The Arizona high school football season is only three weeks old and already three of the top five teams in 5A-I have fallen.
And there were some great story lines in each of the upsets.
Chandler High School was the first to fall, beaten in Week 2 by Centennial HS in Peoria, which is not even in the same division. Centennial was the No. 2-ranked team in 5A-II when it took down Chandler in a high-scoring 48-42 win in its season opener.
With a quarterback who is arguably the best in the state, Chandler was expected to be a top challenger in the talent-filled Fiesta Region and march deep into the state playoffs. Brett Hundley, who just committed to play at UCLA, led two scoring drives with less than eight minutes left in the game, including the last with 1:15 left to close the gap to 48-42.
But he wasn’t able to put the ball back into the end zone as time expired, despite having four tries from inside the 10-yard line.
Hundley did his part in the losing effort, gaining 117 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and then throwing for another 227 yards on a 17-of-36 performance.
The Wolves came back this weekend and took out their frustration on Casa Grande High School, putting a 51-0 whupping on the Cougars.
And last Friday also saw two more losses among the top five ranked teams.
No. 3-ranked Brophy Prep got upended by its oldest rival. St. Mary’s HS beat the Broncos, 16-13, posting its first win in the last eight outings against the Catholic football power. It was the Knights’ first win of the season.
Just as Chandler had a final shot at the win, Brophy was sitting on the Knights’ 11-yard line with 1:30 left to play and four chances to win the game. Four incomplete passes from the Broncos’ sophomore quarterback ended the threat and the game.
Tyler Bruggman had a good game to that point, throwing for 186 yards (15-for-30) and two scores. Perhaps his most important pass came with just over three minutes left in the game, when Bruggman hit Devon Allen with a four-yard pass to pull the Broncos to within three points. But it wasn’t enough.
And, finally, Mountain Pointe HS also took a tumble from its perch. Ranked No. 4 going into its game with Basha HS, the Pride ran out of time after Basha’s junior halfback, Quinten Del Re, scored from the 13 with 1:18 left on the clock to seal the 21-17 win.
The game see-sawed throughout. It was tied at 7-7 toward the end of the first half on a scoring pass from Basha QB Kyle Duran to Dejzon Walker, and then again at 14-14 when Mountain Pointe tied it again on a six-yard touchdown run by Ramus Bryant.
It was the second straight win for first-year coach, Bernie Busken, and undoubtedly the biggest since he took over the Basha program amid some controversy over his hiring to replace the popular Tim McBurney.
And for Mountain Pointe head coach, Norris Vaughan, it was the end of a 45 -game winning streak that extended back to 2005 when he was coaching at Wickenburg HS. He’s in his second year at the helm of the Pride.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Hamilton HS keeps on winning. The Huskies, ranked No. 16 in the country by USA Today, went to 4-0 by destroying Ironwood HS in Glendale, 69-14.
With the No. 2 through No. 4 teams stubbing their collective toes early, the question gets even bigger and louder… can anyone keep Hamilton from another state title?