Screen Pass -- Prep football preview for Sept. 16-17

September 14, 2010 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

The number of unbeaten teams is dwindling. More will have to go by the wayside after this week's games with a several contests pitting unbeatens against one another.

With a healthy schedule of games Thursday ( in deference to Yom Kippur) and some on Friday it's a chance for fans to double their prep football craving this week.

In 5A, 5A-I Mesquite (3-0) visitts 5A-II defending state champ Chaparral (3-0).  Mesquite gave Chaparral its toughest game of the season last year (a 17-6 loss to the Firebirds) until Desert Mountain actually beat Chaparral the next to last game of the regular season.

Mesquite has retooled its defense from last year and not missed a beat. Last week Mesquite's defense forced four turnovers and blocked three kicks. The defense has 12 takeaways, four blocked kicks and 11 sacks.The Wildcats also have a big-play back in junior Anthony Lopez. Lopez  is averaging 109 yards rushing per game and has scored five touchdowns.

Chaparral has bludgeoned Gilbert, Boulder Creek and Mesa Mountain View. The Firebirds have allowed just 14 points in the three routine victories. Transfers Davonte Neal (receiver/defensive back) and Lucas Petrullo (running back) have combined for 10 of the Firebirds' 18 touchdowns

Two unblemished teams in 4A-I, defending state champ Canyon del Oro (3-0) and Queen Creek (2-0) tangle in Tucson. There's more to stop than just Ka'Deem Carey for the Dorados as quarterback Jason McBrayer has stepped up to add spice to the offense. Carey has played with a bum ankle and cracked bone in his hand, yet enjoyed his best game of the season last week with 184 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 touches. Carey and McBrayer are averaging a tick under 10 yards per carry. Queen Creek played CDO respectably last year, losing 30-7. New coach Joe Germaine has gotten plenty of senior leadership and strong second halves from his team in victories over Higley and Shadow Mountain. 

Other top games on Thursday this week in the East Valley and southern Arizona:

Mountain Ridge (2-0) at Hamilton (4-0)

Last year's result: Hamilton 49, Mountain Ridge 7: Hamilton played a little more to coach Steve Belles' liking last week in a rout of Ironwood. Mountain Ridge has a pair of one-TD wins over Mesa Mountain View and Gilbert under its belt. This game figures to be a different story for the Mountain Lions. Gilbert and Mountain View are teams struggling on offense. Not Hamilton. Quarterback Kyren Poe has 526 yards rushing and passing so far to lead the Huskies.

Centennial (3-0) at Brophy (2-1)

Last year's result: Centennial 24, Brophy 12: A little of the luster has come off this one with Brophy falling to St. ary's last week. Still it may be the right time for Brophy to regroup and pull off an upset of its own as the Broncos go through growing pains and try to get their ground game more productive. Vegas Johnson and Jalen Ortiz both rushed for over 100 yards in the Coyotes' opening night win over Chandler. Centennial wasn't tested last week in its 42-0 win over Willow Canyon, getting a nice breather before squaring off with the Broncos.

Highland (0-2) at Desert Ridge (2-1)

Last year's result: Highland 36, Desert Ridge 22:  Highland was drawn a couple tough matchups to open the season and played reasonable well in losses to Mountain Pointe and Westview. Westview's Jordan Champion was too much for the Hawks' to contend with last week. Desert Ridge will be no different, but has  more weapons than Westview. After losing a heartbreaker to Mesquite, Desert Ridge has averaged 50 points a game in beating Central and Corona del Sol back-to-back. Paris Clark and Sam Papa have combined for all eight TD-catches so far for Desert Ridge. Running back Jordan Becerra is dangerous as a runner and receiver.

Sunnyside (1-1)  at Mesa Mountain View (0-2)

Last year's result: Sunnyside 23, Mountain View 18: The Toros desperately need a win to avoid an 0-3 start and must get its offense cranked up. Sunnyside had a bye last week and is well-rested. The Blue Devils love to pound the opposition with the run and  feature record-setting back Manny Vera. Vera rushed for 409 yards (a single-game 5A record) two weeks ago  in a victory over Nogales. Mountain View has scored one touchdown in its first two games. The Toros have lost three games in a row only once in their history -- opening the 1992 season.

Desert Vista (2-0) at Mountain Pointe (2-1)

Last year's result: Mountain Pointe 34, Desert Vista 18: Mountain Pointe dropped its first regular-season game in the Norris Vaughan era last week in a narrow loss to Basha. Desert Vista played much better in its second game rolling past Pinnacle after nearly stumbling in its opener Aug. 27 against Tucson High. The Ahwatukee Bowl is different this year with Desert Vista coming in unbeaten rather than Mountain Pointe. Desert Vista quarterback  Hunter Rodriguez has thrown for 335 yards.

Ironwood Ridge (2-1) at Cienega (2-1)

Last year's result: Cienega 19, Ironwood Ridge 7:  Both teams only loss it to a team that is unbeaten through three games -- Ironwood Ridge gave CDO its toughest game to date and Cienega likewise with Cactus Shadows. Ironwood Ridge has shown balance offensively. Quarterback Tyler D'amore passed for 209 yards last week and running backs Gabe Campa (109) and Mitch Fischer (112) guided the ground game. Cienega quarterback Jordan Milles has thrown for 718 yards with nine TDs and just one pick thus far.

Chandler (2-1) at Mesa (2-1)

Last year's result: Chandler 24, Mesa 17: Chandler barely broke a sweat last week in getting back on the winning track vs. winless Casa Grande. The Wolves have an edge in that regard as Mesa spent plenty of energy in its rival game with Westwood before falling to a late Warrior rally. Mesa has fine weapon in running back Marquis Pharram (52 rushes for 305 yards), but the Wolves have many more, including QB Brett Hundley, who played less than a half last week and still has nearly 874 yards of offense in three games. 

Top games  for Friday:

Scottsdale Christian (2-0) at Valley Christian (3-0)

Last year's result: Valley Christian 35, Scottsdale Christian 28: Valley Christian features a three-pronged rushing attack in Josh Pineda (221 yards), Tyler Hunt (218) and Dom Laws (156). The trio have combined for seven TDs. Scottsdale Christian is getting almost 10 yards per carry from Chauncey Wright (238 yards and 5 TDs). Their meeting last year went down to the wire.

Florence (2-1) at Fountain Hills (3-0)

Last year's result: Fountain Hills 25, Florence 13: Likely the two best teams this year in the 3A South. Florence matched up well with a 3A East foe last week, dropping a wild 36-35 decision to Round Valley. Fountain Hills has been stout in collecting its three wins. Stout as in posting  three shutouts. This will be the Falcons toughest test to date as they try to keep Florence quarterback Jace Hulsey, receiver Kyle Washington and  running back Nick Brown from running amuck. Washington has 402 yards rushing and receiving. Fountain Hills has its own set of skill players with credentials - quarterback Rainer Greenstreet (366 yards passing) and backs Wesley Musa, Zach Rossfeld and Trace Johnson (combined 498 yards rushing).

Saguaro (2-0) at Peoria (1-1)

Last year's result: Saguaro 13, Peoria 0: A second staunch opponent in succession for Peoria, which dropped a 20-10 decision last week to westside rival and defending 4A-II champ Cactus. Saguaro is on a mission if its first two games are an indication as the Sabercats are taking no prisoners. They've won their first two games by an average count of 64-12. Quarterback Teddy Ruben has amassed 799 yards of offense and accounted for 10 TDs rushing and passing.