It took a little more than five hours Thursday, but the newly designated representatives from the 5A's nine regions hashed out prep football schedules for this fall.
Due to the realignment that takes effect next year, schedules for most East Valley schools range from rigorous to just plain brutal.
Chandler High, which will compete in the newly configured six-team Fiesta Region, automatically had five tough games ahead - region foes Phoenix Brophy, Chandler Hamilton, Phoenix Desert Vista, Mesa High and Mesa Red Mountain. The Wolves' five nonregion foes ended up being defending 5A-II champion Peoria Centennial, Mesa Mountain View, Casa Grande, Phoenix Trevor Browne and Mesa Skyline.
"Is that the toughest schedule in the history of the state or what?" Chandler athletic director Dave Shapiro said, after finding out that the Mountain View the Wolves will face is Mesa, not Marana.
Fiesta Region chair Steve Hogen and the schools he represents decided to depart from the usual way of constructing their schedules. Instead of finishing the season with five successive region games, they opted to stagger those games.
"Nobody wanted to play all those games in succession. They wanted a break from it here or there," Hogen said.
With the Fiesta schedule broken up, it was tougher for other regions to play Fiesta schools since they were locked into their region schedules the last five or six weeks of the season.
That, and the general reluctance of other schools to schedule Fiesta opponents, led to Brophy, Chandler, Hamilton and Red Mountain being without a 10th game when everyone else's dance card was full.
To allow those schools to complete their 10-game schedule, Mesa Westwood, Glendale Deer Valley, St. Mary's and Mesa Skyline were allowed to play an 11th game. They volunteered to play Red Mountain, Brophy, Hamilton and Chandler, respectively. Those games will not count in power points for Westwood, Deer Valley, St. Mary's and Skyline.
Some of the scheduling highlights:
• Hamilton's nonregion slate includes Catholic schools Tucson Salpointe and Phoenix St. Mary's. Some joked that the Huskies should be eligible for the Bishop's Cup since they also face Brophy in region play.
• There had been some concern that Brophy would not play St. Mary's for the first time in nearly a half-century, but Brophy selected St. Mary's as an opponent - the final slot St. Mary's had open on its schedule.
• Missing from Mesa Mountain View's schedule for next year are Red Mountain, Mesa and Westwood. All are longtime rivals, but realignment made it difficult for them to remain on the Toros' schedule.
• Mountain View picked up a game against Scottsdale Chaparral, a meeting that would have been a very hot ticket in football circles 10 years ago.
• Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista will continue their rivalry by opening the season against one another.