Basha at Hamilton
It’s the last of the bigtime regular matchups between these district schools. Chandler gets all the stats thrown in its face, but Basha has also never beaten Hamilton, which is arguably the hottest team in Division I on a six-game winning streak, while a win by Basha all but guarantees a first-round home game in the playoffs. The Bears’ best attribute in this matchup is that they can throw with Zach Werlinger, and run with Rajhan Meriwether. It’ll be Basha’s best hope against what’s been a stifling defense of the Huskies most of the year. Whether Basha can avoid its turnovers and stop Hamilton’s rushing game is another story. No doubt entertaining and should be a challenge, but it continues to be difficult going against Hamilton these days.
Prediction: Hamilton 31, Basha 24
— Mark Heller
Chaparral at Horizon
The Firebirds have rebounded from a rough stretch with four consecutive victories, although the competition level in the past two games has been inferior. Chaparral has been in a multitude of down-to-the-wire games this season, and another could be in store against the Huskies. Horizon sophomore quarterback Dalton Sneed has performed well since taking over at quarterback for an injured Victor Quinn, completing 66 percent of his passes for 711 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. The Huskies are 7-1 but the schedule has been subpar, so a signature win over Chaparral would bring them some legitimacy.
Prediction: Chaparral 27, Horizon 20
— Kyle Odegard
Seton Catholic at Tempe
Points ahoy. Two of the top offenses among smaller-sized schools meet as Seton (Div. IV) has put up XX points per game and Tempe (Div. III) averages 36 (even after being shutout in the shortened game against Saguaro). With both offensive lines playing well and both teams having big playmakers on the outside, Seton QB David Gesicki and Tempe QB Emanuel Gant could both cause neck sprains leading their respective teams down the field. So whichever running game emerges and whomever can stop the other team once more than the other (even if it’s 1-0) will win. Despite the wonderful season, a loss by Tempe (No. 13 in power rankings) could put the Buffaloes hanging delicately on the bubble for postseason play with a Week 10 matchup against Maricopa.
Prediction: Seton Catholic 38, Tempe 28
Poston Butte at Williams Field
Williams Field has put together the quietest undefeated season of any team in the East Valley. The Black Hawks are 8-0 heading into this week’s matchup with the Broncos. The team wasn’t particularly impressive in the earlygoing but has looked better for the past month. Poston Butte is No. 19 in the power rankings and is playing for its postseason life. The Broncos have an easy game against Apache Junction next week to end the year, so they could probably sneak in with an upset here. However, Williams Field has the best player on the field in running back Sean Schweichler and should take care of business.
Prediction: Williams Field 34, Poston Butte 13
— Kyle Odegard