Football preview capsules 9/4 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Football preview capsules 9/4

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Posted: Friday, September 4, 2009 2:34 pm | Updated: 12:27 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Dobson (0-1) at Mesa (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa

Key matchup: Led by Devontae Kellybrew (37 yards, two TD) and Jaymen Green (101 yards), Mesa averaged a workman-like 5.0 yards per carry on offense last week, which made quarterback Kyler Fackrell’s night efficient. Will Dobson fare better this week at containing Kellybrew and Green than it was against Mountain Pointe?

Key stat: Dobson committed four turnovers in a week one loss vs. Mountain Pointe.

The intrigue: Mesa surprised many with its defensive prowess against an athletic Laveen Cesar Chavez team and overcame the emotion of Jim Rattay’s return to Mesa last week. Dobson got blown out and needs to right itself quickly, while the Jackrabbits need all the wins they can get before region play.

Mountain Ridge (0-0) at Mountain View (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2700 E. Brown Road, Mesa

Key matchup: Mountain View’s revamped defense faces rookie quarterback(s) for Mountain Ridge. The Toros will be facing the spread instituted for the Mountain Lions.

Key stat: Mountain Ridge won only meeting ever between the schools in quarterfinals of 2004 and went on to face Hamilton in the title game.

The intrigue: Who plays best out of the gate -- green Mountain Ridge offense or green Mountain View defense?

Brophy (1-0) at Gilbert (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1101 E. Elliot Road, Gilbert

Key matchup: Brophy running game, led by Max Leonesio, tries to outshine Gilbert passing attack led by senior quarterback Brandon Bialkowski. The Broncos want to eat up yardage and clock to keep Gilbert’s offense off the field.

Key stat: The schools have met once in their long histories, a playoff game in 2006 won by Brophy, 34-6.

The intrigue: It’s a great gauge for Brophy’s young and revamped defense in a tough environment against a potent passing attack with the likes of Centennial and Chandler games ahead. It’s also a great season-opener gauge for the Tigers under new coach Dan Dunn.

Centennial (1-0) at Chandler (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 350 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler

Key matchup: It’s all about Chandler’s front seven. If Centennial’s mammoth offensive line gives running back Anthony Hughes a hole and quarterback Dain McFarland time, they’ll pick the Wolves apart. So speed and smarts must triumph for Chandler.

Key stat: The Wolves committed 18 penalties for 180 yards in last week’s opener.

The intrigue: Three-time defending 5A-II champion Centennial was off last week after beating up McQueen (Nevada), while Chandler fancies itself a state title contender in 5A-I. But the Coyotes are a different animal, so if Chandler can win (or at least keep up) then they’ll know they can compete with the best across 5A.

Hamilton (1-0) at Westview (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 10850 W. Garden Lakes Pkwy., Avondale

Key matchup: Without injured quarterback Jourdon Grandon this week, the Knights become more one dimensional, relying on a stable of running backs. The Huskies, in turn, are likely to crowd the line of scrimmage and make backup Anthony Farier beat them through the air.

Key stat: Westview rushed for 427 yards against Willow Canyon last week.

The intrigue: Westview is a top 5A-II team but without Grandon — who’s expected back next week — it loses just a touch of its luster. This game and against Glendale Mountain Ridge in two weeks are Hamilton’s big tests before the Fiesta Region schedule begins.

Casa Grande (0-1) at Basha (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 5990 S. Val Vista Dr., Chandler

Key matchup: Basha’s front line, anchored by Justin Gardner, Cody Roberts and John Dillon, will try and spring running back Lucas Guevara early and often against the pass-happy Cougars.

Key stat: Basha has won its season opener each of its five years as an independent or 5A-I school.

The intrigue: Basha never could locate a preseason scrimmage partner so they are loaded for bear to face someone other than themselves.

Highland (0-0) at Mountain Pointe (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4201 E. Knox Road, Phoenix

Key matchup: Mountain Pointe’s rushing prowess should provide a compelling test for a green Highland defense in the first game of the year for the Hawks. Stopping Davon Jones and DeAndre Currie won’t be easy for most teams.

