Football preview capsules for 9/11 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Football preview capsules for 9/11

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Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2009 2:50 pm | Updated: 1:04 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A breakdown of the matchup and intrigue surrounding each of this week's East Valley high school football matchups.

Basha (1-0) at Mountain Pointe (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4201 E. Knox Road, Phoenix

Key matchup: Mountain Pointe's defense will be tested by Basha's veteran quarterback, Mike Benjamin, after facing an untested quarterback last week and a quarterback learning a new offense in Week 1.

Key stat: It's apparent Mountain Pointe can move the ball. The Pride scored 118 points in 10 games last season. In two games this season, they've already tallied 101.

The intrigue: Basha has won the last three meetings (handily) between the schools. Have the Pride caught up to foes this year, or can Basha continue its recent dominance?

Desert Ridge (1-1) at Corona del Sol (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1001 E. Knox Road, Tempe

Key matchup: Corona's defense must perform better this week and that means executing the fundamentals, particularly sure tackling. Making the Jaguars grind out drives through the air or via the ground is crucial.

Key stat: Desert Ridge passed for more than 300 yards in Week 1 and rushed for more than 300 yards last week.

The intrigue: Desert Ridge faces its toughest test defensively against an Aztecs offense that features running back Michael Lange and quarterback Chase Cartwright. Mesquite and Central were one-dimensional. There's more to defend this week.

Pinnacle (1-0) at Desert Vista (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 16440 S. 32nd Street, Phoenix

Key matchup: Pinnacle quarterback Alex Cappellini is a two-way threat (130 yards passing, three TDs; 97 yards rushing, TD) so Desert Vista's defense will need to pressure Cappellini without "selling out" because of his ability to run and throw.

Key stat: Pinnacle forced four turnovers en route to 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter last week.

The intrigue: The Thunder are coming off a bye week, which is pretty early in the season, so their season opener against Tucson feels like an eternity ago. The jump in competition is substantial, and the Thunder will need to re-acclimate themselves to game-speed action quickly.

Desert Mountain (1-0) at Sandra Day O'Connor (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 25250 N. 35th Ave., Glendale

Key matchup: Desert Mountain's veteran defensive line and blitz packages did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage and getting pressure on Mesquite last week. If the Wolves can do it again, they can force Glendale Sandra Day O'Connor into turnovers.

Key stat: The Wolves held Mesquite to 14 yards rushing in the second half of their 14-0 win.

The intrigue: The Wolves have a good chance to start 2-0 for a second consecutive season. In 2008 they won four of their first five but wound up losing four straight, which ultimately cost them a playoff spot. The Wolves seem to have found a running game with Anthony Snyder but the passing game has a long way to go, and it'll be needed soon.

Brophy (2-0) at St. Mary's (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1202 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix (Phoenix College)

Key matchup: Phoenix St. Mary's is going to have to be creative to keep its offense on the field because the Knights don't have the size and numbers to match up with Phoenix Brophy, and fatigue will set in defensively if the Knights can't convert on offense.

Key stat: Brophy has won six consecutive meetings, but St. Mary's still leads the all-time series 29-21.

The intrigue: The 51-year-old rivalry remains through 2010, which may satisfy outsiders, but the Broncos wanted a nonconference upgrade in their schedule for power-point purposes. This could either lead to a bitter, fired-up St. Mary's squad or a Brophy team bent to prove its dominance.

Dobson (0-2) at Millennium (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 14802 W. Wigwam Blvd., Goodyear

Key matchup: Dobson's defense must improve gradually if not drastically. Mesa and Mountain Pointe had little trouble rushing against the Mustangs, be it up the middle or around the corner. Goodyear Millennium has been able to mix it up offensively in its first two games.

Key stat: Dobson has allowed 97 points and committed seven turnovers in two games.

The intrigue: Millennium found the move from 4A-I to 5A-II tougher last week vs. Pinnacle (more so than its opener vs. 5A newcomer Laveen Fairfax). Will Dobson perform more like Pinnacle or Fairfax?

