Mixed results for Scottsdale football powers in Week 7

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                </div>  A couple of Scottsdale’s high school football powers used this week’s games to reaffirm their right to be ranked among the top teams in their respective divisions.  But there […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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A couple of Scottsdale’s high school football powers used this week’s games to reaffirm their right to be ranked among the top teams in their respective divisions.  But there was no comparison in the way each accomplished that.

Saguaro High School, the No. 2 team in Division II, wrapped up its 56-14 win over Desert Mountain High early. Chaparral High School, the No. 5 team in Division I, took No. 4 Centennial High into two overtime periods before finally dropping its second game of the season, 20-17.

For Chaparral, it’s all about proving it can play in the state’s top division after moving up from Division II this year. The Firebirds are 5-2, with the only other loss coming against Chandler High, which is undefeated and the top-ranked team in Division I.  And that loss was by just 12 points.

Since that set-back in the second game of the season, Chaparral has run off four straight wins before dropping Friday’s game to Centennial.  The Firebirds haven’t been winning big, except for the 61-14 romp over Horizon High last week, but they have been doing what it takes to get the job done in their first season after moving up. Which is saying something since their schedule this year is filled with opponents that were playoff contenders in their respective divisions last season.

But the Firebirds are used to taking everybody’s best shot.  They have had a target on their backs for a long time after winning six of the last 15 state titles, including three straight from 2009-2011.  Last season’s 9-4 finish was considered a down year by Chaparral standards.

Interestingly, Centennial was also playing in Division II last year with the Firebirds, so the Coyotes are also in the process of proving they belong.  And Centennial was the team that beat Chaparral in the state semifinals before going on to win the D-II title.

So Friday night’s nail-biter should have been no surprise.  Many of the games between these two teams over the years have been see-saw battles.

Chaparral appeared to have gotten its revenge for last year’s 24-0 loss to the Coyotes before David McGriff stunned the visiting Firebird fans by taking a kick return 65 yards to tie the game at 14-14 with just 40 second left in regulation.  It was actually his second return for a TD, but the only one that counted.  His 92-yard return on the opening kickoff was nullified by a penalty.

Neither team scored in the first overtime, but Chaparral took the lead again in the second OT with a field goal they hoped would hold for the win. But Centennial answered on their possession when John Rincon ran the ball into the end zone on the first play to give the Coyotes the 20-17 victory.

Saguaro took a different path to its win, jumping out to a 35-7 lead before halftime arrived and rolling to the 42-point rout to continuing salvaging their season after a couple of back-to-back losses early on the schedule, to Centennial and Pinnacle High.  That loss to Centennial broke a 28-game win streak the Sabercats had built, going back to 2013.

After the Pinnacle loss, they have gone on to win four straight games, averaging 46 points a game during that run and outscoring opponents, 184-43.

The Sabercats are also trying to make the case for being moved up a division after winning the last three state championships while playing in Division III.  Their Friday opponent, Desert Mountain, is moving the other way after competing last season in Division I.  That move, too, looks to be justified right now.

Saguaro and Centennial will likely continue to move through their respective divisions and enter the playoffs as legitimate contenders.  And there might even be a re-match awaiting in the playoffs between Centennial and Chaparral.

And, if Friday’s game is any indicator, that will definitely be a game worth watching.