Week 3 in AZ prep football…sorting out the pretenders

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                </div>Now that the results of all the Week 3 high school football games are in the book, the process of separating the contenders from the pretenders has begun.  A handful […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Now that the results of all the Week 3 high school football games are in the book, the process of separating the contenders from the pretenders has begun.  A handful of games this week began lifting the veil:

Perhaps the biggest fall from grace occurred up in the northwest corner of the state, up near the Nevada border. That’s home to Kingman Academy High School, which just moved from the Charter Athletic Association (CAA) to its first year of membership in the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA).

The Academy has ruled the CAA for the past three years, losing just two games during that time and winning the 4A title last season.  They won their first two games as AIA members, the second by a score of 59-0 against Sequoia High and were riding high in the saddle.  Their 35-14 opening victory over Laughlin High included an impressive performance by senior tailback Westin McCord, who broke the 200-yard plateau.

But their home opener Friday against Yuma Catholic brought the high-flying Tigers back down to earth as the Shamrocks tagged them for 59 points, while allowing just one Academy score that came off a kick-off return. Yuma Catholic’s junior quarterback Jagan Cleary threw for 269 yards and senior wide receiver Andre Cabrales added 95 more yards on four catches.   It was a quick role reversal from contender to pretender.

What made it worse, Kingman’s coach, the third head coach in three years, made several comments to the local media prior to the game.  The one that has come back to haunt him: “I don’t want to be throwing down the gauntlet or sound over-confident,” he told the Kingman Daily Miner, “but we’ve got the horsepower…to run with anybody that wants to come at us.”  Oops.

Show Low High School

Over on the other side of the state, up in the White Mountains, a school used to being on top of the small-school competition is having trouble establishing itself as a contender this year.  Show Low is opening the season with more losses than wins after getting beat Friday, 33-12, by Queen Creek High School.

Queen Creek, the top-ranked team in Division III, is undefeated through three games and is a handful for any opponent.  But Show Low will still need to show it can rebound from a 1-3 start.  The other loss for the  Cougars, who are ranked No. 1 in Division IV, was also to a much larger school when they lost their season opener to Williams Field High, 16-7.

But this was a dominant performance by Queen Creek, which scored on all but two of its offensive possessions and junior running back Weston Barlow ran wild on the Show Low defense, carrying the ball 26 times for 231 yards and four touchdowns – and he was just filling in for Matt Guida during his absence.  QB Layne Roshay added another 105 yards, split almost equally between his passing and his running.

Bradshaw Mountain High School

Bradshaw opened the season by beating Apollo High School, one of the better teams in Division II this season, and followed that with a win over Lake Havasu High, beating each by more than 30 points, and looked like a contender in Division III this season.

But Friday night they ran into the No. 3-ranked team in that division, Scottsdale’s Saguaro High, and their balloon popped.  The Sabercats hung 69 points on the Bradshaw defense and controlled the game from the first minute on after receiver Christian Kirk ran 50 yards for the first score.

Saguaro scored on its first four possessions and, by the time the second quarter got started, was up 41-0.  Total domination.

Head coach Jason Mohns sat his starting quarterback for the final period, so Luke Rubenzer settled for five touchdowns and a 275-yard performance passing.  His favorite target for the night was J.T. Nettleton, who piled up 142 yards on four catches, two of which were for scores.  And Isaiah Reece rushed for another 104 yards and two TDs.

Meanwhile, Saguaro kept the heat on Bradshaw’s QB Jarett Cain, holding him to just 105 yards on 10-of-24 passing and intercepted him three times.

Desert Vista High School

Coming into the season, Desert Vista was a question mark, but considered a dark-horse candidate by some. After two games, it was still uncertain whether the Thunder would be a competitor after losing many of their key-position players to graduation.

They got blanked by the California school, Mission Hills High, in the season opener, 13-0, but then beat North High in Phoenix, 60-6.  The game against North, however, didn’t reveal much since the Mustangs also lost the game before 69-0.

But Boulder Creek High School cleared things up Friday night by beating the Thunder 17-3.  It was the first win in three tries this season for the Anthem school.

The Jaguars’ defense held Desert Vista to 197 yards of total offense and intercepted Thunder QB Cade van Raaphorst twice.  At the same time, Boulder Creek’s quarterback tandem of Trevor Miller and Gunther Johnson combined for 230 yards, with Miller picking up 189 yards on 17-for-17 passing and Johnson adding the rest on nine rushes.

Brophy Prep

The Broncos, who were expected at the start of the season to contend with Mountain Pointe High, generally considered the favorite in Division I.  Brophy had already played two of the powers in Division I, pulling off an upset against Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School, which was expected to win their Section, 13-6, and then losing to top-ranked Hamilton High, 26-9.

A split with two top teams didn’t do much to define the Broncos’ right to be considered a legitimate contender, but a key injury last week in the Hamilton game will likely lower expectations for the remainder of the season.  Starting quarterback Brian Woodward broke his hand in the game against the Huskies and his replacement, sophomore Cade Knox, couldn’t get the job done in a 17-13 loss against Centennial High Thursday night and the Broncos fell to 1-2.

Centennial suffered through four lost turnovers, but still put a solid Brophy defense to the test as the backfield combo of Dedrick Young and Matt Rodriguez each topped the 100-yard mark.  Rodriguez rushed 25 times for 160 yards and Young added 155 yards on 20 carries.

(Photo: Jeff Martin/KAHS)