November 3, 2010
By Don Ketchum
Phoenix Northwest Christian is the top seed as the Class 2A football playoffs get under way on Friday (Nov. 5).
Northwest Christian has lost just once (8-1), to Chandler Valley Christian, the defending state champion. Valley Christian (6-3) is seeded 10th in 2010.
Here is a brief look at the eight first-round games. All begin at 7 p.m.
No. 16 Miami (6-4) at No. 1 Phoenix Northwest Christian (8-1). Miami’s primary order of business will be trying to stop Northwest Christian star junior running back Casey Jahn. According to MaxPreps, he has rushed for 1,649 yards and scored 21 touchdowns.
No. 9 Queen Creek Canyon State Academy (8-2) at Phoenix Arizona Lutheran (8-2). Like Northwest Christian, Arizona Lutheran has a top-notch junior running back. Ben Grams has rushed for 1,763 yards and 24 touchdowns.
No. 12 Bisbee (8-2) at No. 5 St. Johns (7-2). St. Johns lost its first two games of the season, to Class 3A Payson and Round Valley, then rolled the rest of the way. The North Region certainly isn’t the state’s strongest, but St. Johns always seems to survive and do well in the playoffs under coach Mike Morgan.
No. 13 Camp Verde (5-5) at Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (8-1). Pusch Ridge hasn’t played in two weeks (a forfeit win over Kearny Ray last week), so we will see it the Lions can regain their momentum. Camp Verde’s record doesn’t always indicate the quality of its program. It plays hard-nosed football every year.
No. 14 Thatcher (5-5) at Willcox (10-0). Yes, defending state runner-up Willcox is unbeaten, but not by much. It slipped past Thatcher 21-20 on Oct. 22, and this one could be just as close.
No. 11 Williams (9-1) vs. Tempe Prep (8-2) at Queen Creek Canyon State Academy. Williams’ unbeaten train was derailed by St. Johns last week 50-0. Rebounding against a tough team that has defeated quality teams such as Scottsdale Christian and Valley Christian will be a difficult task for the Vikings.
No. 10 Chandler Valley Christian (6-3) at No. 7 Phoenix Scottsdale Christian (7-2). Scottsdale Christian was among the leaders in power points early in the season, including a 17-3 win at Valley Christian, but has struggled to maintain its footing of late.
No. 15 Phoenix Bourgade Catholic (5-5) at No. 2 Yuma Catholic (9-1). Yuma Catholic defeated Bourgade handily 62-26 midway through the season. Bourgade will need a major improvement to avoid another such setback.
The winners will advance to the quarterfinals, on Saturday, Nov. 13.