Chandler (1-1) at Casa Grande (0-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2730 N. Trekell, Casa Grande

Key matchup: Chandler's defense, led by Declan Wall and Ammon Samia, will need to right the ship that proverbially sunk against Peoria Centennial last week.

Key stat: Casa Grande QB J.R. Elliot has rushed for 224 yards and completed 50 percent of his passes for 208 yards in two games this season.

The intrigue: Chandler has changed quarterbacks, switching from senior Kyle Yount to junior Brett Hundley after Hundley completed 13 of 19 passes for 150 yards and two TDs in a relief role last week. He also rushed for 73 yards and another TD.

Marana Mountain View (1-1) at Red Mountain (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 7301 E. Brown Road, Mesa

Key matchup: Marana Mountain View must slow down Derek Molina and red-hot John O'Connor out of Red Mountain's backfield, or it will be a long night.

Key stat: Marana Mountain View averages 1.4 yards per carry.

The intrigue: Red Mountain's roll should continue as its defense should stop the run and force Marana to throw. Both teams are nicknamed the Mountain Lions.

Ironwood (1-0) at Hamilton (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler

Key matchup: Hamilton's defense will need to corral Darrin Spencer, who rushed for 82 yards last week and provided the only scoring with an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Glendale Ironwood's win at Glendale Deer Valley.

Key stat: Hamilton hasn't committed a turnover this season.

The intrigue: Not much. So long as Hamilton keeps its businesslike approach, the Huskies should be able to run on Ironwood and let their defense fly to the ball with guys like Tevin Hood, Ben Peters, Devon Carrington and Tylor Rutt.

Gilbert (0-1) at Mountain Ridge (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 22800 N. 67th Ave., Glendale

Key matchup: Both teams, which entered the season with inexperienced squads, opened with opponents that reached at least the 5A-I semifinals last year (Mountain View and Phoenix Brophy). Glendale Mountain Ridge is not Brophy on defense. Gilbert QB Brandon Bialkowski needs to perform better through the air because that's the Tigers' strength this year.

Key stat: If not for a late 62-yard TD run, the Tigers would have totaled less than 100 yards of offense in their opener.

The intrigue: Whichever team rebounds and makes that step forward from Week 1 will prevail. It's a more important game for Gilbert, which has a tougher schedule than Mountain Ridge, which competes in the Northwest Region.

Highland (0-1) at Westview (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 10850 W. Garden Lakes Parkway, Avondale

Key matchup: Highland defense vs. Avondale Westview offense. The Hawks' defense, more experienced in the secondary than anywhere else, is going to have to shoulder the burden early while the offense works in young quarterback play.

Key stat: Highland's 14 points last week came in the final minutes against Mountain Pointe's reserves.

The intrigue: Highland has its work cut out for it. Westview isn't used to losing and certainly not in the manner in which Hamilton whacked the Knights last week. The Knights are primed not to be gracious hosts, so the Hawks need to bring a fire in their belly to counteract that.

Mesquite (1-1) at Tolleson (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 9419 W. Van Buren, Tolleson

Key matchup: This is an opportunity for Mesquite to gain some confidence on offense, which is much needed. Special teams contributed to most of the Wildcats' scoring in a Week 1 win. Last week they were blanked. Tolleson faced a Maryvale squad not nearly the caliber of Desert Ridge or Desert Mountain.

Key stat: Mesquite has scored only one touchdown in two games on a sustained offensive drive. Three other scores came via special teams.

The intrigue: Mesquite's strength is its defense, and Tolleson is one-dimensional (running game). Tolleson capitalized on Maryvale mistakes (punt return and interception return TDs) that made a 30-12 win look like a rout. Can the Wildcats get a complete game on both sides of the ball this week?

Marcos de Niza (2-0) at Valley Vista (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 15550 W. Parkview Place, Surprise

Key matchup: Surprise Valley Vista must try to stop Marcos' offense, which is averaging 350 yards per game and is equally adept rushing or passing. The Monsoon blitzed Alhambra, 54-0, last week, but Alhambra was just 2-8 in 2008.

Key stat: Padres running back Ramon Abreu has four offensive TDs, a defensive score and is averaging 13 yards per offensive touch.

