A mini-reunion of sorts will take place Friday night when Gilbert hosts Mesquite on Friday night. That’s because Gilbert coach Leland Rodgers was Mesquite’s defensive coordinator last year.
No secret bag of tricks expected here as both teams know one another well, including players, coaches and mutual opponents seen on film.
Whichever teams executes and doesn’t commit turnovers will win its first game of the season, as both the Tigers and Wildcats are winless to start 2012.
Both teams have struggled offensively, especially Mesquite, which scored its first points of the season in the second quarter of last week’s 37-7 loss to Chandler.
Gilbert has struggled offensively as well, so which team will be the others’ antidote and get into the win column?
Snags at Seton
Seton Catholic’s road to the playoffs looked similar to last year, when the Sentinels rolled through the Div. IV regular season and into the semifinals. It won’t be the same this time, as Seton’s injury-plagued roster couldn’t quite complete a comeback against Tempe Prep in a Sentinel loss last week, and got more bad news this week with QB Ryan Bresnahan out at least four weeks with a broken hand. Backup David Desecki came in and did an admirable job in trying to rally the Sentinels, and while the offensive plans won’t change much with Desecki, but other injuries up front are also a hurdle. Plus, the Sentinels get a San Tan Foothills team that’s 3-0 and averages nearly eight yards per carry with RB Semone Brown. The defense has seven interceptions and four fumble recoveries in three games.
Lost amid the controversy of Tempe’s halftime forfeit against Saguaro last week is the team’s health moving forward. Star quarterback Emanuel Gant was one of four players hurt for the Buffaloes in that game. Tempe is still 2-1 despite the loss to the Sabercats and seems to be in the hunt for a playoff spot. A win over Coronado is essential. A couple of guys are likely out with injuries, but if Gant is healthy, Tempe will be favored. If he can’t play or is limited, it could be trouble.
Williams Field looks for revenge
The Black Hawks’ first loss of last season came to the Dorados, but Canyon del Oro has struggled to an 0-3 start this year having already played some of the top teams in Division II and III. Williams Field hasn’t set the world on fire as of yet, but is undefeated through three games. If the Black Hawks win this one, they have a good chance to start the season 8-0 before playing Poston Butte and Queen Creek to end the regular season.
Knights’ armor shining
That was Tempe Prep (Division V) knocking off Seton Catholic (Div. IV) last week, as the Knights (3-0) staked themselves to a big early lead, were aided by Seton injuries and held on late for the 24-21 win. Forest Redlin and Levi Hartzler made big plays running the ball late in the game against the Sentinels, and it was arguably the biggest regular season victory in Tempe Prep’s existence. Arizona Lutheran Academy (2-1) awaits, and the Knights must forget last week because ALA has more than 1,100 yards rushing in three games and pushed Phoenix Christian to the wire in Week 1 and won twice thereafter. The TP defense is good, especially inside the red zone, but ALA’s running game is going to test the Knights again.