Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Playoffs set to kick off for state's top five divisionsOct 31, 2012
By Don Ketchum
The football playoffs get under way for divisions I through V on Friday night (Nov. 2), with eight-man Division VI staging its semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 3).
Here is a look at some of the top games for home playoff teams in Scottsdale, Phoenix, the southwest, northwest and north Valley, and northern Arizona . . .
No. 13 seed Chandler (7-3) vs. No. 4 Phoenix Brophy Prep (9-2) at Phoenix College – This should feature a passing duel between Chandler’s Darell Garretson and Brophy’s Tyler Bruggman. Brophy might be a little more versatile, with the running of big man Marche Dennard.
No. 10 Avondale Westview (8-2) at No. 7 Phoenix Pinnacle (8-2) – Pinnacle’s defense must figure out a way to rebound after giving up 59 points to Brophy in the regular-season finale. Westview features another group of hard-nosed running backs.
No. 12 Goodyear Millennium (7-3) at No. 5 Laveen Cesar Chavez (9-1) – Knowing that it defeated Millennium 39-10 earlier in the season should help Cesar Chavez regain some confidence after a 45-27 loss to Tempe Marcos de Niza to end the regular season.
No. 13 Tucson Sahuaro (7-3) at No. 4 Peoria Centennial (9-1) – Centennial has not been a subject of title talk as much as it has been in past years, but now is the time for the Coyotes to spring back into action.
No. 11 Phoenix Horizon (8-2) at No. 6 Glendale Apollo (9-1) – Apollo lost 2011 star quarterback Jonathan Brown to graduation, but there has been no drop-off on the scoreboard this season. Horizon’s defense will need to be at the top of its game.
No. 10 Gilbert Perry (7-3) at No. 7 Scottsdale Chaparral (7-3) – After a nightmarish start to the season (losses in three of its first four games), Chaparral has rebounded nicely. The Firebirds might get a chance to avenge a last-second loss (literally) to Tempe Marcos de Niza in the quarterfinals, but don’t count out Preston Jones-coached Perry.
No. 16 Surprise Shadow Ridge (7-3) at No. 1 Goodyear Desert Edge (10-0) – Shadow Ridge has enough of a record to make Desert Edge look ahead early at Scottsdale Saguaro or Glendale Cactus for next week, but expect this one to have a similar outcome as the 38-17 Desert Edge win over Shadow Ridge earlier in the season.
No. 9 Scottsdale Saguaro (7-3) at No. 8 Glendale Cactus (7-3) – This is a rematch of last year’s state championship game, but in name only. Neither team is as strong as some of its predecessors. Saguaro, winner of five of the last six titles, defeated Cactus 67-14 earlier this season.
No. 13 Phoenix Paradise Valley (7-3) at No. 4 Peoria Liberty (9-1) – This should be a high-octane rematch of the game earlier this season. PV quarterback Ryan Finley and Liberty’s Tyler Rogers dueled it out, and Liberty pulled away in the second half for a 65-31 victory.
No. 16 Globe (6-4) at No. 1 Lakeside Blue Ridge (10-0) – Blue Ridge is looking for another title, and Globe stands in the way.
No. 9 River Valley (7-3) at No. 8 Kayenta Monument Valley (9-1) – Monument Valley has a high-powered offense, and will try to win this one before even thinking about taking on Blue Ridge in the next round.
No. 12 Tucson Empire (7-3) at No. 5 Goodyear Estrella Foothills (7-3) – Estrella Foothills has put up some big offensive numbers and will try to keep the momentum going.
No. 13 Payson (6-4) at No. 4 Snowflake (8-2) – Snowflake had some injuries early in the season, but appears to have its health back, which is bad news for opponents.
No. 11 Coolidge (8-2) at No. 6 Cottonwood Mingus (7-3) – Mingus always seems to be tough come playoff time. Can the Marauders advance? Athletic Coolidge will have something to say about that.
No. 10 Buckeye (7-3) at No. 7 Winslow (6-4) – We will see how Buckeye is affected by this rare lengthy road trip. The good news for the Hawks is that linebacker DeAndre Miller is back in action after missing time with an injured knee.
No. 15 Fountain Hills (4-6) at No. 2 Show Low (9-1) – Show Low wants to have another shot at Blue Ridge, and it likely will come in the state championship game on Nov. 23.
No. 16 Sedona Red Rock (6-4) at No. 1 Phoenix Northwest Christian (9-1) – Sedona Red Rock could be in for a long night. The team fell to Northwest 62-0 in the second week of the season, and Northwest is angry after being knocked from the unbeaten ranks last week 21-0 by Tempe Prep.
No. 9 St. Johns (7-3) at No. 8 Phoenix Christian (8-2) – St. Johns has had playoff success in the past, and Phoenix Christian has had a strong season. The winner here likely will face Northwest Christian in the quarterfinals.
No. 13 Pinon (8-2) at No. 4 Phoenix Scottsdale Christian (8-1) – If there is a dark horse in the field, it could be Scottsdale Christian. Its only loss was by four points to Northwest Christian.
No. 10 Williams (9-1) at No. 7 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran (8-2) – Playing a much tougher schedule should help Arizona Lutheran in this instance.
Division VI semifinals
No. 3 Pima (9-0) vs. No. 7 Bagdad (8-2), Saturday, 2 p.m., at Phoenix Sunnyslope – Pima is showing that it can play well without former coach John Bryant (now at Joseph City). Bagdad has had a strong second half of the season, including a 25-24 playoff win over perennial power Heber Mogollon last week.
No. 8 Phoenix Valley Lutheran (7-2) vs. No. 4 Glendale Joy Christian (9-0), Saturday, 6 p.m., at Sunnyslope – Joy Christian’s offense is on a roll right now, and it could carry the Eagles to the championship before they move to 11-man in the fall of 2013. Joy Christian defeated Valley Lutheran 60-14 earlier in the season.