Here’s a quick look at this week’s first-round football playoff games at sites from Scottsdale west through the Phoenix metro area and into northern Arizona (seedings in parentheses). Games in divisions I through III are on Friday (Nov. 8), the rest on Saturday (Nov. 9) . . .
Phoenix Brophy Prep (12) at Avondale Westview (5), 7 p.m. – This is where we will see if playing what many considered was the state’s toughest schedule will help or doom Brophy. The Broncos also have had injury problems, but supposedly are close to full strength. Westview breezed through its schedule unbeaten and its powerful offense will provide a challenge.
Mesa Mountain View (11) at Phoenix Pinnacle (6), 7 p.m. – Pinnacle escaped with a 28-25 win over the Toros on Sept. 25, but has been playing on all cylinders of late. Mountain View is going to have to find a way to regroup after lopsided losses to Mesa Red Mountain and Mesa Desert Ridge the last two weeks.
Chandler Basha (10) at Phoenix Horizon (7), 7 p.m. – Basha finished the regular season with a win over Gilbert after losing its previous three games. Can the Bears stop a Horizon offense that has averaged more than 50 points per game? It will be a tough task.
Glendale Deer Valley (12) at Phoenix Sunnyslope (5), 7 p.m. – Deer Valley averaged 50 points a game and gave up just one touchdown in each of its three wins to close out the regular season. The Skyhawks would like nothing better than to knock Sunnyslope from the unbeaten ranks.
Tucson (13) at Peoria Centennial (4), 7 p.m. – Tucson would like to channel some of the players from its powerful teams of the past to bring to the Valley. Only a loss to Chandler in its first game separates Centennial from a perfect regular season. The Coyotes’ Dedrick Young is one of the state’s top runners.
Tolleson (14) at Scottsdale Chaparral (3), 7 p.m. – Tolleson has had one of its best seasons in a long time, but extending it beyond this one will be difficult to do, given Chaparral’s talent, depth and athleticism.
Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain (12) at Peoria (5), 7 p.m. – Bradshaw Mountain fell by 20 points to defending state champion Queen Creek in its regular season finale and now must deal with the speed of unbeaten Peoria.
Phoenix Thunderbird (14) at Goodyear Desert Edge (3), 7 p.m. – It was just a few short years ago when Thunderbird won the state title. Now the Chiefs are trying to get back and don’t let their seed fool you – they are capable of defeating unbeaten Desert Edge. But if record-shattering Desert Edge receiver Elijah Marks is on his game, forget about it.
Tucson Catalina Foothills (11) at Surprise Shadow Ridge (6) – Coach Jeff Scurran has worked a few miracles in the past at Tucson Sabino and Tucson Santa Rita. After a few years off, can he do it with Catalina Foothills? Shadow Ridge has been one of D-III’s pleasant surprises.
Phoenix Washington (15) at Scottsdale Saguaro (2), 7 p.m. – Washington thought it has missed the playoffs until a recalculation of power points allowed the Rams in. Now they must face one of the hottest teams in the state.
Payson (16) at Show Low (1), 6 p.m. – You again? Just a week after ending its regular season with a 56-7 loss at Show Low, now Payson must go back. A similar result is likely.
Safford (9) at Goodyear Estrella Foothills (8), 7 p.m. – Estrella Foothills scored 50 or more points in its final two games, so its offense is on a roll. Safford is on a five-game winning streak.
Kayenta Monument Valley (13) at Lakeside Blue Ridge (4), 6 p.m. – Monument Valley has had a knack for moving the football this season, but likely has not faced a defense as tough as Blue Ridge’s.
Rio Rico (14) at Snowflake (3), 2 p.m. – Snowflake has to try to keep pace with neighbors Show Low and Blue Ridge (the Lobos lost to both), so controlling Rio Rico in the bright light of day shouldn’t be a problem.
Page (11) at River Valley (6), 6 p.m. – River Valley began the season as a sleeper team, but has played most of the season like a true contender. After some down years, Page has played much better this time around, but this long road trip might prove to be too much.
Sahuarita (10) at Winslow (7), 6 p.m. – The winner here earns a likely game against defending champion Chandler Seton Catholic in the next round.
Keams Canyon Hopi (16) at Phoenix Arizona Lutheran (1), 6 p.m. – Arizona Lutheran handled such powerhouses as Phoenix Northwest Christian and Phoenix Bourgade Catholic this season, so defeating the No. 16 seed should not pose a problem.
Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (9) at Phoenix Bourgade Catholic (8), 6 p.m. – Bourgade’s Pat Lavin has done one of the state’s stop coaching jobs this season and yearns to move on, although Pusch Ridge will not be a pushover.
Tempe Prep (12) at Phoenix Northwest Christian (5), 6 p.m. – Northwest Christian is riding a wave of momentum after a win at home over rival Yuma Catholic last week. Tempe Prep always seems to bring a physical brand of ball to the table.
Benson (13) at Round Valley (4), 7 p.m. – Round Valley could be the dark horse in this tournament and always seems to play well in the Dome.
Williams (11) at St. Johns (6), 6 p.m. – St. Johns also is tough at home, and coach Mike Morgan’s teams always seem to be among the division’s most balanced.
Scottsdale Prep (13) vs. Glendale Joy Christian (2) at Phoenix North Canyon High, 7 p.m. – Both teams moved from Division VI eight-man ball to the 11-man game. Joy Christian, which won the D-VI title last season, has had a seamless adjustment.
Division VI semifinals
at Phoenix Shadow Mountain High
Gilbert Christian (2) vs. Bagdad (3), 2 p.m. – Bagdad has played strong defense all season, but stopping Gilbert Christian’s prolific offense won’t be easy.
Heber Mogollon (5) vs. Pima (1), 6 p.m. – Teams from the south appeared to have the upper hand this season, but traditional power Mogollon, carrying the banner for the north, appears to be playing its best ball at just the right time. The Mustangs put 60 points on the board against a solid St. David team in the quarterfinals last week. Pima, which fell to Joy Christian in last season’s title game, also has plenty left in its tank.