Football walk through Week 9 (Oct. 12-13)
October 10, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Three weeks to the end of the regular season for 6A through 2A schools. This is the final week of the regular season for 1A (eight-man football). Here are the matchups with East Valley and Northeast Valley schools in action on Thursday Oct. 12 and Friday Oct. 13 as the majority of schools enjoy fall break from classes of some duration or other. Eight are highlighted with teams in the top 20 in the power-rankings of their respective conferences showing their current ranking:
THURSDAY OCT. 12
#5 Desert Ridge (6-1) at #1 Mountain Pointe (6-1): This game is for the inside track to the Central Region title. Both are 2-0 in region play with Mountain Pointe having the easier schedule to the finish (Corona and Gilbert) versus Desert Ridge's finales (Desert Vista and Highland). Figures to be a run-game delight. Mountain Pointe has won the last four meetings and five of six. Only Desert Ridge win was in 2010 - on the way to a runner-up finish at state for the Jaguars.
FRIDAY OCT. 13
#12 Desert Mountain (4-3) at #10 Horizon (6-1): Horizon has reeled off five consecutive wins and is tied for first in the Desert Valley Region with Pinnacle. The Huskies under first-year coach Ty Wisdom have been steady. if they maintain the next two weeks they figure to play a showdown game with Pinnacle for the region title. Desert Mountain likely is out of the region title chase with a loss to Pinnacle earlier, but closing strong could earn them a playoff berth. Plenty to play for. Horizon has no superstars. Lots of folks getting it down at various times. Top rusher is Nash Giffin(558 yards, 5 TDs.) Quarterback Isaac Enriquez has been efficient passing and second-leading rusher. Desert Mountain has held its own under first-year coach Dave Sedmak. Defense has struggled most of the season and allowed 35 points or more the last three games. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has 19 TDs and one pick and thrown for 1,700 yards with a bevy of good targets.
#4 Perry (6-1) vs. Brophy Prep (1-7) at Phoenix College
#15 Gilbert (3-4) at Corona del Sol (1-6)
#16 Mesa Mtn. View (3-4) at Dobson (3-4)
Basha (2-6) at #2 Hamilton (6-1)
#7 Desert Vista (5-2) at #8 Highland (5-2)
#19 Sandra Day O'Connor (2-5) at #6 Pinnacle (5-3)
Mesa (3-5) at #9 Red Mountain (5-2)
#10 Marana (5-2) at #23 Poston Butte (4-3): Marana was the preseason favorite to win the Sonoran Region and that hasn't changed. The Tigers only two losses are by a score each to Ironwood Ridge and Cienega. The Tigers have won five in a row since those two opening, narrow losses. Marana is led by quarterback Trenton Bourguet (1,671 yards, 22 TDs and six picks) and top target Teon Simmons (12 TD receptions). Poston Butte has dropped two of its last three -- a narrow loss to solid Marana Mountain View and a blowout defeat to defending 5A champ Williams Field. Last week's 28-0 win over struggling Flowing Wells righted the ship a bit, but Marana is a top-10 5A foe. Poston Butte's forte is the run with Connor McDonald, Larry Tripp and Tyler Thompson the leading rushers.
#11 Maricopa (5-2) at Sunnyslope (4-3): Maricopa's 33-28 loss to Apollo last week was difficult to swallow, but representative of the 7th and 6th ranked power-ranking teams heading in, respectively. Sunnyslope is now the Metro Region's other unbeaten team along with Apollo and likely one of those two takes the region crown. Maricopa must put the tough loss behind it and move on. The Rams are headed to a playoff berth if they stay focused on Slope, McClintock and Raymond Kellis down the stretch. Maricopa put up 400 yards of offense last week with running back Kemo Akins (124 yards rushing, 2 TDs), wide out Jacob Cowling (8 catches for 216 yards, 2 TDs) and quarterback Alec Smith (237 yards passing) with solid games.
