The 2012 circle of (football) life has come ‘round again.
It’s now Week 7, and yet in Division I it feels like Week 1 revisited.
Why? Because Brophy’s second half performance against then-No. 1 Mountain Pointe on Friday night, coupled with Hamilton’s offense starting to roll in beating Chandler, makes this week feel as if it’s Hamilton and Brophy, followed by everyone else.
There are several qualifiers at play here.
First, Desert Vista, which rolled against Saguaro and faces Hamilton this week, is obviously in the mix, especially with a healthy Jarek Hilgers. Second, Mountain Pointe finally had one bad half of football, but the Pride already beat Hamilton and Chandler, and given this stretch of schedule the Pride just endured, a 3-1 record against elite competition, is, well, elite. Third, Desert Ridge temporarily punctured Red Mountain’s bubble, and once those game films start circulating amongst the schools ...
Fourth, no rational person should think either Chandler or Red Mountain won’t be heard from again. That’s ludicrous.
But here we are, feeling like Brophy actually has found its legs a bit after those three games in 10 days, and a somewhat return to health on defense and running the ball; feeling as if Hamilton’s offense, which actually bailed out the defense a few times in beating Chandler (to be fair the defense did its part against a potent Chandler offense). The Huskies found their footing and identity offensively, which only spawns itself into something more difficult for teams to handle come October and, of course, November.
Brophy has a good chance to run the table. Hamilton has to deal with Desert Vista and Basha upcoming. Everyone else, it seems, has to deal with at least two more rigorous matchups to conclude this rogue regular season.
Anyone who thought there would be an undefeated team in Division I this season should have put down the paint thinner weeks ago.
Then again, there is one “perfect” team still standing: Desert Mountain.
Sorry, Wolves. Your season turnaround from 2010 and 2011 is wonderful and Tony Tabor’s team has Highland and Pinnacle as its toughest games left to play.
Running the table is (gulp) a real possibility, and parity is great, but 2012 state title favorites?
This season isn’t that rogue.
Here’s the unavoidable “crash” from the Friday night sugar rush, mostly because it’s almost impossible to live up to the matchups we had in Week 6.
Realism, however, isn’t a bad thing. Nor is it to say there aren’t some solid showdowns in Week 7.
Hamilton will be the center of attention again as the Huskies host Desert Vista in a redux of last year’s Div. I state championship game, won by Desert Vista in a blowout. Hamilton has already gone on record as saying a win here does precious little to erase the nightmare from last November, and that a win in the playoffs or (obviously) state title is the only thing that would make the Huskies feel better about this matchup.
Of course, this might be another state title game preview.
The other big draw in the SE Valley is in Chandler, where a big clash is set between Desert Ridge and Basha. Can the Jaguars defense do to the Bears high-octane offense what it did to Red Mountain’s vaunted offense? Can the Bears defense the Desert Ridge running game? Or will the Jaguars throw a pass this week?
Suddenly, Mountain View at Red Mountain looks much more interesting than it did a month ago after Red Mountain was shut down by Desert Ridge on Friday, and Mountain View is now on a four-game winning streak. The Toros get another big test against what’s now a ticked off Red Mountain team.
Highland, too, has been hot of late and on the verge of cracking the rankings, and the Hawks may do just that if they can upend the last undefeated team in Div. I, Desert Mountain, in Scottsdale.
Brophy doesn’t get much of a break either after its big win against former No. 1 Mountain Pointe, as the Broncos travel to play a good Avondale Westview team. Skyline and Mesa will battle. Tempe heads to Campo Verde and Skyline collides with Mesa.
Mountain View: All we were saying was give Chad DeGrenier a chance. Suddenly the Toros are a team to be reckoned with after beating unbeaten Pinnacle. Nobody is claiming Mountain View has “arrived” or is going to the state semifinals, though perhaps a win against Red Mountain would change that notion, but the progression continues since the Toros put John Clark at quarterback and moved Chase Funk to various places around the field. It goes beyond that move, but it sure helped. The progression continues.
Desert Ridge: Say what you want about the Jaguars, and some of the grumbles about the program aren’t undeserved, but raise your hand if you though Desert Ridge — a team everyone knew it struggled throwing the ball at times — would hammer Red Mountain without having to throw a pass and holding the Lions (41.6 points per game entering Friday) to eight points. That’s a gutsy gameplan and great execution by the kids.
Pinnacle: The Pioneers kept waiting for the “respect” card to be played after an undefeated start to the season. Pinnacle knew it hadn’t played a difficult schedule, nor will it for most of this season, but the Pioneers were awful on special teams and couldn’t run the ball against a Mountain View team that’s approx. 30 pounds lighter up front than the Pioneers. Pinnacle’s defense wasn’t much better. A loss isn’t the end of the world, but it only gets tougher now with Desert Mountain and Brophy in the Pioneers’ near future, and the “no respect” card goes out the window.
Big-time matchups: There was plenty of interest, hard-hitting, talent, emotion (a little too much at the end of Chandler-Hamilton) and interest in Week 6’s super matchups. There was no drama, however. Brophy blitzed Mountain Pointe in the second half, Chandler trailed Hamilton by two possessions most of the night. Desert Ridge was never threatened by Red Mountain and Desert Vista ran roughshod on Saguaro. We learned a few things about these teams, but it turned into an “in-game separation” week. Drama couldn’t find a place to park.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.