The Gilbert district schools have had its moments this season, notably Desert Ridge and Highland’s early season successes.
That could crash on Friday night.
Gilbert has to play red-hot Red Mountain, with the Lions boasting one of the most prolific offenses to date in the Valley behind a Player of the Year candidate in quarterback Mason Thorman and Drake Pierre at receiver. The Lions’ physical defense is going to make things difficult on the Tigers.
Nearby, Mesquite welcomes Hamilton, which found its footing last week in walloping Desert Ridge. The Huskies found a running game, passing game and didn’t turn the ball over last week, and the Wildcats are going to have a difficult night moving the ball on Hamilton’s defense.
In what could be the best of the bunch, Highland travels to Basha to play the athletic, surging Bears who are steamed after losing last week to Chandler. Basha’s offense is prolific (when the Bears don’t turn the ball over) and the Hawks will need to play keep-away to run the clock and shorten Basha’s number of possessions.
Here are some other top storylines to follow in Week 5:
The Mountain View offense has reached another level since John Clark was inserted at quarterback, punctuated by an impressive 53-14 win over Mountain Ridge last week when he threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns. The Toros face a Westwood team on Friday which has struggled after a season-opening win over Dobson. Mountain View faces Pinnacle, Red Mountain, Highland and Mountain Pointe in the four weeks following this game, so it’s time to fine-tune any areas of concern and prepare for the stretch run.
Opinions ranged far and wide on Saguaro following its much-publicized game with Tempe two weeks ago, when the Buffaloes forfeited and claimed the Sabercats intentionally hurt their players. Saguaro won that game easily and routed Fountain Hills last week. Friday’s game is against Cactus and will be a rematch of last year’s Division III title game, which the Sabercats rallied to win. Saguaro’s offense has been clicking on all cylinders since the return of star receiver Christian Kirk, and the Sabercats can regain their status as title favorites with a win over the Cobras.
Kings of Crismon
The rivalry between Desert Ridge and Skyline has been one-sided for the past few years as the Jaguars have moved up among the elite while the Coyotes have struggled. Both teams are 3-1 this year, but it seems to be more of the same. Desert Ridge’s lone loss came last week to Hamilton, while Skyline was beaten by Mountain View, 42-0. The Jaguars have some issues to iron out and some players they need to get back for the stretch run, but those are problems that can be overcome against a rebuilding Skyline program.
A couple undefeateds meet in North Scottsdale on Friday when Horizon heads to Pinnacle. The Huskies are 4-0 to (re-)start the Doug Shaffer era after he returned as varsity coach in replacing Steve Casey. The Huskies have relied on the Quinn brothers (Charlie and Victor) out of the backfield to amass 276 yards rushing per game thus far, but the Huskies haven’t played a team of Pinnacle’s caliber. Similarly, the Pioneers (4-0) have run for 332 yards per game and another 173 through the air, an offense led by Josh Hoekstra, Michael Sanders at quarterback and Evan Tompkins. but their competition hasn’t been stellar either. Pinnacle is big up front and a bit more athletic than the 2011 team which beat Horizon 49-28, but the Pioneers have also suffered special teams lapses and mental mistakes more than once per game thus far.