The setup to this week’s Perry vs. Basha clash looks eerily similar to last year.
Back then, the Bears were sizable favorites despite coming off a blowout loss to Desert Ridge, while the Pumas were solid in the earlygoing but not spectacular. Perry went in as underdogs but left as victors with a 56-38 upset, sparked by the standout play of quarterback Josh Uhlorn.
The Pumas have the same 5-2 record as last season, but don’t seem to have the all-around star that it did with Uhlorn.
The Pumas have had success running the ball during this four-game winning streak, but Preston Jones was quick to note the five turnovers his team has committed in the past two weeks (both victories). Basha still has questions defensively, but the offense might be better with wide receiver Nate Phillips, quarterback Zach Werlinger and running back Rajhan Meriwether. Jones said this week that all three of those kids are better than a year ago, and that Werlinger might be even better than his predecessor, Kyle Duran.
If the Bears turn the ball over too much like it has done in key games this season, there could be another upset in the making, but Basha’s firepower could ultimately be the difference-maker.
Could Coyotes howl in November?
Skyline is coming off a 27-24 overtime victory against Mesa, and after beating Dobson earlier this season, it’s second and third time, respectively, that Skyline has beaten a fellow Mesa district school in its history. The Coyotes’ four wins are against Carl Hayden (3-4), Kingman (3-4), Mesa (2-5) and Dobson (1-6), while all three of their losses weren’t competitive. Yet they’re No. 20 in this week’s power rankings, which is why this week’s matchup with Gilbert is huge. The Tigers (1-6) have struggled this season, and if Skyline wins Friday night and in Week 10 against Trevor Browne (with a tough matchup vs. Red Mountain next week), the Coyotes would finish 6-4 and have a chance. A loss here and a 5-5 season looks more likely, and a playoff spot much less likely.
Christian schools clash
The annual Catholic school showdown and one of the longest continuous rivalries in state resumes at Phoenix College on Friday. The rivalry renewal was up in the air during the creation of the current two-year scheduling block, but both teams decided to continue playing after some tumultuous moments before the 2011 season. The Broncos blew out the Knights last year, 63-0, but the Knights can put up points Close game or not, the stands will be packed.
Despite an impressive 5-2 record, Tempe sits on the playoff bubble at No. 15 in the latest power rankings. It plays Arcadia, Seton Catholic and Maricopa to end the year, and a 7-3 record will probably be required to make the postseason. The Titans are up first, a semifinal team from a year ago but one that has struggled this season. Arcadia has given up 25 points or more in five of its seven games this season, which is music to the ears of Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant and the team’s potent offense. The Buffaloes can inch closer to securing a playoff bid with a win in this one.