When I started in journalism, typewriters had just gone away in the newsroom and computers were evolving, changing every other year, it seemed.

The high school landscape then was nothing like it is today.

So with that, I’m going to start counting down the years that I’ve been covering high school sports in 35 snapshots, picking one story line for each year. It could be about an athlete, a coach, a parent, an administrator, a game, an issue, a ruling.

I’ll start with 1982, when I came out of college and started working at The Arizona Republic, and count backwards, rolling seven years at a time each week.

1982: School’s out

Mark Alarie was the first athlete I covered who jumped out, starring on the basketball court at Phoenix Brophy Prep.

And the coach who stood out? None other than Royce Youree at Phoenix East. The big news that year? The closure of Phoenix Union and East. The legendary basketball coach was leading the Longhorns through their final season, wearing his emotions on his sleeve, embracing players as they came off the court after victories. He was the ultimate player’s coach and it was sad to see his dynasty shut down because of diminishing enrollment numbers. The same with Phoenix Union and its great basketball coach, Argie Rhymes, who took the Coyotes to the state final with his brother Billy leading the way in the school’s final season. But Argie Rhymes’ coaching career was just taking off, as he moved onto Phoenix Carl Hayden, starting a dynasty there.

1983: Parker vs. Kiefer

This was the heyday of high school football coaching rivals and there was none greater than Mesa Mountain View’s Jesse Parker and Tempe McClintock’s Karl Kiefer. They hated losing, especially to each other. This was the only year that the two men faced off in the state final. Parker got the last word with his Toros’ 34-14 victory over Kiefer’s Chargers, capping a 14-0 season. From 1977 to 1989, those two men had an incredible run. Kiefer won crowns in ’77, ’80 and ’89. Parker won titles at Mountain View in ’78, ’83 and ’86. Parker’s last title came in ’93.

1984: The upset

Kiefer brought back a more talented team in 1984, led by the backfield of quarterback Kent Kiefer, Cleveland Colter Jr. and Art Greathouse. McClintock was being hailed as “the team of the century.” There was even rumor that the Chargers had championship embroidered wallets made before the state semifinals. But Phoenix St. Mary’s, behind quarterback Steve Belles, pulled the upset in the semifinals, and gave coach Pat Farrell his first state title as a coach and third overall at St. Mary’s (he won twice as a player in 1967 and ’68), finishing it off with a 31-14 win over Tucson Sahuaro.

1985: Gea Johnson red carpet

Gea Johnson did it all so well – track, basketball, volleyball, heptathlon and her schoolwork to name a few things – that she was honored at the Dial Awards, a black-tie event celebrating the top male and female high school athletes of the year in Washington D.C. with actress Goldie Hawn and Miami Hurricanes quarterback VinnyTestaverde in attendance. Jeff George, a quarterback out of Indianapolis, was the male recipient. Johnson, who started a multi-sports career at Tempe Corona del Sol and ended it at Phoenix Washington, was the female recipient. I recall renting a tux and flying to D.C. to cover the event. Her sister, Mya Johnson, won the top honor the following year.

1986: Record crowd

Tempe McClintock faced off against Phoenix Brophy Prep at Wells Fargo Arena for the big-schools state boys basketball championship, and it drew a then-record crowd of 14,123 fans – on a Monday night. The atmosphere was electric and it was a showdown of centers – McClintock’s Mark Becker and Brophy’s Jim Renforth. Brophy came in 27-0 but McClintock captured its first state basketball title with a 71-67 victory that was fueled by the board play of arguably the school’s greatest football player, Cleveland Colter Jr.

1987: Year of the Mustang

Since 1980, Brophy Prep finished first in the state swimming and diving championships every year but one. That was in 1987, when Mesa Dobson’s Mustangs scored 232 points to Brophy’s 125 at state. Dobson’s girls team won the state swim title. And Dobson capped the fall season with its first and only state football championship, beating Mesa Mountain View 35-14, behind the Wright brothers, running backs T.C. and Toby. Coach Mike Clark’s Mustangs got on a big playoff roll, dominating everybody on their way to the gold ball.