Key stat: Jones-Currie combo rushed for 365 yards and six touchdowns last week vs. Dobson.

The intrigue: First-year Pride coach Norris Vaughan has matched wits with Highland coach Pete Wahlheim before. That was in 2006 when Wahlheim coached at Seton and Vaughan piloted Wickenburg in the 3A semifinals. Vaughan leads series, 1-0, with Wickenburg winning that game, 28-23.

Boulder Creek (0-0) at Chaparral (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave., Scottsdale

Key matchup: Chaparral’s Dwayne Garrett, Cole Tyree and Dayne Kamela will be running and blocking behind a large offensive line. Can a smaller Boulder Creek defensive line keep itself from being mauled off the ball?

Key stat: The Firebirds average 240 pounds at the line of scrimmage on offense.

The intrigue: It’s Chaparral’s debut at 5A-II after a dozen years of being a 4A-I contender. Boulder Creek won the 5A-II Northwest Region title last year and reached the state quarterfinals. They have an athletic backfield with quarterback Kody Zellmer plus running backs Mike Contreras and Phillip Bayus. Chaparral’s size up front, however, could be the biggest difference.

Mesquite (0-1) at Desert Mountain (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 12575 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale

Key matchup: With its running game still shaking itself out, the Wolves will need quarterback Kevin Radcliffe to make an impact. The Wildcats held Desert Ridge to fewer than three yards per carry.

Key stat: Three kicks were blocked between Mesquite and Desert Ridge last week.

The intrigue: How does Mesquite react to losing an early lead, then winning a wild one against Mesa Desert Ridge last week? Given the Wildcats injuries last year, it’s a good sign in what was a sloppy night. Desert Mountain’s season of expectations begins and 5A-I Mesquite is a good first lesson.

Yuma (1-0) at Horizon (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 5601 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale

Key matchup: Horizon’s first order of business is to get its running game into gear, something that has been nonexistent the past two seasons. Despite losing, Lake Havasu ran for 452 yards against Yuma’s defense last week.

Key stat: Yuma’s J.C. Baker had 11 carries for 237 yards and seven total touchdowns last week.

The intrigue: Horizon should get past Yuma handily to begin what should be a relatively easy march to 4-0 before the fun really begins in the Desert Valley Region.

Sandra Day O’Connor (0-0) at St. Mary’s (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1202 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix (Phoenix College)

Key matchup: R.J. McGill was a bright spot for the Knights through most of last year, and Week 1 against Hamilton. He’s going to be a feature spot all season for the Knights, and O’Connor has athleticism but doesn’t have much size.

Key stat: McGill’s 80-yard run against the Huskies was the longest play from scrimmage allowed by Hamilton in five years.

The intrigue: In some ways, it’s a huge game for St. Mary’s, which needs to win because of last week and because Phoenix Brophy is coming Week 3. More importantly is how the young Knights respond mentally/emotionally to getting blown out last week. No reason to think St. Mary’s will have a problem with attitude or effort, but with teenagers you never know. O’Connor moves up from 4A-I to 5A-II and that’s not likely to be a smooth transition.

Perry (1-0) at Kofa (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 3100 S. Avenue A, Yuma

Key matchup: Kofa unleased a pair of 100-yard backs last week in its win. Perry's defense was tested via the air last week in a win over Casa Grande. Now they must defend the run.

Key stat: Perry came up with four turnovers and three interceptions in helping neutralize Casa Grande’s passing attack.

The intrigue: Who’d have thought the Pumas and Kings would be playing to be unbeaten after two games. Kofa beat Yuma Catholic in its opener for the first time in three meetings. Perry won its 5A debut.

Gila Ridge (0-0) at Westwood (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 945 W. 8th St., Mesa

Key matchup: Westwood’s offense showed a little something in making Red Mountain earn its win last week. The young Warriors should dominate struggling Gila Ridge on both sides of the ball.

Key stat: This is Gila Ridge’s first real varsity game. The Hawks were 4-7 last year playing an independent schedule. Westwood quarterback Juan Zazueta had more than 100 yards rushing and 150 passing last week.

