November 3, 2010
By Don Ketchum
Despite a 36-18 loss to East Region and White Mountains rival Lakeside Blue Ridge on Oct. 22, Show Low is the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A football playoffs that begin Saturday (Nov. 6).
The loss was the only setback for Show Low, which breezed to a 9-1 record, including a victory over Class 4A Division I Phoenix Moon Valley.
Blue Ridge, the defending state champion, is 9-0 and the second seed.
Here is a brief look at the first-round schedule. All games begin at 7 p.m.
No. 16 River Valley (7-3) at No. 1 Show Low (9-1). Quarterback Rathen Ricedorff set a career record for touchdown passes with 96 last week, and he expects to build on that in the playoffs. He also has thrown for 3,000 yards, according to MaxPreps.
No. 9 Tucson Empire (7-3) at No. 8 Winslow (8-2). Since losing two of its first three, Winslow has responded with a big run. Empire, a budding program in the south, should give the Bulldogs trouble for at least awhile. Empire quarterback Mito Mendivil has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards.
No. 12 Holbrook (6-4) at No. 5 Coolidge (9-1). Is Coolidge ready to return to its glory days of the mid-2000’s? All indications are the answer is yes.
No. 13 Kayenta Monument Valley (6-4) at No. 4 Snowflake (8-2). Former Heber Mogollon coach Ron Tenney has guided Snowflake to a strong regular-season finish. Playing in the tough East Region is almost like a playoff game every week, so that should aid the Lobos’ cause.
No. 14 Chinle (6-4) at No. 3 Florence (9-1). Under coach George De La Torre, Florence is more than capable of surviving the gauntlet and reaching the title game.
No. 6 Payson (5-5) at No. 6 Round Valley (6-4). Payson defeated Round Valley 42-0 in the fourth game of the season, but Round Valley quarterback Chantz Davis was out with an injury. Davis returned to the lineup and finished the regular season with 2,077 yards and 22 touchdowns.
No. 10 Wickenburg (8-2) at No. 7 Fountain Hills (7-3). Wickenburg lost its first two games under new coach Bobby Gonzalo, but hasn’t flinched since.
No. 15 Parker (6-4) at No. 2 Lakeside Blue Ridge (9-0). It’s hard to figure out which is better, Blue Ridge’s defense or its offense. Either way, Parker likely will find itself in trouble.
Winners will advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 13. Those games will be played at either Williams Field High in Gilbert or Desert Ridge High in Mesa.