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ORO VALLEY — It would have been easy for Higley coach Eddy Zubey to cite any number of little things that contributed to his team's 34-31 loss at Canyon del Oro in the first round of the Division III state playoffs.
Higley coach Eddy Zubey gives a thumbs up to his defense after making a stop during the second quarter of its Div. III first-round playoff game on Nov. 8, 2013.
Higley coach Eddy Zubey, November 1, 2013 at Higley. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
A neighborhood rivalry which could have been one of the better showcases in Higley-vs.-Williams Field’s brief history might lose some of its luster.
The Higley football program's appeal to have its two-game "forfeiture" overturned was denied by the AIA Executive Board during its monthly meeting on Monday.
Higley's coach Eddy Zubey, Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at Higley. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Higley started slow but finished strong in a 40-18 victory over McClintock on homecoming night. The Chargers (3-5) jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the second quarter after Dominic Orona scored on a 32-yard touchdown run, but Higley (7-1) quickly came back and scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-12 lead into halftime.
Higley bounced back from their only loss of the season to Queen Creek last week with a 52-7 rout over Phoenix South Mountain on Friday.
Queen Creek remains undefeated and handed visiting Higley its first loss of the season by a score of 56-35.
In what was a back-and-forth contest, Higley kicker Erik Fritz was able to connect on a 22-yard field goal with just 15 seconds left for the deciding three points in a 27-24 win against Cactus Shadows.
Outlook: One of these years, Higley will have a talented starting quarterback who'll make it through the season.
Playing without a half-dozen key contributors hasn't stopped Seton Catholic. Neither has bad snaps or other teams' defenses.
Higley quarterback Mythias Young is brought down by Williams Field defenders Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Williams Field quarterback Cole Patterson hands off to Kyle Gill, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Surging towards a first down two Higley defenders stop a Williams Field Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
The Higley defense brings down Williams Field running back Jacob Anderson Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Higlely Shohab Esmaelli rushes the Williams Field ball carrier, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Williams Field runningback Josh Page evades the Higley defense in the fourth quarter, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
A young Higley hopeful practices his punting Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
FILE PHOTO -- The Williams Field band plays to rally support for their team, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. Band is one of the extracurricular activities in public schools that qualify for tax credit donations. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Connor Graham, Notre Dame: 229 yards, 2 TD
Esteban Arteaga, McClintock: 172 yards, 3 TD
Jacob Anderson, Williams Field (pictured): 153 yards, 2 TD
Zech Gatling, Scottsdale Christian: 147 yards, 2 TD
Kam’Ron Johnson, Tempe: 146 yards, 3 TD
Cory Kasperson, Valley Christian: 145 yards, 3 TD
Paul Perry, Mesquite: 137 yards, 3 TD
Deion Warren, Desert Mountain: 132 yards, 2 TD
Ryan Velez, Brophy: 131 yards, 2 TD
Saige Waxter, San Tan Foothills: 129 yards, 2 TD
Ricky Marshall, Higley: 124 yards, 2 TD
Chase Lucas, Chandler: 113 yards, 2 TD
Kiwan Lear, Red Mountain: 116 yards, TD
Jacob Matsumoto, Tempe Prep: 100 yards, 2 TD
The Higley defense brings down Williams Field running back Jacob Anderson Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. The two schools are separated by four miles and meet again on Friday night at Higley HS to end the regular season.
Williams Field at Higley: It could be a real shame this might be a shorthanded matchup for Higley if QB Tyler Bloom isn’t able to play because of a shoulder injury. The Knights will find out around the 23rd hour if he’s medically cleared, but without practice time this week and the playoffs upcoming, there’s a good chance Higley would have already made up its mind to have him sit this one out. If that’s the case, the Knights would be pressed into a run-heavy offense, and that could work with Ricky Marshall (1,002 yards, 15 touchdowns) so long as the Knights don’t turn the ball over. The problem is a one-dimensional-style offense hasn’t worked against Williams Field (see last week vs. Peoria Shadow Ridge). Higley might still try to throw the ball some with backups, but it won’t be the same. The other part of this equation is Williams Field’s balanced offense (which Higley normally is) is going to cause fits with Higley’s defense. The Black Hawks can beat you in a few ways, starting with Jacob Anderson running and Jeddediah Fagg-to-Cole Forsgren combination through the air. Perhaps they’ll meet again down the road this season, and if Higley is healthier, would at least be a closer contest than most in the schools’ brief history.
Prediction: Williams Field 41, Higley 21
Williams Field running back Ray Velasquez runs toward the endzone with a 9 yard run with 12 minutes left in the second quarter Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Williams Field's Jordan Johnson gains yardage as Higley's Dash Sandecki sets his sights on the receiver, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in Gilbert. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]