Paradise Valley at #13 Chaparral (3-4)
Ironwood (2-5) at #17 McClintock (4-3)
Vista Grande (0-7) at Mesquite (2-5)
North Canyon (3-4) at #4 Notre Dame Prep (7-0)
#4 Cactus (6-1) at #5 Higley (6-1): Higley had its bubble burst in early September with a lopsided loss to Saguaro. The Knights have been back to business since reeling off four consecutive easy wins. Cactus is now in a similar boat after having a six-game win streak to begin the year snapped bigtime in a 54-0 loss to Sunrise Mountain. Sunrise Mountain is the only Arizona team that has pushed -- nearly beaten - Saguaro the last two years. Sunrise Mtn. lost to Saguaro, 24-21, three weeks ago. Higley beat Cactus twice last season by three TDs in the regular season and two TDs in postseason. Draycen Hall leads Higley with 775 yards rushing in seven games. His workload has been drastically reduced compared to last year, but is stil quite productive. He has only 64 rushing attempts this season compared to 158 this time last year. His best game (17 carries for 156 yards) was against Saguaro. That was his season-high for carries. Cactus is paced by senior running back Damaria Norris, who has rushed for just shy of 1,200 yards. Norris has scored 23 TDs, but was limited to a season-low 52 yards last week by Sunrise Mountain.
#26 Apache Junction (3-4) at Cortez (0-7): Apache Junction is in the driver's seat with three games left to win the Black Canyon Region. The Prospectors are the region's lone unbeaten in region play and can earn its first region title in more than 30 years if it stays the course. The region title would also mean an automatic playoff berth -- the first for the school since 2010. Cortez is in the midst of a 14-game losing streak dating back to last season. AJ has opened region play with wins over Washington and Dysart, last year's region champ. Last week was the Ethan Zimmerman show with the senior receiver-safety scoring all three AJ TDs on a pass reception, kickoff return and fumble return. He also intercepted two passes.
#7 Seton Catholic (6-1) at #11 Marcos de Niza (4-3): A Desert Sky Region battle to see who stays in the region title hunt with Higley down the stretch. Seton has gradually climbed the ladder the last three years under Gary Galante going 2-8 in 2015, 4-6 last year and already two wins better this year. Marcos de Niza has had to do plenty of retooling this season and coach Paul Moro's battle with ling cancer hasn't made it easy to focus alhtough the veteran coach's resolve to be with his team has been extraordinary. MDN won last year, 48-21. Galante and Moro faced off in 1997 in a 3A state title game when Moro's Blue Ridge squad won a fourth state title, 27-21, over Galante's Arizona Boys Ranch team. Seton is led by junior quarterback Vance Wallace and running back Nick Wade, who combined have more than 1,000 yards rushing. Wade has 10 TDs. Marcos de Niza has relied more on defense in staying in the playoff hunt this season. The teams share a common opponent in Cactus Shadows. Seton's only loss was a 26-22 decision in its second game; Marcos defeated Cactus Shadows, 31-24, last week.
Tempe (1-7) at Casa Grande (3-5)
Combs (2-5) at Coronado (1-6)
ASU Prep Academy (0-6) at #3 Casteel (7-0)
Valley Christian (3-4) at #15 Fountain Hills (4-3)
#4 Gilbert Christian (6-1) at # 7 Scottsdale Christian (7-1): Scottsdale Christian suffered its first loss last week, falling to resurrected Arizona Lutheran, 8-7. SCA has feasted on teams not in the top 16 of the power rankings with only two of eight fitting that profile. Those were SCA's toughest games -- a 24-14 win over Tempe Prep and the loss to Arizona Lutheran. Gilbert Christian has played a much tougher slate with four of its first seven foes top 16 in the power rankings. Phoenix Christian, the No. 1 team in the 2A power rankings, is headed for the Metro Region West title unless Scottsdale Christian can win out, which would include a win over Phoenix Christian. SCA rushed for a season-low 102 yards last week. The Eagles are led by QB Grant Schreyer (1,540 yards, 17 TD passes) and running back Shayne Pahnke (906 yards, 14 TDs). Gilbert Christian QB Nick Hershey accounted 381 yards and six TDs last week (four passing and two rushing).
#14 Tempe Prep (4-4) at #8 Arizona Lutheran (5-2)
#10 San Tan Foothills (5-2) at #16 Chandler Prep (5-2)
Antelope (3-3) at Scottsdale Prep (0-7)
Arizona College Prep (1-6) at Veritas Prep (2-5)