#1 (DII) CENTENNIAL (4-0) at WILLOW CANYON (2-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 17901 W. Lundberg St., Surprise.
Centennial enters this week more upset than most teams would be after beating an undefeated Apollo team by 12 points.
Coach Richard Taylor said he was impressed by Apollo’s schemes and their effort. But he was dismayed by his team’s mental mistakes, which showed up on a 76-yard pass from Jon Brown to Dylan Katzenberger, and a 99-yard kickoff return by Joe Cortez.
So it was a long week of practice for the Coyotes — and not just because Centennial played a Thursday game. This week, the opponent is the polar opposite of an Apollo team paced by a prolific passing and powerful running quarterback.
Willow Canyon has spent most of the last two weeks on the ground and picked up two wins.
The Wildcats ran 50 times in a 40-14 drubbing of Tempe McClintock, picking up 356 yards. Junior Antony Thompson has 378 yards and seven touchdowns on 54 carries in the last two weeks.
Both teams have a good idea what’s coming, as they’ve played the last two years.
GLENDALE (0-4) at PEORIA (1-3)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 11200 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria.
Another front-loaded schedule has put Peoria in a bind for the third straight season. In 2009 and 2010, the Panthers started 1-2 but won seven straight games to finish both seasons.
History may repeat this year. After starting with a gauntlet including Apollo, Cactus and Liberty, Peoria only faces two true challenges in their final six games — Sept. 30 against Sunrise Mountain and Oct. 21 against Greenway.
Glendale doesn’t pose much of a threat, especially after its 55-7 drubbing by previously-winless Dysart last week.
Peoria has taken to the air more frequently early in the season with senior receiver Sam Pineda (16 catches, 335 yards) and sophomore receiver (16 catches, 223 yards) the main beneficiaries.
#9 (DII) GOODYEAR MILLENNIUM (3-1) at #6 (DII) DEER VALLEY (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 18424 N. 51st Ave., Glendale.
Deer Valley faces its second of four big-time tests as home, as Skyhawk football enters rarified air.
A 42-24 win against Scottsdale Horizon pushed the school’s best team in about three decades to 4-0. Seniors Trae Armstrong and Auston Hillman combined for 310 rushing yards, though 80 of those came on a scrambling score by Hillman.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hillman said about his second quarter touchdown run. “I was shocked.”
Millennium may mark another step up for the Skyhawks. Following its 44-0 loss to Centennial, the Tigers have blown out over-matched Verrado and La Joya by a combined score of 118-3.
Senior quarterback Chad Hons and junior tailback Lavonte Hatcher balance the Millennium offense. Junior linebacker Antonio Diggs paces the defense.
West Valley Preps will cover this game.
MOUNTAIN RIDGE (0-4) at VALLEY VISTA (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 Friday at 15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise.
Though the records may indicate otherwise, this game presents an opportunity for Valley Vista to get over a hump.
The Monsoon lost the Mountain Ridge in region play each of the past two seasons, and will have the Mountain Lions as a road block to a 5-0 start.
Win this, and the young program that has never recorded more than four victories in a season can start dreaming big. Valley Vista’s next three games are with struggling Phoenix Alhambra, Tolleson and Kingman programs.
Mountain Ridge’s offense continued to scuffle in last week’s 21-7 loss to Mesa Mountain View. Junior tailback Tre Favors had his best game, picking up 113 yards on 17 carries, and scoring on a 24-yard pass play from quarterback Pono Ayers.
KELLIS (2-2) at IRONWOOD (3-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 6051 W. Sweetwater Ave., Glendale.
The winner of this first-ever game between these Peoria Unified schools will have a leg up in a Division II playoff chase.
The Eagles shook off a loss to Apollo by grinding past Phoenix Sunnyslope 35-3 last week. Ironwood bottled up the Vikings’ offense.
Kellis is coming off a 34-6 pummeling of Independence. Senior tailback Wayman Payne paced the offense with 151 yards on 24 carries. He has 588 yards and eight touchdowns through the first four games.
SHADOW RIDGE(1-3) at WICKENBURG (0-4)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 1090 S. Vulture Mine Road, Wickenburg.
After playing an undefeated Division I Valley Vista team, Shadow Ridge goes to the opposite end of the scale against a winless Division IV team.
Wickenburg is in the midst of a trying season and coming off a 57-21 loss to Division V power Yuma Catholic.
Shadow Ridge was overwhelmed on both sides of the ball by Valley Vista, but will not play a school that big or deep the rest of the fall.
DYSART(1-3) at FLAGSTAFF COCONINO (2-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 2801 N Isabel St., Flagstaff
Dysart unleashed all of its early-season frustrations on Glendale last week, as the Demons received dominant performances on both sides of the ball.
Senior tailback Elijah Manning rushed for 182 yards on 21 carries. Juniors Fernando Lugo and Fa'asauga Tinoisamoa returned interceptions for touchdowns.
Senior Cory Trufant excelled on both sides of the ball, leading the Demons with 10 tackles, sharing the lead in sacks (1.5) with Tinoisamoa, and adding a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Coconino has been up and down, losing to Lake Havasu City 36-15 last week, after a solid win against Kingman. The Panthers are paced both ways by senior Luke Daulton, who has rushed for 319 yards and recorded 5.5 sacks.
WESTWIND PREP(1-3) at #1 (DV) NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 16401 N 43rd Ave, Phoenix.
The Crusaders keep rolling along, piling up 388 rushing yards on only 19 carries in a 59-6 thrashing of Phoenix Cortez last week. Usual standout Casey Jahn (217 yards on 10 carries) was joined by junior Hunter McShanag (162 yards on six carries) in the assault.
Westwind shouldn't put up much more resistance than Cortez. Senior Tamoriea Anderson is a bright spot for the Warriors with 611 rushing yards.
JOY CHRISTIAN (4-0) at BAGDAD (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Friday at 515 Breezy Circle, Bagdad.
Three weeks after its first road test in Mayer, Joy Christian has another exam.
The Eagles continue to light up scoreboards, mostly with their passing game. In a 58-8 win at Orme, sophomore quarterback Nick Henderson and senior tight end Josh Wahlers hooked up on five completions for 120 yards and two touchdowns. The duo has eight touchdowns on the season.
Bagdad has been equally dominant thus far, with no opponent coming within 44 points of the Sultans. Sophomore James Loveall had five interceptions against Ash Fork last week, giving him 10 on the season.