Here are the top storylines lines heading into the eighth week of the season:
Clash of the ‘C' schools
Corona del Sol is licking its wounds a bit after last week's 37-6 thumping by Mountain Pointe. While the Aztecs (4-3) have fought through some injuries and improved greatly from a competitive standpoint in Tom Joseph's first year, a playoff proposition is dicey with Chandler on Friday night, followed by Mesquite and Hamilton to close out the season. Corona figures to need to win one of those three games to have a chance at the postseason. Chandler (5-2) has this game, Gilbert and Desert Vista to close the season, and while the postseason is easily within reach for the Wolves, the return of QB Darell Garretson (concussion) and WR Javon Williams (ankle) is atop the wish list. They might get the duo back this week.
Chandler Christian schools collide
One of these days, undefeated Seton (7-0) will have to play a close game, but outside of Week 1's 20-13 win against Fountain Hills, it's been pretty smooth sailing for Rex Bowser's team. The offense with Ryan Bresnahan and Adam Engelbert has been nearly unstoppable combination in Division IV, so struggling Valley Christian (Div. V) will have its hands full. With Tempe and Bourgade Catholic left on the schedule, the Sentinels can run the table if they avoid the taking-too-lightly opponent trap.
Red Mountain is rolling
Red Mountain has won four consecutive games, including three straight impressive performances against Gilbert, Desert Ridge and Mountain View, to jump back into the title mix. The Mountain Lions have a top-5 defense in Division I and an offense that is beginning to find its way. Star running back Marcus Brantley has been slowed by a back injury the last two weeks, but with a game against Westwood on Friday, he shouldn't be needed.
Crunch-time for Gilbert
Gilbert has been a thorn in the side of opponents, playing competitively against Basha and Marcos de Niza and defeating Mesquite so far this year. But the Tigers' schedule has been so brutal that they are only 3-4. Gilbert is currently sitting No. 18 in the power point rankings, so winning two out of three games to finish the season is a must, and sweeping the final three would let it breathe easier. First up is Skyline on Friday in a must-win, because the Tigers finish with Chandler and Dobson, a pair of teams that will give Gilbert a game.
Desert Ridge quarterback Parker Rasmussen separated his shoulder against Basha last week, and he won't start against Mesa on Friday, although he will be an option if needed. Jordan Becerra will instead get the nod. At Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, quarterback Bryce Kinsler will also begin the game on the bench because of an injured thumb and some sickness that has forced him to miss two days of practice this week. R.J. Anderson will start at quarterback, although Kinsler could see some time. Basha quarterback Kyle Duran hurt his ankle and knee against Desert Ridge, but the injury was not thought to be serious.