A (new) Scottsdale showdown in Division I - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

A (new) Scottsdale showdown in Division I

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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:38 pm

We all know about the Chaparral-Desert Mountain and Chaparral-Saguaro rivalry matchups in Scottsdale, but another has wedged itself into the mix, at least for this year (and hopefully beyond).

Pinnacle and Horizon slug it out on Friday night at Pinnacle High School, a matchup of top-10 teams in Division I (based on various media rankings, and, more importantly, this week's power rankings).

This hasn't been much of a matchup recently, with Pinnacle (6-2) a cool 6-0 against Horizon all-time, but both teams haven't been this good at the same time in a long time (if ever).

Since both teams have offensive firepower - especially Horizon - and Pinnacle might be the best defensive matchup the Huskies will face so far this season, the difference here might be up front.

Some opposing coaches believe Horizon (7-1) could be a semifinalist in Division I with the right matchups. Others believe the offensive and defensive lines aren't big enough to hold up against bigger Division I schools.

Will Pinnacle offer a peak into which side has more merit? Perhaps. Even though the Pioneers aren't real big either defensively or on the offensive line (at least not quite as big as recent seasons), they are quick.

But so, too, is Marcos de Niza, and Horizon ran up and down the field even though it was a 56-53 loss in Week 1, the only blemish on Horizon's schedule.

Because of Horizon's spread-you-out, speed-of-light style on offense, Pinnacle would be wise to play ball control with Josh Hoekstra running the ball, and get real physical with Horizon both up front, and the Pioneers' defensive backs and secondary on Horizon's receivers.

The problem here, is Horizon can run the ball with Luke Quinn and spreads a defense out so much with 3-, 4- and 5-receiver sets (and Quinn is a huge threat catching the ball), most teams simply don't have the depth and talent to keep up defensively.

Pinnacle, too, can score points, which they'll need to and probably will. Brian Lewerke has among the quickest releases in the state. If healthy, which he hasn't been, Cules Rose is a speedster, and Daniel Galindo and Mason Hatton are good possession-type wideouts.

Dana Zupke's team upped its schedule a bit this season (a wise move) by playing Hamilton, Basha and Mountain View, among others, because Section V overall isn't strong outside Pinnacle and Horizon.

(By the way, the winner of this game probably wins the section title, and probably earns them a first-round home playoff game, and a Horizon loss puts them back in murkiness in hosting the first round).

But it's a chore keeping up with Horizon, and while the pick here was the Huskies in a shootout it could just as easily go Pinnacle's way as well by the same score (or more).

Beware the whiplash from watching the ball go back and forth  in a frenzy because a lot of point are going to be scored. Welcome to the new world of high school football.

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