Chandler football Open Division

Chandler is the top overall seed in the new Open Division playoff rankings. 

Chandler High’s football program sits atop the first Open Division rankings, which were released Tuesday morning by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Should the Wolves remain at the top, they will be the first-ever No. 1 seed in the newly established playoff tournament, which pins the eight best teams from the 6A, 5A and 4A conferences against one another for a true state champion.

The rankings are comprised using a formula that looks at a team's overall record and strength of schedule. 

“We just let things take care of themselves,” Chandler coach Rick Garretson said. “As long as we are in the eight that’s all that matters.”

Chandler has begun the season on a tear, outscoring opponents 258-28 to remain undefeated through the first five games of the season.

Junior quarterback Mikey Keene has stepped in to replace former quarterback Jacob Conover, who led the Wolves to three straight 6A titles from 2016-18.

Through five games, Keene has completed 81 of his 98 pass attempts for 1,268 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Along with Keene, senior running back Daveon Hunter has exploded onto the scene in his first season in Arizona. The Colorado transplant has rushed for 551 yards and 14 touchdowns, while juniors Nicolas Nesbitt and Rodney Clemente have added 632 more yards on the ground combined and eight touchdowns.

Chandler topped 4A power Salpointe Catholic in the rankings, who is undefeated this season but will be a game short of other teams after an opponent from Texas canceled its matchup with the Lancers. 

Hamilton (6A), Pinnacle (6A) and Centennial (5A) round out the top five in the Open Division. 

“We challenge the boys every day in practice, mentally and physically,” Garretson said. “We prepare them day-by-day so come Friday night things are going well for them and we can perform at a high level.”

The AIA also released rankings for 6A-1A. The top 16 teams in 6A-2A will make the postseason, with eight making the tournament in 1A.

Rankings for each playoff tournament are detailed below.

Open Division (teams in bold make the Open tournament)

1. Chandler (6A)

2. Salpointe Catholic (4A)

3. Hamilton (6A)

4. Pinnacle (6A)

5. Centennial (5A)

6. Notre Dame Prep (5A)

7. Sahuaro (4A)

8. Campo Verde (5A)

9. Saguaro (4A)

10. Horizon (5A)

11. Canyon Del Oro (4A

12. Red Mountain (6A)

13. Desert Vista (6A)

14. Brophy (6A)

15. Cactus (4A

16. Queen Creek (6A)

6A

1. Chandler

2. Hamilton

3. Pinnacle

4. Red Mountain

5. Desert Vista

6. Brophy

7. Queen Creek

8. Perry

9. Cesar Chavez         

10. Highland

11. Liberty

12. Chaparral

13. Shadow Ridge

14. Basha

15. Valley Vista

16. Boulder Creek

5A

1. Centennial

2. Notre Dame Prep

3. Campo Verde

4. Horizon

5. Higley

6. Millennium

7. Buena

8. Sunnyslope

9. Ironwood

10. Williams Field

11. Paradise Valley

12. Gilbert

13. McClintock

14. Casteel

15. Nogales

16. Cienega

4A

1. Salpointe Catholic

2. Sahuaro

3. Saguaro

4. Canyon Del Oro

5. Cactus

6. Gila Ridge

7. Desert Edge

8. Walden Grove

9. Seton Catholic Prep

10. Pueblo Magnet

11. Mesquite

12. Peoria

13. Coconino

14. Casa Grande

15. Arcadia

16. Marcos de Niza

3A

1. Benjamin Franklin

2. ALA – Queen Creek

3. Northwest Christian

4. Coolidge

5. Blue Ridge

6. Sabino

7. Snowflake

8. Valley Christian

9. Arizona College Prep

10. Odyssey Institute

11. River Valley

12. Safford

13. Winslow

14. Bourgade Catholic

15. ALA – Gilbert North

16. Gilbert Christian

2A

1. Trivium Prep

2. Parker

3. Santa Cruz Valley

4. Thatcher

5. Phoenix Christian

6. Benson

7. Bisbee

8. Veritas Prep

9. Morenci

10. Arizona Lutheran

11. Round Valley

12. St. Johns

13. Pima

14. Chandler Prep

15. Miami

16. North Pointe Prep

1A

1. Williams

2. Hayden

3. Bagdad

4. Salome

5. Superior

6. Duncan

7. Mogollon

8. Joseph City

9. Arete Prep

10. Baboquivari

11. Anthem Prep

12. Ray

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at zalvira@timespublications.com and follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira.

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