Here are the top storylines heading into the seventh week of the season:
Tough schedule continues for Mesquite
It’s another tough game for the Wildcats after already seeing Red Mountain, Chandler and Hamilton. Mesquite broke out of its offensive doldrums last week in a 56-20 win over Dobson, and will definitely need to move the ball successfully to compete with Chaparral. The Firebirds rolled to a 48-21 win over the Wildcats last season, as Connor Brewer threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns and Davonte Neal had 122 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns and an interception on defense. Both of those players are back for Chaparral. Mesquite running back Anthony Lopez was held to 13 carries for 42 yards on the ground in that game, and the only way the Wildcats can keep it close is if he eats up big chunks of yardage.
Time to bounce back
Both Queen Creek and Higley are reeling after last week. The Bulldogs were upset by Tucson Catalina Foothills for their first loss of the year. The Knights not only got blown out by Williams Field last week, but lost quarterback Eric Kump to a torn anterior cruciate ligament that is expected to keep him out the rest of the season. Backup Jacob Gonzales will take over at quarterback for Higley, and his first start will be a tough test against a solid Queen Creek defense.
Paradise Valley went 2-8 last season but has looked impressive this year behind the arm of junior quarterback Ryan Finley. He is 154-of-242 for 1,698 yards with 16 touchowns and four interceptions on the season. The Trojans are 4-2, including a win over Phoenix Thunderbird, with the losses coming to Division III heavyweights Saguaro and Peoria Liberty. Arcadia’s only loss this season came at the hands of Thunderbird, although its schedule has not been too challenging. Titans running back Sosaia Maafu is averaging 129.5 rushing yards per contest. Both of these teams are ranked in the Tribune’s top-10, and it should be an interesting matchup.
Brophy keeps rolling
Brophy’s schedule hasn’t been too tough, but the Broncos have looked impressive this year, including in a win over Mountain Pointe last week. Here is another decent test against a Westview squad that has a talented tailback in Seivon Morris. Brophy won’t have running back Marche Dennard for the remainder of the season because of injury, but the rest of the skill players on offense — quarterback Tyler Bruggman, wide receivers Devon Allen and Fred Gammage, and tailback D’Amani Grayer — have been very good. It will be a tough task for the Knights to keep them all under wraps.
Poston Butte puts perfect record on line
The Broncos have been one of the season’s bigger surprises with a 6-0 record in their first season of varsity competition. Poston Butte has wins over Higley and Campo Verde, among others, but will get its biggest test thus far against Division II Perry. Led by QB/DB Josh Ulhorn, the Pumas are 4-2 on the season and have won two straight games. Poston Butte has positioned itself at No. 3 in the Division III power rankings, but with games against Williams Field and Queen Creek also coming up, we’ll know soon just how legitimate of a contender this team could be.