VX Predictions: Week 4 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

VX Predictions: Week 4

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Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 4:46 pm

Hamilton at Desert Ridge

This game has gnawed at me all week, as did Chandler vs. Basha. Guess that means they should be pretty darn good. This is Desert Ridge’s game of the year (for the regular season) and, similar to last year’s state championship game, the best chance to end Hamilton’s winning streak. The Jaguars are loaded on offense, versatile in a way practically nobody else in Division I can say, are better defensively, get Hamilton now as opposed to Week 10 and should feel like they can win because, well, they can. But the part about Hamilton repeatedly winning games on big stages like this matters, regardless of pure-talent comparisons to other Hamilton teams. Remember, too, the Huskies almost never beat themselves in these situations with turnovers, penalties or mental breakdowns..

Prediction: Hamilton 20, Desert Ridge 17

— Mark Heller

Hamilton at Desert Ridge

For the first time in awhile, there is more than just a small glimmer of hope for someone to knock off Hamilton. With the three-headed monster of Parker Rasmussen, Joey Counts and Jordan Becerra, Desert Ridge has the playmakers to move the ball. The Huskies have not been quite the dominant outfit of a season ago, but they are still plenty good. This game should come down to how well Desert Ridge can run the ball. If the Jaguars can get yardage, the Huskies could be in trouble. If they are forced to throw, it plays right into Hamilton’s hands. While this game could be close, Hamilton’s defense will do enough to slow down the Jaguars.

Prediction: Hamilton 24, Desert Ridge 17

— Kyle Odegard

Hamilton at Desert Ridge

Of all the teams in Division I, only one truly believes it is better than Hamilton and that team is Desert Ridge. Sure, there are others that may say they are better, or think they are better, but deep down, they have doubts. For the Jaguars, there are no doubts heading into tonight’s matchup of the top two teams in Division I. Desert Ridge’s offense has been deadly efficient this year in its three victories, while Hamilton’s has been sporadic. Battering ram running back Joey Counts is back to full health for the Jaguars, which means quarterback Parker Rasmussen (who is completing passes at a .715 clip) has another option and the

Huskies’ defense can’t focus solely on the passing game.

Prediction: Desert Ridge 34, Hamilton 27

— Steve Burks

Gilbert at Mesquite

The Tigers have quietly improved since a season-opening blowout loss to Desert Ridge. The Tigers have back-to-back victories over Highland and Mesa, and the passing game, featuring quarterback Mitch Trail and wide receiver Connor Helvig, has looked good. Mesquite is more one-dimensional, but has the best player on the field in running back Anthony Lopez. Mesquite’s defense had trouble slowing down Chandler, although Gilbert doesn’t have near the same caliber of athletes. Still, the Tigers are making strides, and with health questions surrounding Mesquite quarterback Steven Bevan (concussion), Gilbert may be poised to pull the upset.

Prediction: Gilbert 24, Mesquite 21

— Kyle Odegard

Mountain Ridge at Mountain View

Congrats to Chad DeGrenier and his Toros for getting that elusive first win last week against Skyline. Mountain Ridge (0-3) is trying to do the same, and the Lions haven’t been real close to their competition in any of those three so far. Mountain Ridge’s Avery Ayers does a nice job distributing the ball to eight and nine different guys in a given week, but the Lions have been unable to establish a running game to date. A little confidence can go a long way, and while the Toros’ ongoing transition will continue for the forseeable future, it’s a good time to catch Mountain Ridge on a downswing.

Prediction: Mountain View 20, Mountain Ridge 14

— Mark Heller

Williams Field at Canyon del Oro

CDO is coming off a nice 28-27 victory against Laveen Cesar Chavez but lost nearly everyone from its championship runs in 4A Division II the past two years. Inside the bigger picture of whether CDO can stop Williams Field’s offense, is an impressive individual matchup: CDO linebacker Blake Martinez and Williams Field running back Alex Howard. The Black Hawks won’t back down in giving Howard the ball, and with other options at their disposal, WF will be able to do more than Martinez and Co. can stop.

Prediction: Williams Field 28, CDO 17

— Mark Heller

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