Easily the most significant game in the early season in Class 4A involved Chaparral’s attempt to move up from Div. I No. 2 ranking by defeating No. 1 Cactus.
The Firebirds got off to their usual early-season surge, running up 117 points in their first two games, while holding their opponents to a collective 20 points. Their 2-0 record also included a shutout of defending 4A state champion, Moon Valley, which hadn’t been held scoreless since 1999.
So a capacity crowd showed up at the the Cactus field for what looked like a great match-up against their undefeated and top-ranked Cobras, which had rolled up 57 points in their season opener and looked every bit like an offensive juggernaut.
Cactus fans weren’t disappointed. The Cobras jumped to a 26-0 lead behind a 107-yard rushing performance from senior running back John Hart and never looked back, finishing 26-10 and emphatically validating its No. 1 ranking.
As September closed out, the Cobras had racked up another win to go 4-0 and stay atop the 4A Division I rankings. Goodyear Millenium, also undefeated, earned a No. 2 recognition, and Chaparral settled in at third.