Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Week 6 FB: D-II unbeatens Ironwood Ridge, Centennial meetSep 25, 2012
Need a place to go Friday (Sept. 28) for a good football game? Fans have plenty of options and one is bound to be just around the corner.
How about Tucson for Centennial-Ironwood Ridge? Or Ahwatukee for Saguaro-Desert Vista? Maybe Chandler for Chandler-Hamilton? What about Phoenix for Mountain Pointe-Brophy Prep? Or the Mesa-Gilbert border for Red Mountain-Desert Ridge?
Can't go wrong with any of those. You can't see them all, but know there will be other chances since all of them will be playing come playoff time in November. Here's a brief look at each:
CENTENNIAL (5-0) AT IRONWOOD RIDGE (5-0): Ironwood Ridge gave Centennial its toughest game that wasn't a loss last season (21-7 win for Centennial). Ironwood Ridge and Centennial were the teams eliminated in last year's D-II semis and both are looking to take that extra step. Centennial has a couple of standouts in backs Jalen Ortiz, Matt Rodriguez and quarterback Tre'von Grant. It's the depth behind them that might be the difference in what Ironwood Ridge certainly wants to be a possession, clock-grinding contest. Ironwood Ridge does it with the two-pronged attack of power back Anthony Braunreiter and quarterback Tyler Williams. Its defense is quick and its special teams have been solid. All need to come in play to knock off the quick, deeper and bigger Coyotes.
SAGUARO (3-2) AT DESERT VISTA (4-1): Saguaro is hot having won four in a row and demolishing three successive opponents after a loss to begin the season in defense of its D-III title. Desert Vista is three points short of an unbeaten season on the heels of its state title in D-I last year. Desert Vista used an excess of energy and emotion to pull off a 31-28 win last year after trailing at halftime, 28-3. The Thunder doesn't want to have to rally like that two years in a row. They got leading rusher Jarek Hilger back last week and the defense continued to be stingy.This is a test for Saguaro -- a large one going up two divisions -- which may not get another challenge until the regular-season finale. Saguaro's four wins have all come against D-III opponents in the top 15 of the seedings. The D-III champs beating the D-I champ would be a feather in the Sabercats' cap.
CHANDLER (4-1) AT HAMILTON (3-2): Chandler goes after its first win ever -- again -- against Hamilton in the lopsided, but more interesting lately, all-time series between the sister schools. Chandler is 1-1 in a current difficult three-game stretch (win over Basha and overtime loss to Mountain Pointe) just as it was last year only reverse those outcomes. Hamilton is much better offensively than it was in its two August losses. That figures to be the difference in this one unless Chandler's defense plays its best game of the season. Hamilton is looking more and more like the complete team it usually fields.
MOUNTAIN POINTE (5-0) AT BROPHY (4-2): Mountain Pointe plays its fourth team among the top eight in D-I in six games. One wonders if the Pride has enough to get through one more physically- and emotionally-draining battle. This will be the first time Mountain Pointe has played back-to-back playoff contenders in this tough stretch. Brophy has breezed of late afterfalling to a highly-ranked California school in its second game and a late loss to unbeaten Red Mountain two weeks ago. The Broncos would be bolstered by a win against a marquee team and have a couple more down the stretch against Westview (Oct. 5) and Pinnacle (Oct. 26).Beating Mountain Pointe, which owns wins over Hamilton, Desert Vista and Chandler (by a combined six points) would be just the tonic.
RED MOUNTAIN (5-0) AT DESERT RIDGE (4-1): Everyone knows its coming, but noone has been able to neutralize Red Mountain's passing attack, guided by senior quarterback Mason Thorman. Thorman is throwing for 295 yards a game and tossed six touchdown passes in last week's thumping of Gilbert. Thorman passed for just 220 yards, only two TDs but no picks vs. Brophy. He tossed the game-winning score in the final seconds for a 33-31 win. Red Mountain must slow Desert Ridge's running game and get the ball in Thorman's hands as much as possible. Desert Ridge gets a second opportunity to play a contender. The Jaguars need a better performance than two weeks ago in a beatdown-loss to Hamilton to raise its stature among the contenders.