Football walk through Week 5 (Sept. 14-15)

September 12, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Football matchups for Week 5 (Sept. 14-15) involving East Valley/Northeast Valley schools. Ten highlighted:


SEPT. 14

6A Pinnacle (3-1) at 5A Centennial (3-0): The game of the week is in the spotlight all its own Thursday night. The challenging portion of both teams schedules is and will be their first halves. They are going to dominate their regions once those games begin later this month through October. Centennial is yet to be scored upon thanks to a young, yet seemingly solid defense. This is the first of three successive games for the Coyotes vs. top-notch foes -- Westview and St. Thomas Quinas, Fla. to follow. Pinnacle is averaging 36 points a game behind QB Spencer Rattler and a capable running attack. Its defense appears improved yielding 13 points a game. Pinnacle yielded 56 points to Centennial in defeat last year. Rattler is averaging 228 yards passing a game; the negative is a 9-6 ratio in TD passes to interceptions. It hasn't hurt the Pioneers yet. Centennial has been machine-like as usual with its running game -- focal point being senior Zidane Thomas. Thomas is 3 for 3 in 100-yard games and hasn't used a lot of carries to amass better than 400 yards to date. Quarterback Ruben Beltran III lofted a pair of TD strikes to senior Alex Escobar in last week's blanking of Maricopa.

SEPT. 15 


6A Desert Vista (2-1) vs. 6A Brophy Prep (1-3) at Phoenix College: Desert Vista has won two in a row after bowing to Perry in its opener. Transfer quarterback Derek Kline has pieced together two solid outings in wins over Basha and Skyline. Kline has thrown for 7 TDs in the wins, two interceptions in the loss. Kline is the leading rusher averaging 51 yards a game thus far. Versatile senior Keishaud White has scored five TDs, two rushing and three receiving. Brophy's youth is learning the hard way through a brutal opening schedule. Brophy's win is over 0-3 Westview and its losses are to Pinnacle, Desert Ridge and Highland (a combined 9-2). The Chandler district's four Premier Region foes are down the road a bit.  Brophy has turned the ball over nine times in four games. Senior quarterback  Noah Gonzales has had his ups and downs, passing for 730 yards, 5 TDs and 5 picks. Gonzales threw for 250 yards in last week's loss to Highland, but was intercepted three times.

6A Corona del Sol (1-3) at 6A Perry (4-0): Perry has performed as expected, reeling off four straight wins with an explosive offense. Their scoring is up from 44 points a game this time last year to 57 a game this year. Quarterback Brock Purdy has accumulated 1,144 yards (957 passing and 187 on the ground). The latter total leads the team in rushing. He has thrown 14 TDs and one interception. This game could take some time with Corona's offensive success almost exclusively through the air. The Aztecs are averaging 41 pass attempts per game and threw 65 times in their opener.  Five Perry players have 100 yards or more in receiving, led by D'Shayne James with 300 yards and 5 TDs.6A Basha (1-3) at 6A Desert Mountain (2-1)

6A Mesa (1-3) at 6A Desert Ridge (2-1)

6A La Joya Community (1-2) at 6A Dobson (2-1)

6A Cesar Chavez (1-2) at 6A Hamilton (3-1)

6A Westview (0-3) at 6A Highland (4-0)

6A Skyline (2-2) at 6A Millennium (1-2)

6A Mountain Pointe (2-1) at 6A Mesa Mtn. View (2-1)

6A Boulder Creek (0-3) at 6A Red  Mountain (1-2)

6A Chandler (2-2) at 6A Sandra Day O'Connor (1-2)

6A Gilbert (2-1) at 6A Westwood (2-2)


5A Williams Field (3-1) at 5A Chaparral (1-2): Williams Field's 17-game winning streak dating back to last season came to an end with its loss at Verrado last week. The Black Hawks surrendered just 19 points to the Vipers, but have been held to two TDs or less twice in their four games.Chaparral may be the tonic that revives them this week. Chaparral was scorched for 56 points and sophomore quarterback Jack Miller spent more time than he wanted horizontal absorbing seven sacks. MIller was 16 for 33 for 177 yards and one TD in his Firebirds' debut. Williams Field had a tough time fielding a pass rush against Verrado and gave up two second-quarter TD passes and a long TD run in the final period. 

5A Mesquite (2-2) at 5A Desert Edge (2-2): Two playoff teams from last year trying to find consistency this year. Mesquite has either dominated or been dominated in its games to date. Wins over Mesa High and Ironwood (last week) and losses back-to-back to Gilbert and Apollo. Desert Edge, under new coach Jose Lucero, opened with two losses (Centennial and Notre Dame Prep) and now has a two-game winning streak (Betty Fairfax and Millennium). Wide out Deandre Kelsey has sparked the offense with 346 yards receiving (27 catches) and 109 yards rushing. Junior running back Kody Ball leads the Scorpions rushing attack.