The intrigue: Can Marcos de Niza manage to win 42-7 for the third straight week? More than likely not. Look for a wider margin of victory.

Buena (1-1) at Perry (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1919 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert

Key matchup: Perry's defense will need to contain a Sierra Vista Buena rushing attack of Trey Brown and Xavier Cooper, who have combined for 264 yards and six touchdowns.

Key stat: Pressed into quarterback duty by a preseason injury to starter David Walker, Chase Richardson is leading the Pumas in rushing (105 yards) and has thrown for 269 yards (200 last week at Yuma Kofa).

The intrigue: Perry gets to show off its early-season prowess to the home folks for the first time. The Pumas have knocked off two established yet not very successful programs thus far. Buena fits the mold of the first two foes, so a 3-0 start is possible.

Goldwater (1-0) at Horizon (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 5601 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale

Key matchup: Horizon junior Matt Jones went ballistic to the tune of 186 yards on 28 carries in last week's victory against Yuma. The Huskies have struggled to run the ball the past couple of years, so expect them to stick with it as long as it works. Phoenix Goldwater's defense is slightly better than Yuma's; can they play like it?

Key stat: Jones ran for 189 yards in all of 2008.

The intrigue: The Huskies need to build confidence (and victories) in September because life gets significantly more difficult in October. If the Huskies can establish their running game again, it'll make QB Ryan Stanford's night easier and become another fun night.

Skyline (0-2) at Cibola (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4100 W. 20th St., Yuma

Key matchup: Skyline's defense vs. Yuma Cibola ground game led by senior running back Roy Thompson. Thompson rushed for 186 yards and three scores in the Raiders' opener last week, a win over Imperial (Calif.).

Key stat: Wide receiver/defensive back Tyler Sinsabaugh caught seven passes for 67 yards and a touchdown and also intercepted a pass in the 35-28 loss to Tucson Ironwood Ridge.

The intrigue: After tough matchups the first two weeks vs. playoff-savvy teams, the Coyotes hit the road for the third straight week. This one is very winnable. Can the Coyotes purge themselves of the disappointment of last week's heartbreaking, fourth-quarter loss in the Old Pueblo?

Westwood (1-1) at Mesa (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa

Key matchup: Mesa has three rushers - Jaymen Green, Devontae Kellybrew and Asure McMillan - with 100 yards this season, and the thin Warriors won't be able to keep up unless they force Mesa into being pass-heavy.

Key stat: Mesa's defense has been stingy thus far, giving up just 13 points. Westwood running backs Billy Sueing and Valencio Grady each cracked the 100-yard mark in last week's romp over Yuma Gila Ridge.

The intrigue: This matchup lies somewhere between the first two Westwood has played (Red Mountain at the top and Gila Ridge near the bottom of the 5A barrel). Mesa is playing at a level closer to Red Mountain thus far, so the Warriors will have to be at their best to be competitive in this one.

Miami (0-2) at Valley Christian (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6900 W. Galveston St., Chandler

Key matchup: Somehow, Miami has to figure out a way to slow down Valley Christian's running attack, which averages 285 yards per game and more than 14 yards per carry.Key stat: The Trojans haven't allowed a point yet this season.

The intrigue: Valley Christian should have little trouble dispensing the Vandals, which would set up the 3-0 Trojans for the gauntlet of Scottsdale Christian, Phoenix Christian and Phoenix Northwest Christian in consecutive weeks.

Scottsdale Christian (1-0) at Arizona Lutheran Academy (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6036 S. 27th Ave., Phoenix

Key matchup: Ben Grams has rolled up 386 yards (an 8.9 yards-per-carry average) and three touchdowns for Phoenix Arizona Lutheran Academy, but Scottsdale Christian's tandem of Josh O'Neill and Luke Siwek are waiting across the line of scrimmage.

Key stat: Scottsdale Christian's Chauncey Wright is averaging 22 yards per punt return.

