Football preview capsules for Oct. 9-10 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Football preview capsules for Oct. 9-10

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Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2009 6:26 pm | Updated: 1:09 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Basha (4-1, 1-0) at Highland (2-3, 0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4301 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert

Key matchup: Highland defense contending with primary passing game of Basha. Basha quarterback Mike Benjamin is consistently netting 200 yards per game through the air.

Key stat: Highland ran just 29 plays from scrimmage last week.

The intrigue: Season isn’t lost yet for Highland, but Hawks need to develop some consistency — and in a hurry — vs. Bears this week and Mountain View next week.

Desert Vista (2-3, 0-1) at Mesa (4-2, 0-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa

Key matchup: Mesa’s offense is multi-faceted depending on whether Dallin Parker or Kyler Fackrell is at quarterback. Aside from a couple interceptions, most of the Jackrabbits’ success on offense has been with Parker at quarterback and Fackrell at receiver, with Jaymen Green and Devontae Kellybrew as multi-dimensional weapons. The D.V. defense must keep off the field to avoid fatigue.

Key stat: Desert Vista’s Anders Battle has five plays from scrimmage of at least 42 yards this season.

The intrigue: This is a huge game for both teams’ shot at the postseason. Mesa needs this game because the Jackrabbits have Phoenix Brophy and Chandler Hamilton still coming on its region schedule, plus a winnable game against Phoenix Maryvale. The Thunder need this game because they face got the Chandler, Brophy and Mesa Red Mountain gauntlet to end the season.

Salpointe (5-0, 1-0) at Hamilton (5-0, 2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3700 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler

Key matchup: Kameron Abt and Josh Sene lead an active Lancers’ front seven and they’ll need to be everywhere if they want to have a chance at slowing the Huskies’ big offensive line and rushing attack of Zach Bauman and Michael Allen.

Key stat: The Lancers have committed three turnovers this season.

The intrigue: Hamilton should have an advantage physically and is coming off an eye-opener against Chandler, but the Huskies also showed some flaws which need fixing before Brophy comes in two weeks.

Gilbert (1-4, 1-1) at Corona del Sol (1-4, 0-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1001 E. Knox Road, Tempe

Key matchup: The passing game. Gilbert’s Brandon Bialkowski-Jesse Brantley vs. Corona’s Chase Cartwright-Billy Johnson. Both teams’ offenses are getting most of the big plays from those duos.

Key stat: Corona allowed 203 points last year in 12 games. Aztecs have surrendered 152 in five games this season.

The intrigue: These teams both made the playoffs last year but now have just a flicker of hope left for the postseason. The flame goes out for loser in this one.

St. Mary’s (2-4) at Desert Mountain (4-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 12575 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale

Key matchup: The Wolves have a size advantage on St. Mary’s, especially on both lines, but the Knights have R.J. McGill, easily the most explosive single threat the Wolves have defended to this point.

Key stat: Desert Mountain’s Kevin Radcliffe has rushed for at least 100 yards in the three games since switching from quarterback to running back/safety.

The intrigue: It’s the start of Desert Valley Region play for both teams. Wolves QB Drew Seaman suffered an injured left (non-throwing) shoulder two weeks ago against Gilbert Highland. The Wolves kept him out of last week’s San Luis blowout, but breaths will be held when he needs to make 25 throws in a game or takes his next hit.

Pinnacle (5-0) at North Canyon (3-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1700 E. Union Hills Dr., Phoenix

Key matchup: Defense has been Pinnacle’s crutch more often than not thus far, and the Pioneers will need to slow down QB Dominic Portocarrero, who’s already thrown for 1,300 yards, rushed for 270 and tossed 14 TDs to only two interceptions.

Key stat: North Canyon averages more than 200 yards rushing and passing per game.

The intrigue: Pinnacle might be the quietest undefeated team in the East Valley, but we’ll find out how good its defense is against perhaps the strongest offense to date. How good is North Canyon? The Rattlers beat up three Yuma schools, lost close calls to Tempe Corona del Sol and lost a halftime lead to Tucson Sunnyside.

