this season’s matchup with the Rattlers, but his versatile football skills once again led the Matadors to a week two victory at North Canyon.

Thanks in large part to the performance of their talented receiver-turned-quarterback — as well as major contributions out of the backfield by fellow junior Ronnie Fagan — Shadow Mountain earned its first win of the season  25-13 Friday night. 
“We feel good, we’re coming together,” head coach Ron Fagan said. “Most of these kids haven’t played varsity before, we’ve got like three returning starters, so it’s a tough game but these dudes were after it the whole night.”

Shin, who said he’s comfortable at most offensive positions due to his array of athletic abilities, made his first start at quarterback in a week one 41-34 loss to Canyon del Oro. 

A road win in his second start certainly changed the tone in the early-going of the 2017 campaign.

“God gave me the talent to be an athlete, so wherever the coaches need me is where I’m going to play,” Shin said of the transition. “This year they need me at quarterback, last year they needed me at receiver. I’m going to do what’s best for the team and we’re going to roll on to victory.”

Shin impacted Friday’s game both through the air and on the ground, tallying 134 total scrimmage yards. Shin completed six of his 16 passes and fired the game’s first touchdown, a 36-yard pass up the seam to senior receiver Matt Padilla. 

Following a 27-yard scamper by Shin late in the second quarter, Fagan punched the ball in from10 yards out to push the Shadow Mountain lead to 13-7. 

“I like to scramble,” Shin said. “If I feel the pressure, I’m going to run, but I’m confident throwing and staying in there, if I have to take a hit to make a throw I’m going to do it.”

Taking and making the most of several handoffs from Shin, Fagan made his presence felt with an impressive 222 yards on 30 carries while scoring two touchdowns.

To open the second half, Fagan ran the ball on all four plays, ending in his 45-yard burst up the right sideline for a score to open up a 19-7 advantage. 

Throughout the night, Fagan used a physical frame to fight for every yard.

“As I got bigger and stronger, confidence was always big for me,” he said. “When I was little, I was always just quick and fast, but now I put together some strength and size. I like to punish people. If they’re going to bang, I’m going to bang back.”

After spending several minutes out of the game due to cramps, Shin’s first play back on the field was a key decisive touchdown that put things out of reach from the Rattlers. With 8:17 to go in the game, he found Jon Young on a 17-yard slant to put Shadow Mountain up 25-13 after a failed two-point conversion.

That ended up being Shin’s final play of the day as the Matadors salted away the remainder of the game while their starter rested on the sidelines. 

“All my life growing up I’ve had the fighting mentality that nothing’s going to hold me back unless I physically can’t go at all,” he said. “When they needed me and asked if I could go I said, ‘I can go, but whatever happens happens.’ I saw the linebacker jump to the slot and the corner was play eight, ten yards off, I knew If I just put it over the linebacker my receiver was going to be there.”

Shadow Mountain looks to build on its first win with a key rivalry matchup with Paradise Valley at homecoming next weekend. 

And for Nainoa Shin — a young man who made his fair share of catches against the nearby rival in his days as a receiver — the junior is undoubtedly ready to get after the Trojans with his newly-utilized arm. 

“We’re going to go out and do what we did tonight,” Shin said. “We’re going to get the victory, me and my brothers, we’ve just got to lead the team and lead the way.”