The intrigue: After scoring 49 points in the opener against South Pointe Prep, the Coyotes were shut out by Tempe Prep last week. If the Week 1 version shows up, it could be competitive most of the night. If Arizona Lutheran Academy's Week 2 version shows up, Scottsdale Christian will cruise into next week's matchup with Valley Christian.

Pima (1-0) at Tempe Prep (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m. Saturday

Address: 6036 S. 27th Ave., Phoenix (Arizona Lutheran Academy)

Key matchup: Despite being short on numbers, Tempe Prep must effectively tackle when given opportunities against Pima. It hurt the Knights last season during Pima's 58-29 victory.

Key stat: Tempe Prep's 14-0 win against Arizona Lutheran Academy was its first shutout since October 2007.

The intrigue: Tempe Prep rode emotions in winning its first game as a 2A member last week, while Pima is a better team coming off a 1A state quarterfinals loss to Mogollon.

Washington (0-1) at Coronado (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2501 N. 74th St., Scottsdale

Key matchup: Phoenix Washington's air-it-out offense against Coronado's defense. The Rams threw for 340 yards last week but lost 56-20. Coronado returns six starters from last year's tough defense but gave up a boatload of points to Glendale Cactus in the opener.

Key stat: Coronado gave up more points in its season opener (47) than it did in the first six games (45) last year.

The intrigue: The Dons had a tough first test against Cactus and ran out of gas at the end. Washington isn't easy to prepare for because it passes the ball all over the field, but if the Dons play a complete game they should be fine.

Liberty (2-0) at Higley (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4068 E. Pecos Road, Gilbert

Key matchup: The Knights must contain Peoria Liberty's potent one-two punch of Dan Mihelich and Keegan Whipkey, who have combined to pass for 334 yards and four touchdowns and run for 445 yards and four more scores in two games.

Key stat: Kelvin Fisher had 22 carries for 169 yards and a touchdown in his first game as Higley's starting tailback last week.

The intrigue: Liberty is a new school but had some success with no seniors last year and has won its first two games handily. The Knights could be in for a decent test.

Desert Edge (0-2) at Notre Dame (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 9000 E. Chaparral Road, Scottsdale (Scottsdale Community College)

Key matchup: Desert Edge's secondary must attempt to slow down Notre Dame's passing game, which won't be easy. Quarterback Will King has one of the better arms in 4A.

Key stat: Notre Dame has won 24 straight games.

The intrigue: This is another tuneup for Notre Dame, heading into a big-time matchup with Paradise Valley next week. The Saints won by 15 points over Phoenix Shadow Mountain last week but still have much to fix with a young squad.

Flagstaff (1-1) at Williams Field (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2076 S. Higley Road, Gilbert

Key matchup: Brandon Warren had some big numbers last week. Flagstaff will need to slow him down to stay close.

Key stat: Nick Gaylord was all over the field last Friday, accumulating 60 yards passing, 38 yards rushing and 102 yards receiving for Williams Field.

The intrigue: Williams Field had a successful varsity debut with an easy 56-28 win over El Mirage Dysart. This is another winnable game for the Black Hawks.

Tempe (0-1) at Sinagua (0-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3950 E. Butler Ave., Flagstaff

Key matchup: Tempe will be relying on backup quarterback DeMarco Jordan, so Flagstaff Sinagua should pack the box and make the Buffaloes win through the air. Stopping running back O'Shea Primous should be objective No. 1.

Key stat: The two teams have combined to score six points in three games.

The intrigue: After a tough opening week, here is a chance for the Buffaloes' offense to iron out wrinkles in coach Brian Walker's new system. Tempe doesn't get a reprieve for the next several weeks, so this game must be used for more than just the victory in the standings.

Fountain Hills (0-2) at Santa Cruz (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 900 N. Main St., Eloy

Key matchup: The Fountain Hills defense must focus on stopping the running game, as Eloy Santa Cruz has four players with more than 100 rushing yards after the first two contests.

Key stat: Both these teams have lost to Wickenburg in the early going - Fountain Hills by six points and Santa Cruz by 10.

The intrigue: Fountain Hills has lost tough games to top-five teams Wickenburg and Goodyear Estrella Foothills in its first two games and badly needs to win this one to get back on track.