Casa Grande (0-6, 0-3) at Westwood (3-3, 1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 945 W. 8th St., Mesa

Key matchup: Westwood’s offense vs. Casa Grande D. Warriors have been stymied by tough defenses of Mesa and Marcos de Niza. The Casa Grande defense is not on the level of those.

Key stat: Casa Grande’s opponents sport a combined record of 25-9.

The intrigue: A trip to the postseason didn’t look bright on paper for Westwood back in August. A win in this one puts the Warriors solidly in the thick of the chase.

Desert Ridge (3-3, 1-1) at Skyline (2-4, 0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 845 S. Crismon Road, Mesa

Key matchup: Desert Ridge is flourishing with its passing game again. Skyline defense must make Jaguars grind out yardage and win the turnover battle to make a game of it.

Key stat: Teams have split four meetings in the Battle of Crismon Road.

The intrigue: Will someone other than Michael Bailey contribute in a big way offensively for Skyline? They’ll need it to try and match Desert Ridge’s firepower.

Perry (4-2, 1-1) at Marcos de Niza (6-0, 2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6000 S. Lakeshore Dr., Tempe

Key matchup: Perry is not an explosive team offensively so keeping the game low-scoring is in Pumas’ best interest. Marcos has struggled moving the chains of late, but big plays and defense have kept Padres unbeaten.

Key stat: Perry has beaten four teams with losing records and lost to two with winning records.

The intrigue: Second week in a row Perry has faced a top-five team in 5A-II. How will Pumas respond?

Cactus Shadows (5-0, 0-0) at Apache Junction (5-1, 0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2525 S. Ironwood, Apache Junction

Key matchup: Apache Junction’s running game against the Cactus Shadows defense. In each of its close games, the Falcons’ defense has given up points. The Prospectors must control the game with Nate Scola running and keep the ball out of the Falcons’ hands.

Key stat: Cactus Shadows scored 35 points in the first quarter last week against Flagstaff Sinagua, while Apache Junction allowed 14 first-quarter points in its come-from-behind win over Phoenix Greenway.

The intrigue: This is the Desert Sky Region opener for both teams. The winner of this game will likely find themselves with a very high seed heading into the playoffs, while the loser will have some work to do to remain in the top 8. Cactus Shadows has played three nail-biters, while in its last two games, Apache Junction has lost one and had to come back from a 28-14 deficit to win. This will be a contrast in styles, with Apache Junction hoping to grind it out on the ground and Cactus Shadows looking to air it out.

McClintock (3-2, 0-0) at Queen Creek (3-2, 0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 22149 E. Ocotillo Rd., Queen Creek

Key matchup: Queen Creek’s Brian Augustin caught 10 passes for 163 yards last week in a loss to Glendale Cactus, while McClintock gave up less than that many yards in a loss to Peoria. Augustin is the Bulldogs’ big-play receiver and if the Chargers can slow him down, they’ll improve their chances.

Key stat: McClintock quarterback Brent Davis had a rough week, throwing four interceptions as the Chargers saw a 17-9 halftime lead melt away in the second half against Peoria. It may be a cliché, but whoever doesn’t turnover the ball will likely be the winner.

The intrigue: Neither team can afford to be 3-3 heading into a home stretch that includes games against the rest of the Desert Sky Region (Apache Junction, Saguaro and Cactus Sahdows). The goal is to get to five wins and get into the playoffs, so a victory here will put someone in good position to make the postseason.

Saguaro (4-1) at Moon Valley (2-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3625 W Cactus Rd., Phoenix

Key matchup: Saguaro’s running game against the Moon Valley defense. Saguaro’s offense was shut down completely by Tucson Canyon del Oro last week and nothing would make the Sabercats feel better than running the ball well against the Rockets, who give up an average of 35 points a game. Saguaro needs to get Bobby McGinty and D.J. Foster back on track as the region schedule gets started next week.

Key stat: Moon Valley is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry so far this season, while Saguaro has given up 282 and 354 rushing yards the last two weeks. Saguaro will need to shore up its rush defense.

The intrigue: How well can this young Sabercats team recover from losing its first game in 38 tries? If they use last week’s 44-0 demolition at Canyon del Oro as motivation, look out for a big night.

