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TUCSON — In the (shortened) week leading up to the Division III state finals, Queen Creek's players and coaches spoke at length about needing to avoid getting in a shootout with Saguaro if the Bulldogs wanted to repeat as champions.
It all sounds exhausting: A championship program with completely new starting lineups, followed by a coaching change, followed by injuries to its top talent.
Queen Creek running back Weston Barlow tries to evade Williams Field's Garrett Rohdein, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Queen Creek coach Travis Schureman cheers on his squad before taking on Williams Field, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Elvis made a appearance before the Williams Field and Queen Creek semifinal game Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Williams Field's Jaxxon Fagg blocks Queen Creek's Matt Guida during their matchup with Queen Creek, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
The opening toss coin is shown to Queen Creek's Weston Barlow before their game with Williams Field in a semifinal game, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Queen Creek's Xavier McGuire is brought down in fourth quarter action while taking on Williams Field, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Queen Creek's Bryce Dobbs looks to hand off the ball against Williams Field, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Williams Field's Cliff Weybrecht grabs Queen Creek's Matt Guida as Darius Williams assists during semifinal action against Queen Creek, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Queen Creek's Weston Barlow scores late in the third quarter against Williams Field in state semifinals action, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
A Williams Field player runs toward the end zone in first quarter play while taking on Queen Creek, Monday, November 25, 2013 at Campo Verde. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
After all the grinding on the line and more than 700 yards of offense, it all came down to a fourth-and-5.
Perhaps this is going to outdate thyself. It’s easy to live in the past and remember the olden days.
Queen Creek handed visiting Peoria its first loss of the year to advance to the Division III semifinals in a convincing 42-14 score which was not entirely representative of how lopsided the game unfolded.
Queen Creek huddles as the Bulldogs try and run out the clock in the fourth quarter of a 44-14 win over No. 5 Peoria in the Div. III quarterfinals on Nov. 15, 2013.
Queen Creek scored 28 unanswered points to beat No. 13 Cactus, 38-10, and advance to the quarterfinals of the Division III football playoffs.
Queen Creek upset host Paradise Valley to move on to the quarterfinals of the Division II state tournament. The Bulldogs will travel to Tucson to play at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
With football taking such a predominant portion of the stage, it’s worth noting the girls volleyball state tournament got underway on Tuesday night — not to mention cross country and swimming/diving state championships are coming up this weekend — and just because there’s been an unfortunate lack of ink, doesn’t mean the tournaments are going to lack talent, excitement or drama.
Host Queen Creek owned the line of scrimmage versus Bradshaw Mountain, rushing 43 times for 270 yards in the Bulldogs 46-26 victory.
There is a saying that, no matter how it is accomplished, a win is a win.
No. 4 Queen Creek vs. No. 1 Williams Field (at Campo Verde H.S.): The rivalry is rapidly blooming between these Southeast Valley schools with plenty of wins under its respective belts. After losing out to the Bulldogs in the two previous matchups in its short existence, Williams Field won big in mid-October. The Black Hawks dominated Queen Creek from start to finish, and while the Bulldogs were missing some key people with injuries, Williams Field looked the part of a championship-caliber team. The big keys this time are that Queen Creek is healthier (defensively and RB Weston Barlow) and Williams Field is navigating these playoffs without starting QB Jeddediah Fagg (broken collarbone) a team leader who was having a terrific season in relative anonymity. The passing game hasn’t been quite the same, and while Queen Creek wants to make Williams Field and Cole Patterson throw the ball around to try and beat them, the Black Hawks are still capable of mixing up their offense with Jacob Anderson and Forsgren in other ways. Williams Field’s defense has been solid all season, and while Queen Creek is rounding into form during these playoffs, do the defending-champions have enough turnovers in them to force and runs to break out with Barlow to get back there again?
Prediction: Williams Field 24, Queen Creek 20
Williams Field coach Steve Campbell looked at his team's schedule months ago and knew then the importance of the final four weeks.
No. 5 Peoria at No. 4 Queen Creek (Div. III): Quietly, perhaps, Peoria is one of the few undefeated teams left in Arizona (Mountain Pointe, Salpointe Catholic, Desert Edge and Bagdad), so the Panthers’ No. 5 seed comes from having the lowest strength of schedule rating (regular season) in Div. III. The Panthers are extremely young in their starting lineup, but hammered Peoria Bradshaw Mountain, 50-23, last week. This, however, is a bit different. The Panthers haven’t seen a running game or defense on part withe Queen Creek this season. While Matt Guida isn’t seeing the field much on offense because of him hamstring, Weston Barlow (pictured) is back running the ball effectively for the Bulldogs, and Bryce Dobbs was efficient throwing. The trenches is where this game will be won, and where Queen Creek holds the advantage. It’d take a lot of turnovers for Peoria to shut down the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Queen Creek 34, Peoria 20
The ingredients for a long-term, competitive rivalry in the Southeast Valley between Queen Creek and Williams Field are all on the table.