Agua Fria (1-0) at Apache Junction (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2525 S. Ironwood, Apache Junction

Key matchup: Avondale Agua Fria's Bobby Castaneda and Apache Junction's Nate Scola are the do-everything players from their respective teams. So far, Scola has rushed for 126 yards a game and Castaneda had 78 yards on 20 carries in the Owls' opener. Both are leading tacklers on their teams and will likely see a lot of each other on Friday. If one has a better game than the other, that could be the difference.

Key stat: Apache Junction's defense has yet to be really challenged, but the Owls should provide a challenge. Agua Fria had four backs with at least nine carries in its opening win.

Intrigue: These two teams need to start making some big plays in the passing game. So far, A.J.'s Roy Machuca has completed just 3 of 13 attempts, and if the Prospectors want to take some of the pressure off Scola and the running game, Machuca will need to improve as the year moves ahead.

Palo Verde (2-0) at McClintock (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1830 E. Del Rio Drive, Tempe

Key matchup: Tucson Palo Verde isn't a big-play offense and has scored just 22 points in its first two games. Most of the Titans' yards come on the ground with tailback Deshawn Hill. The main man in charge of keeping Hill in check is Chargers linebacker Hayden Tippett, who had 12 stops in McClintock's season-opening win over Peoria Sunrise Mountain.

Key stat: McClintock coach Mike Gibbons said his team was going to be a grind-it-out club, but in their opener, the Chargers were very balanced. Quarterback Brent Davis had an effective game, completing 10 passes to five receivers for 125 yards and three touchdowns.

Intrigue: Palo Verde has been getting it done with defense in its first two games, while McClintock's offensive explosion in the opener (45 points) was aided by the four turnovers forced by the defense. This could turn into a low-scoring affair if both defenses continue to play like they have so far.

Saguaro (1-0) at Sunnyslope (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 35 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix

Key matchup: Phoenix Sunnyslope's defense gave up 161 yards to Phoenix Greenway's Daniel Rankin in its 56-22 loss. Saguaro's D.J. Foster and Bobby McGinty made a big splash in their first extensive playing time. Foster returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and McGinty ran for 174 yards in a 49-7 win over Glendale Copper Canyon. If the Sabercats keep the same game plan, McGinty and Foster will have another big game.

Key stat: Saguaro will reach 35 consecutive victories with a win as it heads into a tough stretch of games against Peoria, Glendale Cactus and Tucson Canyon del Oro.

Intrigue: Sabercats coach John Sanders was mum on why Teddy Ruben started at quarterback instead of the player he named the starter in the preseason, Kyle Faunce. Ruben was effective last week, but it'll be interesting to see if Faunce gets some playing time.

Cactus Shadows (1-0) at Greenway (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3930 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix

Key matchup: The Cactus Shadows secondary needs to shut down the Demons' big-play passing offense. Phoenix Greenway had two receivers average 31 yards per catch in its opener, while the Falcons gave up just 80 yards through the air in a big win at Vail Cienega. In that game, Tommy Murphy had three interceptions.

Key stat: Falcons wideout Joree Schneider was nearly unstoppable in the win over Cienega, catching 12 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns.

Intrigue: How well can Cactus Shadows put last week's huge victory over a ranked team behind it? That will be critical because if the Falcons dwell on the win too long, the Demons will be there to bring them down to earth.

Queen Creek (1-0) at Shadow Mountain (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2902 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix

Key matchup: Queen Creek linebacker Tommy Cawood will need another solid game against the Matadors' offense, which will be more balanced than the one the Bulldogs faced in their opener against Higley.

Key stat: Three Queen Creek receivers had four catches in a 20-13 overtime win over Higley in the opener. Quarterback Adam Brzeczek threw the ball well, completing 13 of 17 passes. Look for the Bulldogs to throw even more against the Matadors.

Intrigue: Queen Creek needed three days to complete its emotional win over neighbor Higley. With their normal routine thrown off by the weather delays and rare Saturday morning game, the Bulldogs will have to bounce back quickly.

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