1988: 3-point marksman

It was during the 1987-88 school year that the 3-point shot was adopted nationally by high schools, a year after the NCAA went to the 19-feet, 9-inch distance for 3-point goals. It altered the youth basketball world as the medium-range jumper slowly became a lost art. Nobody took better advantage of the arc at the time than Glendale Apollo point guard Damin Lopez, who was a junior the year the 3-point shot came in. He changed the game for his father David Lopez’s Hawks team, and the following year, during Apollo’s run to the state championship game, he made a record 10 3-point shots in a game against Phoenix St. Mary’s.

1989: Air Bahe

On Valentine’s Day of that year, I chronicled the amazing journey of 6-foot-6 Navajo phenom Edison Bahe, Flagstaff Coconino’s leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, who lived on a dusty reservation outpost in Leupp with no electricity, no TV, no phone. He nearly dropped out of school during the fall of his senior year to lay sewer pipe in Las Vegas with his brother. He had grown weary of the heavy weight he carried of being anointed the savior on the Navajo Nation. Little kids lined up before and after games, wanting his autograph. He always put on a show with his dunks and blocks. He was called “Air Bahe” and “Kareem Abdul-Ja-Bahe.” He stuck it out, and averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds, leading Coconino to a 31-0 record, before losing its only game to Casa Grande, 71-63, in the Class 4A state final.

1990: Drug testing

Anabolic steroids had become a hot topic among high schools in the state, especially in the Paradise Valley Unified School District, which proposed a drug-testing program that would go into effect the following fall. Coaches interviewed at the time were for a drug-testing program but most felt the entire student body, just athletes, should have been subject to testing. The proposal was started because some parents complained to the district about student-athletes using performance-enhancement drugs.

1991: Under attack

Then Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Director Voie Coy was under siege for the executive board’s decision to make Tempe McClintock’s nationally ranked baseball team forfeit 14 games on the eve of the regional playoffs because of a clerical error. The forfeits kept McClintock from making the playoffs, and caused a public uproar. He even received a death threat. An appeal was denied, and a parent from the team hired a lawyer to take AIA to court. But a Maricopa County Super Court judge threw the case out, saying only the school or district could sue the AIA. But the AIA’s rules are made and voted on by the association’s member schools. It all stemmed from a human-interest newspaper article on a player who had moved in from Mexico. It got red flagged and the AIA discovered it had never received the proper paperwork, such as filling out a hardship application and receiving court-approved legal guardianship.

1992: Emotional run

Mesa lost its football coach, Jim Rattay, before the start of the state football playoffs. But while he was laid up in a hospital with a fungal infection that nearly killed him and caused him to lose an eye after six surgeries, the Jackrabbits went on a magical run, led by quarterback Mikel Moreno and defensive coordinator Bill McKane, with three playoff wins. Rattay was released from the hospital on the day Mesa took on rival Mesa Mountain View for the state championship in early December. He watched from the press box, as his Jackrabbits escaped with a 14-8 victory that got ugly at the end when a fight broke out on the field after Mountain View’s Joe Germaine was intercepted in the end zone with four seconds left. There was no line of handshakes and the Mountain View Toros went straight to their bus. Meanwhile, Rattay said about the title, “I’m floating with the clouds.”

1993: Equality move

Believe it or not, this was the last year that half of the Valley schools played girls basketball in the spring and softball in the winter. With realignment coming, everybody would be playing girls basketball in the winter and softball in the spring the next school year. State championships were watered down with a winter and a spring state champion. It would be debated on who were the true state champs. “I work in camps in California during the summer, and when I tell the college coaches that we play in the spring, they’re incredulous about it,” said then-Scottsdale Coronado girls basketball coach Jim Ferrando at the time. “Then, when I say half play in the winter and half in the spring, they don’t understand that at all.”

1994: Art of hitting

Paul Konerko was one of the best complete baseball players I ever saw. He was a catcher with a golden arm and could hit for average and power, leading Scottsdale Chaparral to the state title before being taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers as the 13th overall pick in the major league draft that June. He was converted to first base in the pros and put in a tremendous career, mostly with the Chicago White Sox. The 6-3, 205-pound Konerko was the state’s Player of the Year after hitting .564 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Then-coach Jerry Dawson, who already had so many great players come through his program, said at the time, “We had two catchers still play pro ball, but it would insult them by saying Paul is better.”

