Time to beat the unbeatens? Not likely in Week 9

    Life is tough if you’re playing football in either 3A or 5A competition
this year. Unless you’re still unbeaten, you don’t have a lot of
relevance.  There are still 16 teams in Arizona high school ball that
remain undefeated; eight of those are in either 3A or 5A-II.
3A, Empire HS (Tucson) is 8-0 and still can’t get better than a fifth
place ranking. Gimme a break!  Fountain Hills HS at 6-2 is ranked No. 4
and the lone exception to the unbeaten rule of thumb.  The top three
are Blue Ridge HS (7-0), Estrella Foothills HS (8-0), and Wickenburg HS
    In 5A, Westview HS is ranked No. 4 and the only team
with a loss (6-1).  Centennial HS is at the top (8-0), followed by
Chaparral HS (7-0), Marcos de Niza HS (7-0), Westview, and Sunnyside HS
in Tucson (7-0).
   Not much is likely to change this week.  Unless
a major upset occurs, the better games are pretty much defined, with
the Hamilton HS v. Brophy Prep match-up taking center stage. Hamilton
is ranked No. 1 in 5A-I and Brophy No. 2. 
    Hamilton will ride its pair of senior running backs for every yard Brophy will yield.  Michael Allen comes into the game with 679 yards on 62 attempts, with eight TDs to his credit.  Zach Bauman is right behind, with 583 yards on 60 carries and 10 touchdowns.  The Bronocs will counter with Max Leonesio, a real workhorse who has carried for 126 rushes already and piled up 966 yards and 16 TDs, and QB Dallin Parker who threw for 239 yards last week in a tough 26-18 win over Mesa HS.
Hamilton has won three of the last 4 meetings, generally close
contests; the average margin of victory over the past five years has
been just 10 points.  In fact, the two schools have been so dominant
that snce 2003 one or the other has been involved in the 5A-I title
games.  The outcome of this game is a coin flip – again.
are other games with potential, but not likely to fulfill promise.  Red
Mountain HS (5-2) will try to topple Centennial HS, ranked No. 4 in the
nation by USA Today.  But the Lions are coming off a nasty 49-28 loss
to Chandler HS – and Centennial will bring more to the party than
Chandler did. 
    Also in 5A, St. Mary’s is 2-0 in the Desert
Valley region and looking good on paper as they take on No. 2 ranked
and undefeated Chaparral HS. But the size and power of Chaparral, who
destroyed a good Pinnacle HS team last week, 45-10, will be too much
for the smaller Knights.  Pinnacle, also undefeated going into the
game, actually led early, but the Firebirds turned loose it’s senior
tailback, Dwayne Garrett, to score four touchdowns and seal the win.  Chaparral QB Connor Brewer
is the engine that powers the team, posting a 6i-for-90 completion mark
so far this year and accounting for 957 yards and nine touchdowns.
Pinnacle’s QB Alex Cappellini is equally impressive, with 977 yards this season on 61-for-103 passing.
    St. Mary’s has one running back among the elite this season, as R.J. McGill has churned up 691 yards and five TDs.  And Bryan Holland brings a strong arm to the party, with 882 yards on 71-of-138 passing.  But it likely won’t be enough this week.
The Mesa HS v. Maryvale HS game, a 5A-I match-up, would normally look
very interesting, since Mesa is 5-3 and ranked fifth in the power
rankings and Maryvale is coming off of six consecutive wins.  But Mesa
announced it has suspended a number of players for violations of team
rules, with estimates of between 15-20 players.  So, without knowing
which players and exactly how many, this game becomes impossible to
    Last week Maryvale beat Trevor Browne HS, 37-29, and did it under most difficult circumstances.  Ricky Aldrete, the Panthers’ second-leading rusher had to carry the load since top producer, Terell Braddy, had been suspended for the game.  Aldrete went down in the first half with an ankle injury.
In 4A play, the Cactus HS (6-1) vs. Paradise Valley HS (4-3) game
should be interesting.  PV started the season slowly but are 2-0 now in
4A-II Black Canyon play, due in large part to having No.1 running back Jake Brown
back in the saddle after he missed three game with an injury.  Despite
being out that long, Brown has rushed for 629 yards and seven
touchdowns, and backfield mate Tyree Parker has contributed 15 touchdowns so far this season.  Cactus, No. 4 in 4A-II, will counter with Allan Woods, a running back who put on a 300-yard performance last week when the Cobras put up 74 points on Thunderbird HS.
And finally, another 4A game to watch is Apache Junction HS at Queen
Creek HS.  The two 4A-II teams have split the last four games, with the
last three being decided by no more than eight points.  This game, too,
should be too close to call.
    Queen Creek’s QB Adam Brzeczek
has passed for over a 1,000 yards this season and run for 432; last
week in a 47-28 win over Seton Catholic HS he completed 14 of 20 passes
for 165 yards and four scores.  Chim Nga
added 185 yards of real estate as he had long runs of 65 and 78 yards
for scores.  The Prospectors will counter with a strong ground game,
led by Nate Scola, who has carried the load this year, rushing 124 times for 866 yards and 14 TDs.  He’s backed up by Terry Eytcheson (343 yards) and Tanner Morgan (310 yards).  And when they do decide to throw, Roy Machuca does a good job; he has 510 passing yards this season.