The first Open Division rankings of the season were released Tuesday morning by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, bringing with them several responses on social media.
Some of the rankings were expected, others caught people off guard.
The East Valley Tribune staff broke down the rankings and shared their reactions.
Zach Alvira, Sports Editor: I think everyone figured Chandler would come in as the top-ranked team in the first Open Division rankings. I mean, why wouldn’t they be the top team? They’re the three-time defending 6A champions and have steamrolled through opponents so far this season. The Wolves are still the team to beat.
Eric Newman, Staff Writer: At about the midway point of the season, there have been some fun storylines to follow. It is hard to argue any of the top eight, as all are undefeated and have shown flashes of greatness. However, it is hard to believe this same top group and order will remain come November.
Zach Alvira, Sports Editor: Did anyone see Saguaro being on the outside looking in? Neither did I. The Sabercats have lost just one game this season to one of the top teams in California, Cathedral Catholic. Sure, the Sabercats’ offense struggled against the Dons, but Saguaro had a chance to tie late in the game. I do think the Sabercats will end up being one of the top teams in the Open, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised to see them at No. 9.
Eric Newman, Staff Writer: Salpointe Catholic is a team many figured would be in the open division playoffs. It has beaten a couple of tough 4A opponents in Desert Edge and Cactus. But, to see the Lancers at No. 2 was definitely a surprise.
Zach Alvira, Sports Editor: I think we all figured there would be more 6A teams than the rest of the field. Chandler was the top team coming in and I believe they will remain the top team through the regular season.
Eric Newman, Staff Writer: Chandler. It was projected to be the best team in the state, have played as such and these rankings show that dominance.
Zach Alvira, Sports Editor: Sahuaro and Campo Verde crashed the Open Division party, as the Cougars came in at No. 7 and Coyotes No. 8. Both teams are legitimate title contenders in their respective conferences, but are they good enough to compete against the likes of Chandler, Hamilton, Pinnacle and Salpointe? That remains to be seen. We will find out right away just how good Sahuaro is when it takes on the second-ranked Lancers on Friday. As for the Coyotes, they have a chance to prove they belong in the next four weeks against Maricopa, Higley, Williams Field and Casteel.
Eric Newman, Staff Writer: Hamilton would deservedly be in the open playoffs if the postseason began today, boasting a 6-0 record with five wins coming by 20 or more points. However, the road ahead in 6A Premier Region play will be difficult for the Huskies, as they host undefeated Brophy this week, play Basha and Perry, and end the season with a road contest at title-favorite Chandler.
Zach Alvira, Sports Editor: Let’s be honest, these rankings are going to look very different by the time the end of the regular season rolls around. Not much will change at the top, but here’s how I think the rankings will look next week.
2. Salpointe Catholic
6. Notre Dame
7. Campo Verde
Eric Newman, Staff Writer: There will be very few changes next week. But here’s what I’ve got.
3. Salpointe Catholic
6. Notre Dame
7. Campo Verde
Who are they playing?
Here’s a look at who the eight teams in the Open Division will be playing this week.
Perry at No. 1 Chandler
No. 7 Sahuaro at No. 2 Salpointe Catholic
Brophy at No. 3 Hamilton
No. 4 Pinnacle at Sandra Day O’Connor
Apollo at No. 5 Centennial
No. 6 Notre Dame Prep at McClintock
No. 8 Campo Verde at Maricopa
Follow Zach Alvira on Twitter: @ZachAlvira.
Follow Eric Newman on Twitter: @enewmanwrites.