Northwest Christian (5-0, 2-0) at Valley Christian (5-0, 2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6900 W. Galveston St., Chandler

Key matchup: Even with a week off last week, Valley Christian’s secondary will have its hands full in dealing with Northwest Christian’s spread-it-out offense. NWC QB Nathan La Barbera has multiple receiving weapons, but the Crusaders can also hit you with Casey Jahn (760 yards) and the running game.

Key stat: V.C. outscored NW Christian 106-44 in two meetings last season.

The intrigue: This is a huge 2A Central showdown in which the winner gets a big leg up coming down the stretch. NW Christian will face Scottsdale Christian to end the regular season, but a Trojans’ win means they will have cleared their two biggest obstacles toward an undefeated regular season.

Tempe (1-4) at Seton Catholic (1-4)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa (Mesa Community College)

Key matchup: Tempe will be tested more in the air in this game than it has all season. The Buffaloes did a good job against Notre Dame’s passing game last week, and will have to put up the same type of effort against the Sentinels.

Key stat: 25 -- which is Chandler Seton’s current power points standing. The Sentinels fancy themselves a playoff team, but a turnaround needs to happen soon because only the top 16 teams get in.

The intrigue: The loser of this game can almost kiss the postseason goodbye already. The winner will still have some work to do, but it’s a move in the right direction.

Arcadia (3-2) at Maricopa (2-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 45012 W Honeycutt Ave, Maricopa

Key matchup: Can the Rams slow down Colby Kirkegaard? Arcadia’s quarterback has 13 touchdowns this season and can beat you through the air or with his legs.

Key stat: The teams have played two common opponents. Maricopa is 0-2 against Higley and Coronado, losing by a combined score of 78-20. Arcadia is 2-0, winning by a combined score of 90-7.

The intrigue: The key stat says it all. Expect Arcadia to cruise.

Greenway (3-2) at Paradise Valley (2-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3950 E Bell Rd, Phoenix

Key matchup: Greenway quarterback Zander McKean threw for 394 yards last week against Apache Junction. The Paradise Valley secondary has had trouble defending the pass this year and must do a better job to slow down the Demons.

Key stat: Paradise Valley is 0-3 after running back/linebacker/kicker Jake Brown went down with a sprained ankle in the first quarter against Notre Dame.

The intrigue: This looked to be a heavyweight battle before the season started, but both teams have had some trouble early in the year. Still, the team that wins this game will have a leg up in the race for the region crown.

Higley (1-4) at Coronado (3-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2501 N 74th St, Scottsdale

Key matchup: Both teams will run the ball the majority of the time. That team that does it better will have the upper hand.

Key stat: 4. The Knights haven’t lost more than four games in each of the past three seasons, but that streak could end here.

The intrigue: Coronado is 2-1 in region and trying to stay in the race for the East Sky crown. Higley’s tough schedule still gives it a decent shot at making the postseason, but the Knights need to start winning for that to become reality.

Fountain Hills (4-2) at Payson (2-4)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 514 W Wade Ln, Payson

Key matchup: The Payson offense is having trouble moving the ball, and the Fountain Hills defense has been playing well recently. The Longhorns must find some offense to stay with the Falcons.

Key stat: The Falcons have won four straight games after an 0-2 start to jump back into the state title mix.

The intrigue: Payson went undefeated and won the 3A title last year, but has since fallen on hard teams. The Longhorns are having trouble putting up points, and Fountain Hills wants to keep that trend going.

Thatcher (2-4) at Tempe Prep (3-2)

Time: 6 p.m. (Saturday)

Address: 6900 W. Galveston St., Chandler (Valley Christian HS)

Key matchup: The Knights’ defense has held strong in games not involving the Christian schools (we’ll find out more when they play Valley Christian next week) but Thatcher has gotten hot offensively the past couple weeks. Tempe Prep has the athletes to make an early lead hold up defensively if they can forge one.

Key stat: After averaging six points per game through the first four games, Thatcher is averaging 33 points in the past two games.

The intrigue: Tempe Prep is coming off a tough loss to Scottsdale Christian, so can the Knights regroup mentally for this non-region affair? Neither team knows much about the other.

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