1995: Misty’s emergence

It would be another five years until an Olympic gold medal would be given to her, but Misty Hyman was already soaring through the water in the butterfly as a junior at Phoenix Shadow Mountain. She set a national high school record that year in the 100-yard fly in 53.49 seconds at Arizona State’s Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. She also set a state record in the 100 backstroke (55.02) at the 5A/4A state swimming championships. Hyman’s underwater fish kicks on turns were something else to watch, something of an art form that she perfected under the guidance of now-deceased club coach Bob Gillett at AFOX. To me, there has not been a greater Arizona female swimmer to come through the prep ranks since Hyman.

1996: Bibby vs. Long

This was the matchup everybody was waiting for on Feb. 24. The last state basketball championship game of the day at then-American West Arena (the Suns place) didn’t start until 9 p.m. But about 1,000 fans had to be turned away for the marquee matchup of Phoenix Shadow Mountain’s Mike Bibby against Tempe Corona del Sol’s LamontLong. The sellout crowd of 16,010 set a state record for largest attendance. Bibby dominated, putting an exclamation point to a career that left a legacy as arguably the greatest basketball player ever to come out of Arizona. He had 31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks in Shadow Mountain’s 81-56 rout. Long finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

1997: Resourceful Wolves

The 1996-97 school year had no greater story than what came out of Chandler in the fall. Chandler’s only returning starter from the 1995 football season was lost in the season opener with an injury. Then, at midseason, head coach Jerry Loper was killed in a car accident coming home from a late night of film study for the next opponent. JimSherman and Ned Jolly stepped in to take over the team, and the Wolves won six of their last eight games and took Mesa Mountain View into three overtimes before losing in the state semifinals.

1998: Jefferson holds court

Few athletes had the combination of charisma and game that made them must-follows. Phoenix Moon Valley’s Richard Jefferson was at the top of my list. He made the post-games as memorable as the basketball games he played. Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 dynamo who had committed to Arizona before the season, beat Phoenix Greenway and Arizona State-bound big man Chad Prewitt for the fifth time in a classic 4A championship game. Jefferson scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half of the 54-52 win that gave Moon Valley its first state title in boys basketball. “My team played great,” Jefferson yelled out afterward amid cheerleaders and fans at AWA. “My fans are unbelievable. My cheerleaders are better than Greenway’s cheerleaders. We had the best team, the best everything.”

1999: Suggs, the running back

Long before Terrell Suggs made his NFL fortune chasing down quarterbacks and running backs, Suggs was the most dangerous running back in the state during a senior season that put the 1-year-old Hamilton school on the map, winning 10 games, before falling to eventual state champion Mesa Mountain View in the quarterfinals. Suggs, at 6-4, 235 pounds, was a terror with the ball in his hands, gaining more than 2,000 yards at tailback, before focusing on just the defensive side of the ball at Arizona State.

2000: Player of the Century

Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s 6-foot-2 Nicole Powell could do it all, win state titles in badminton, dominate in basketball and make all-region during the same spring in both tennis and track and field. She was named by The Arizona Republic as the Player of the Century, and she closed out her senior year with a repeat as the state’s Player of the Year in basketball, before heading off to brilliant college career at Stanford. Powell averaged 22 points and 16 rebounds and three assists her senior hoops season. She won three state badminton titles and left Mountain Pointe with school girls basketball records for most career points (2,478) and rebounds (1,760).

2001: A star is born

Jacquelyn Johnson was named Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, and she was only midway through one of the more remarkable careers in preps history. Only a sophomore, the Yuma phenom won four gold medals, accounting for all 40 of her team’s fourth-place points at state. She already had seven individual state championships at this point in her career. She set a state record in the 100-meter hurdles in 2001 in 13.88 seconds. A star in volleyball and basketball, she became only the sixth female in state history to win four individual titles at the state meet. That summer she competed in the World Junior Games heptathlon in Hungary.

