At Queen Creek High School, all the talk in the preseason was about having a chance this year to win a state football championship. The reasoning was simple: Joe Germaine was returning to the sidelines to take back the head-coaching job he gave up six years ago.
Germaine is the guy who brought the program a state title seven years ago. So maybe he can do it again, they reasoned.
Makes sense. And the Bulldogs’ 3-1 record makes it appear the plan may be working. And, to make the dream seem even more achievable, Germaine is working with a team that his predecessor, Travis Shureman, led to four seasons with double-digit wins after taking it over from Germaine partway through the 2013 season when Germaine’s off-campus job demanded more of his time.
They’re beating the teams they should be beating. That’s a good thing.
However, they were blown out by Chandler High, 56-7, which is the kind of team they will have to beat to get very far in the playoffs.
Schureman has moved over to coach the offensive line this season. Together, the two friends who go back to grade school figure they’ve got a winning combination since that was the way they worked together to secure that 2012 state title for Queen Creek.
It may be awhile before the potential for a title run can truly be assessed. The Bulldogs have a bunch of very winnable games on the near horizon. They likely won’t be tested until the second-to-last game on the schedule when they meet up with Highland High School on Oct. 25.
That gives them six weeks to build on what they learned against Chandler, the three-time defending 6A state champion which is undefeated so far this season. The nearly-50 point loss to the Wolves in the second game on the schedule for both teams provided a great barometer to determine how much work the Bulldogs have yet to do to be able to live up to those preseason expectations.
Chandler dominated on both sides of the ball. Junior quarterback Mikey Keene got great protection from his offense line, which allowed him to shred the Bulldogs’ secondary, and senior running back Daveon Hunter ran wild, finishing the night with five touchdowns.
By halftime, the Wolves had run up a 35-0 lead, and Queen Creek’s lone score didn’t come until there were just nine minutes left on the clock when senior running back Dayson Coleman scored on a 12-yard run.
It was a tough early lesson for a bunch of youngsters still flying high after a season-opening 58-6 rout of Westwood High.
But it could also become an invaluable lesson for a team with championship aspirations.