The intrigue: Westwood looked better than OK against one of the better programs in 5A-I in its opener. Will the Warriors maintain the intensity against Gila Ridge, which is playing its first real varsity game after going 4-7 in an independent slate last year?

Skyline (0-1) at Ironwood Ridge (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 22475 W. Naranja, Dr., Tucson

Key matchup: Skyline’s offense, which graduated more than 2,000 rushing yards, looks for more production than last week against another tough foe. Ironwood Ridge reached the 5A-II semis last year and played eventual champ Peoria Centennial tough for a half.

Key stat: Skyline managed just 58 yards rushing last week, averging less than three yards per rush.

The intrigue: Skyline has moved up from 5A-II to 5A-I, but can the Coyotes hang with a 5A-II final four team from 2008?

Central (1-0) at Desert Ridge (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 10045 E. Madero Ave., Mesa

Key matchup: Desert Ridge quarterbacks Kevin Pantastico and Ryan McCann were an efficient duo last week and a new corps of receivers appeared ready and able to keep a good attack on track. Should prove too much for overmatched Central.

Key stat: Desert Ridge passed for 322 yards completed 68 percent of its passes.

The intrigue: Don’t think there will be much. Desert Ridge, like many East Valley schools, owns Metro Region opponents. Jaguars are 4-0 in brief history vs. Metro.

LaJoya (0-0) at Marcos de Niza (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6000 S. Lakeshore Drive, Tempe

Key matchup: Marcos de Niza can likely pick what it wants to do offensively, but it behooves LaJoya to at least slow the running game of the Padres for the Lobos to have a chance.

Key stat: Marcos totaled 417 yards of offense and averaged 13 yards per rush last week.

The intrigue: LaJoya was a 5A-II playoff team in 2008, but was crushed by at least three TDs in all of its losses: Centennial, Westview and Skyline.

Coconino (1-0) at Arcadia (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 4703 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix

Key matchup: Arcadia should focus on stopping the run defensively after Coconino rushed for 399 yards and passed for 15 last week.

Key stat: Coconino has matched its win total from 2008 with a season-opening win over Verrado.

The intrigue: This is a tune-up game for the Titans, who face off with No. 1 Paradise Valley next Friday. The defense has a lot of newcomers, so this is a time for them to jell.

Coronado (0-0) at Cactus (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6330 W Greenway Rd., Glendale

Key matchup: Coronado has six returning starters on a defense that expects to be stout. Larry Fetkenhier’s Cactus clubs always find ways to score.

Key stat: 19-6. The combined record last year of these squads. Cactus made the 4A-I quarterfinals and Coronado was in the 4A-II semifinals.

The intrigue: This is a battle between two teams that lost their star running backs, and two teams that expect to be in the thick of the state title chase.

Notre Dame (0-0) at Shadow Mountain (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2902 E Shea Blvd, Phoenix

Key matchup: The battle of inexperience. When Shadow Mountain has the ball, it will start a new quarterback, running back and offensive line against a Notre Dame defense with nine new faces,

Key stat: 6-5, 217. Notre Dame quarterback Will King was beaten out for the starting spot last year, but with those height and weight measurables, he has the frame to become an elite signal caller.

The intrigue: Notre Dame is the two-time defending 4A-II champ, but has a lot of questions after getting gutted by graduation. This game should provide some answers.

Amphitheater (0-0) at Seton (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 1150 N Dobson Rd. , Chandler

Key matchup: Amphitheater didn’t allow a point last week. Seton scored 28 points or more seven times last year. A clash of styles to be sure.

Key stat: 310. The number of wins for Amphitheater coach Vern Friedli after last week’s 21-0 defeat of Marana, leaving him alone in first place on the state of Arizona’s all-time list.

The intrigue: Seton has the firepower returning to be a player in 4A-II. Amphitheater is a solid program and will be a tough first test for the Sentinels.

Dysart (1-0) at Williams Field (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 2076 S Higley Rd, Gilbert

Key matchup: Dysart’s James Hubbard vs. the Williams Field secondary. Hubbard has thrown for 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons while Williams Field has yet to play a varsity game. Will the experience gap make a difference?