5A Deer Valley (1-2) at 5A Queen Creek (4-0): Queen Creek's win Week 2 over Hamilton may have eliminated any trace of doubt the Bulldogs had in how good they they can be this season. They've been dominant after a tight opening-night win over Cesar Chavez and done it missing key players to injury as reserves enter and pick up the slack. Starting quarterback Devin Larsen missed Week 3 against Sahuaro and backup Cal Hedrick stepped in and passed for 4 TDs. Leading rusher after Week 1, Trey Johnson, went down in the Hamilton game and remains sidelined. Johnson was sharing time with senior Dylan Borja and Borja has now taken on the bulk of carries the last 2 1/2 games. Borja has rushed for 397 yards in four games and scored three TDs. Picking up as complementary backs to Borja have been Carter Williamson vs. Sahuaro and starting lineback Dante Coleman last week vs. Boulder Creek. Deer Valley was ranked in many pundits 5A top-10 in preseason. The Skyhawks opened with a loss to defending 5A champ Williams Field, rebounded to beat 6A Mountain Ridge and were upended last week by Apollo, 34-14. Deer Valley is led by running back Dez Melton.

5A Paradise Valley (1-3) at 5A Goldwater (3-0)

5A North Canyon (2-2) at 5A Maricopa (3-1)

5A Independence (0-3) at 5A McClintock (1-2)

5A Vista Grande (0-3) at 5A Poston Butte (2-1)

5A Arcadia (0-4) at 5A Raymond Kellis (3-0)

5A Campo Verde (4-0) at 5A Shadow Ridge (0-4)


4A Higley (2-1) at 4A Estrella Foothills (3-1)

4A Bradshaw Mountain (0-3) at 4A Marcos de Niza (1-2)

4A St. Mary's (0-4) at 4A Saguaro (2-2)

4A Combs (1-2) at 4A Seton Catholic (3-1)

4A Coronado (0-3) at 4A Shadow Mountain (1-2)

4A Apache Junction (0-3) at 4A Tempe (0-4)


3A Wickenburg (2-1) at 3A Fountain Hills (1-2)

3A Casteel (3-0) at Monte Vista, Calif. (2-1): Monte Vista, some 15 miles from San Diego, enjoyed a 7-5 record last year and lasted two rounds in the CIF playoffs. The Monarchs can't help but be the best team Casteel has faced this season. Many of Arizona's top programs have played out of state competition this year and few, if any, have come back or hosted victories.Chandler, Mountain Pointe, Saguaro, Chaparral have all lost to teams from California, Florida, Nevada or Utah. Gunner Cruz is dominating behind center for Casteel with 778 yards passing and 12 TDs. Running back Mack Johnson has rushed for 391 yards and six scores for the unscored upon Colts.

3A American Leadership (3-1) at 3A Northwest Christian (3-0): This is the best matchup in 3A this week. The teams have come out strong as usual. They played twice last year with ALA taking both games -- the second in the semifinals on the way to winning the 3A championship. ALA returns an experience quarterback in Matt Nevill and the the team's top target from last year Bujon Boyd. The running game has a pair of backs grinding out yardage in Trey Miller and Tarrik Workman. Workman played a lot in 2016 and Miller transferred in from. NWC has played two quarterbacks in the early going (senior Jarin Davis and sophomore Johnathan Metzger). The Crusaders are searching for a lead running back. After three games the top back is junior Aren Van Hofwegen. NWC graduated virtually all its firepower on offense from 2016. 

3A Ben Franklin (3-1) at 3A Valley Christian (0-3)


2A Phoenix Christian (3-0) at 2A Gilbert Christian (3-0): Phoenix Christian's resurgence after three successive losing seasons began last season and has picked up where it left off. Quarterback Hunter Cole, running back Malik Taylor and receiver Corey Leary are the cogs in a strong offense that's averaging 56 points a game. The Cougars' defense has yet to be scored on in their first three games. Gilbert Christian throws the ball all over the field, led by senior quarterback NIck Hershey. Hershey has passed for 923 yards and 11 TDs. The Knights have better than 1,000 yards total through the air. Two of Gilbert Christian's wins were by a field goal or less. NIck Pappas, Max Webb, Brayden Finkbeiner and Drew Debree have double-digit receptions and combined for 11 of the 12 receiving scores thus far. Gilbert Christian is seeking a more competitive game with PC this time. Last year PC prevailed, 37-14, and held Hershey and company in check. Both teams reached the 2A playoffs a year ago -- PC falling in the quarters to eventual champ Thatcher and Gilbert Christian losing in the first round to Pima, a foe it defeated to begin this season.

2A Tempe Prep (2-1) at 2A Scottsdale Christian (4-0): Scottsdale Christian has given its opponents a lot to ponder early with nearly a 50-50 split in rushing yardage vs. passing yardage. Junior quarterback Grant Schreyer and junior running back Shayne Pahnke are the stat leaders so far. Schreyer has passed for 833 yards and 10 TDs; Pahnke has rushed for 644 yards and 12 TDs while averaging almost 14 yards per carry. Tempe Prep always gives a good account of itself as it did last year in winning a regular-season contest with SCA, 42-21. SCA bounced back in the playoffs to record a 35-14 triumph in the first round of the playoffs. SCA's first four opponents (Glendale Prep, Arizona College Prep, Camp Verde and Veritas Prep) have struggled to a combined 3-10 start. Tempe Prep's loss was to perennial power Round Valley. The Knights have beaten Glendale Prep and Valley Christian.

2A San Tan Foothills (2-1) at 2A Antelope (1-1)

2A Glendale Prep (1-3) at 2A Chandler Prep (2-1)

2A Arizona College Prep (0-3) at 2A Scottsdale Prep (0-3)