The Campo Verde football team’s defense is only allowing 11 points per game, which is fifth-best in Division III. Tempe, meanwhile averages 37.8 points per contest behind the superb play of quarterback Emanuel Gant (93-of-128 for 1,521 yards, 13 TD, 6 INT).
It’s a clash of styles, and the unit that can impose its will in this aspect of the game should have a leg up. The Buffaloes are 5-1 on the season and a win would push them closer to capturing a home game in the first round of the playoffs, which would be quite the achievement after going a combined 1-19 the past two years.
Campo Verde has won two in a row and hasn’t lost a game by more than 10 points this season as it attempts to reach the postseason for a second straight year.
Can Campo Verde stop the Tempe offense? Can Tempe keep Campo Verde from running the ball all night and away from the Tempe offense?
All signs are pointing to a competitive contest.
Mesa matchup: While the big matchup between two Mesa schools is a bit further east (Mountain View at Red Mountain), the other two big Mesa schools will tangle as host-Mesa High and Skyline will tussle in what should be a pretty physical matchup. The Jackrabbits are trying to win consecutive games for the first time in exactly a year, dating back to Week 6 and 7 of 2011, coincidentally vs. Westwood and Skyline. The Coyotes are trying to stop a two-game skid having fallen to Desert Ridge and Highland, respectively. Defensive-minded and physical, yes, so don’t expect the scoreboard to ignite from overuse.
Chaparral at Mesquite: Chaparral vaulted itself into the playoff discussions again with a crazy comeback win against hard-luck Notre Dame last week. Feeling the need for a jolt despite the solid play of QB Brad Schencker, the Firebirds brought sophomore Sean Paul Brophy off the bench (he was the team’s starter entering Week 1). The Firebirds marched down the field, converted fourth downs stopped Notre Dame quickly, scored again and then kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired for the big win. Mesquite is trying to salvage its season, but one with Chaparral followed by Desert Vista to begin October. If Matt Gracey’s team can hang its head high regardless, the Wildcats’ schedule offers a chance to close October on a higher note.
Mountain Pointe at Corona del Sol: Not that long ago these two nearby schools were Central Region opponents, but the two schools have gone in opposite directions the past four years. Mountain Pointe went from doormat to state title contender in three years under Norris Vaughan, while Corona del Sol has gone from perennial playoff team to a team struggling with sheer numbers while coach Tom Joseph tries to instill a radically different way of life in his the second year at Corona, which is about to begin a most unsympathetic final 25 percent of its schedule (Mountain Pointe, Chandler, Mesquite, Hamilton).