Key stat: Dysart is 6-6 in its past 12 games after finishing a combined 2-38 from 2004-2007.

The intrigue: It is the first real varsity game for Williams Field. If the Black Hawks are to be taken seriously in the East Sky, this is a game they must win.

Cactus Shadows (0-0) at Vail Cienega (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 12775 E Mary Anne Cleveland Way, Vail

Key matchup: Cactus Shadows’ defense against Cienega tailback Willie Willis. The Bobcats’ star back broke loose in the second half in Cienega’s opening win over Sierra Vista Buena. The Falcons are going to have to control the line of scrimmage and not give Willis any room to run.

Key stat: Cactus Shadows quarterback Dillon Classen returns after a 1,725-yard, 12-touchdown season. It’ll be important for Classen to limit his turnovers (he had 10 interceptions last year) in order for the Falcons to stay in the game.

The intrigue: Cienega is a popular pick to go deep in the playoffs this year, while the Falcons are just trying to reach the 4A-I playoffs for the first time. How close this game is will go a long way in determining if both teams have realistic goals.

Copper Canyon (0-0) at Saguaro (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6250 N 82nd St., Scottsdale

Key matchup: Newcomer Kyle Faunce is making his first start at quarterback for the Sabercats against a Copper Canyon team that didn’t fare well last year (1-9), but returns a host of players.

Key stat: After graduating 25 seniors that were a part of a 41-1 roll over the last three years, Saguaro has just nine seniors on its roster and just two of those are returning starters.

The intrigue: The Sabercats have won 33 straight games and that streak rests in the hands of a bunch of newcomers. How quickly they get up to varsity speed will determine just how long the streak will continue.

McClintock (0-0) at Sunrise Mountain (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 21200 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria

Key matchup: McClintock’s offensive line against the Sunrise Mountain defense. Chargers coach Mike Gibbons wants to run a ball-control offense, grinding out yards on the ground behind a bevy of five different running backs. But, those backs can’t be successful without the line doing its job.

Key stat: Sunrise Mountain moved down from 5A-II this year and brought 14 returning starters with it, but that didn’t help in a 28-7 loss to Surprise Liberty in the opener. McClintock has 32 seniors, so this will be a contest of experienced teams.

The intrigue: McClintock has its sight set on improving on a 5-6 year last season and this game will go a long way toward setting the tone of the season. If Gibbons’ grind-it-out game plan doesn’t work, the season could be derailed early.

Apache Junction (1-0) at Tempe (0-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 500 West Guadalupe Road, Tempe

Key matchup: The Prospectors are content on ramming the ball down an opponent’s throat until someone stops them. Can Tempe stop them?

Key stat: Nate Scola carried the ball 12 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns in his first game as a fullback on Friday after starting at quarterback for the past two seasons.

The intrigue: Tempe plays in its first game under coach Brian Walker, and the matchup isn’t easy. Walker wants the team to gain a hard-nosed, defensive-minded identity, and this game will be won in the trenches.

Bourgade Catholic (0-0) at Scottsdale Christian (0-0

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 14400 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix

Key matchup: Bourgade Catholic returns a majority of its front seven, led by junior Nate Rodriguez, and they’re going to get a healthy dose of SCA ground attack, led by Brett Miller

Key stat: SCA hasn’t lost a season opener in nine years.

The intrigue: Bourgade Catholic went 2-8 last year but didn’t have a coaching staff until last July, so expect some improvement, but Scottsdale Christian is too big and experienced. The Eagles will break in a new quarterback in junior Daniel Mejia.

Tempe Prep (0-0) at Arizona Lutheran (1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Address: 6036 S. 26th Ave., Phoenix

Key matchup: Arizona Lutheran returns its entire starting lineup from last year’s team, while Tempe Prep is adjusting to playing 11-man football after moving up from 1A to 2A.

Key stat: Arizona Lutheran returns 13 starters total from 2008.

The intrigue: The transition begins for Tempe Prep which jumps up a conference. The Knights think they can be a 2A playoff team and they’ll finally get their feet wet. Though they do return their fair share of starters, nerves could be a factor since Arizona Lutheran has a game under its belt.

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