2002: Nixon for president

It’s hard to find a more talented three-sport athlete to come through Arizona since the early 2000s than Mike Nixon, as he left his legacy in football, basketball and baseball at Phoenix Sunnyslope. In the fall of 2001, Nixon was chosen as the Big Schools Football Player of the Year at quarterback and committed to UCLA, where he was expected to play defensive back. Then, in the winter, at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Nixon played center and helped key Sunnyslope’s basketball team to a state championship. Then, he went straight to baseball and hit .500 with 31-for-31 stolen bases. A catcher, he signed that summer with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being taken in the third round of the major league baseball draft.

2003: Hambicki’s will

Tommy Hambicki was a resilient point guard who made big plays in the state tournament to help Gilbert capture the boys basketball state championship under legendary coach Tom Bennett. Then, a terrible twist occurred during spring break when he was returning home from a trip to Rocky Point in Mexico with some of his friends. The car he was driving overturned, and he was left paralyzed from the waist down. One of his best friends on the team was Mike Grothaus, and 14 years later, Hambicki was an assistant to Grothaus on Chandler Basha’s first state boys basketball championship team.

2004: Court storm

It was a dunk that put an exclamation point on Tucson High’s early February basketball victory as time ran out. But in the ensuing madness, 6-foot-6 Joe Kay saw his world quickly change when he was swarmed by his own fans who had stormed the court to celebrate. Kay ended up with a torn carotid artery, a stroke and paralysis on the right side of his body. Kay’s men’s volleyball scholarship to Stanford was still honored, but his new mission was to shed light on the dangers of court-storming celebrations and starting a disabled students advocacy group.

2005: Barnes goes to Washington

Then Buckeye football coach Bobby Barnes went to Washington, D.C., in late April of that year as part of a congressional committee hearing that was investigating the use of anabolic steroids in sports. In 2003, Barnes suspended 11 of his football players for using steroids. It was Barnes’ first season as head coach, and he was applauded for taking a stand. Barnes became a major voice in the country for high schools cracking down on performance-enhancement drugs.

2006: Worst to first

The hiring of Chad DeGrenier as head coach two years after his first Cave Creek Cactus Shadows team went 0-10 was validated with the school’s first 4A-Division II championship, a 28-14 victory over Gilbert Higley that capped a 15-0 season. In the process, Kyle Watkins set a 4A championship game record with 21 catches. Phillip Aholt was the quarterback and Watkins his go-to guy all season. They dinked and dunked Higley up and down the field with the short passing game.

2007: Scoring machine

Guard Jerry Bayless finished his brilliant Phoenix St. Mary’s basketball career as the state’s all-time record holder for big schools in scoring average. In four varsity seasons, he averaged 28.8 points, before heading off to Tucson to play one season for the Arizona Wildcats, then entering the NBA draft. He was a dynamo who stood out in his very first varsity basketball game as a freshman with his jumping ability and ability to take over with his scoring.

2008: Ragle vs. Sanders

This rivaled the football coaching rivalry of Karl Kiefer and Jesse Parker of the 1980s, but even more colorful. Scottsdale Chaparral’s Charlie Ragle and Scottsdale Saguaro’s John Sanders held nothing back in the media, taking verbal jabs at each other any chance they had. It created the most intense football rivalry in the state that led to two men facing each other at Sun Devil Stadium in the state final, where Saguaro won 38-0. But it only motivated Ragle, who proceeded to lead the Firebirds to three consecutive state championships, before he moved onto the college ranks at Arizona. Sanders, at the same time, won three state titles in a row, starting in 2007. After the ’08 season, the schools were separated by conferences in a new AIA realignment.

2009: Carey on

Ka’Deem Carey was just a junior but showing the moves that would lead to becoming The Arizona Republic’s Big Schools Football Player of the Year, leading Oro Valley Canyon del Oro to the 4A-I state championship (the school’s first since 1977) with a 40-0 blistering of Tucson Sabino. Seven minutes into the game, Carey had 125 rushing yards. By halftime, he had 165 and three touchdowns on just 15 carries. He ran for another TD on a direct snap and later threw a TD pass.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.