Note: This article includes home games in the writer’s area of coverage, which is as follows: from Fountain Hills west through Scottsdale, all of Phoenix (except for Ahwatukee), the southwest, northwest and northern sections of the metro area. Other locales include northern, northeast and northwest Arizona.
The Arizona high school football season reaches its halfway point on Friday night (Sept. 27). Here is a quick look at some of the top matchups in the area . . .
Scottsdale Desert Mountain (2-2) at Phoenix Horizon (3-1) – This can be called “The Red Cross Bowl,’’ at least from Desert Mountain’s perspective. The Wolves suffered injuries to several key players in last week’s loss to Scottsdale Chaparral, including star wide receiver Mark Andrews, and it likely will come down to a game-time decision as to whether they will play. Horizon, meanwhile, is averaging nearly 52 points per game. That means the Huskies’ new artificial turf should get plenty of wear.
Peoria Centennial (3-1) at Peoria Liberty (3-2) – This rivalry between Peoria District schools should continue to grow, now that Liberty has moved up from Division III to Division II and is in the same section as Centennial. Liberty has rebounded nicely from losses in its first two games, and Centennial has a strong running game powered by a strong, ornery offensive line.
Mesa Mountain View (4-0) at Phoenix Pinnacle (2-2) – Coach Chad DeGrenier appears to have his Mountain View team on track toward a season that should go deep into the Division I playoffs, something the Toros haven’t done in quite awhile. Pinnacle is trying to regroup after tough losses to Chandler Hamilton and Chandler Basha the last two weeks.
Phoenix Sunnyslope (4-0) at Laveen Betty H. Fairfax (3-1) – Sunnyslope is off to one of its best starts in years, but the Vikings have yet to encounter a team with the same overall athleticism as BHF possesses. BHF fell to Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep in its opener, but has rebounded with wins over Phoenix Camelback, Phoenix Carl Hayden and Phoenix St. Mary’s.
Tucson Sabino (2-2) vs. Flagstaff (2-2) at Northern Arizona University Walkup Skydome, Flagstaff – Sabino coach Jay Campos has coached against his father, Flagstaff coach Ed Campos, one time and defeated him in 2003 when the elder Campos coached at Flagstaff Sinagua (now closed). This time, dad gets a chance to even the score with a team that surprised a highly regarded Prescott team last week.
Buckeye (4-0) at Avondale Agua Fria (2-2) – Buckeye features its usual assortment of hard-hitting players, but the Hawks will need to be wary of an Agua Fria offense that evened its record by scoring 38 and 35 points, respectively, with wins over Phoenix Greenway and Phoenix Sierra Linda the last two weeks.
Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep (2-2) vs. Phoenix St. Mary’s (1-3) at Phoenix College – St. Mary’s has played Phoenix Brophy Prep practically since the world began, but this will be the first time that the Knights have faced the Valley’s youngest Catholic school, Notre Dame. After spending virtually all of its time in Division I, St. Mary’s dropped to Division II this season.
St. Johns (4-0) at Payson (3-1) – St. Johns gets its chance to prove that a Division V team is capable of holding its own against a Division IV squad.
Winslow (2-2) at Goodyear Estrella Foothills (2-2) – The winner here should be able to remain in contention for a Division IV playoff spot.