Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Teams put unbeaten marks on line at halfway pointSep 19, 2012
By Don Ketchum
The 2012 regular season reaches the halfway point this week, with some intriguing match-ups on the schedule.
Here is a look at some of the top games for teams in Scottsdale, Phoenix, the southwest, northwest and north Valley, and northern Arizona . . .
Phoenix Horizon (4-0, Division II, Section III) at Phoenix Pinnacle (4-0, DI, SIII) – Horizon has been rejuvenated by the return of former coach Doug Shaffer. The Huskies still prefer to run first, pass second. Pinnacle, coached by Dana Zupke, is similar in style. The Pioneers pride themselves in putting a hard-hitting defense on the field, and that could be the difference here.
Peoria Sunrise Mountain (4-0, DIII, SII) at Peoria Liberty (4-0, DIII, SII) – These neighborhood rivals have averaged more than 50 points per game, so we will see which defense can come up with a show-stopping effort to keep their team unbeaten.
Yuma Catholic (3-1, DV, SII) at Buckeye (4-0, DIV, SIII) – Buckeye wants to prove it belongs in the chase for the state title with teams such as Lakeside Blue Ridge, Show Low, Cottonwood Mingus and Payson, so a good way to keep everybody’s attention is to defeat the defending Division V state champion.
Glendale Cactus (3-1, DIII, SII) at Scottsdale Saguaro (3-1, DIII, SIII) – This is a rematch of last year’s state title game, won by Saguaro. Neither of these teams likely matches the talent of their predecessors, but this still should be a competitive contest.
Goodyear Desert Edge (4-0, DIII, SIII) at Goodyear Estrella Foothills (3-1, DIV, SIII) – Rich Wellbrock has had some good teams since taking over as coach at Desert Edge a few years ago, but this could be the best of the bunch. Particularly on offense. The Scorpions are averaging 57 points per game. Estrella Foothills has shown improvement this season under coach Lamar Early.
Phoenix Arcadia (2-2, DIII, SIII) at Phoenix Camelback (3-1, DII, SI) – Jim Ellison, dumped as Arcadia coach just before the start of the season, surfaced as offensive coordinator at nearby Camelback and now gets the chance for a bit of payback. Arcadia opened 2-0, but lost its next two.
Show Low (4-0, DIV, SI) at Payson (3-1, DIV, SIII) – Show Low should have plenty of focus after nearly being upset by Snowflake (Show Low 24-23) last week. Payson is among its sectional favorites with Buckeye and Cottonwood Mingus.
Phoenix North (1-3, DI, SI) at Phoenix Carl Hayden (2-2, DI, SI) – It wasn’t that long ago when Carl Hayden was struggling to score a touchdown, much less win a game. Winning three in a row was unthinkable, but now . . . here the Falcons are, with a chance to do just that and have a winning record at the halfway point.
Buckeye Verrado (1-3, DIII, SII) at Buckeye Youngker (0-4, DIII, SIII) – Records don’t really matter in this rivalry game between two fairly new schools. It’s about bragging rights.
Lakeside Blue Ridge (5-0, DIV, SI) at Holbrook (2-2, DIV, SI) – Blue Ridge coach Paul Moro goes for career victory No. 299 and his team wants to pave the way to a second straight state title. If the Yellowjackets win here, Moro’s first shot at No. 300 would come next week at home against St. Johns.