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The chill of winter means basketball is already underway with a plethora of early-season games and tournaments, and yet the question remains:
Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant threw for seven touchdowns and 317 yards as the Buffaloes overcame a slow start to easily defeat host Alhambra, 55-8.
Tempe jumped out to an early big lead and never looked back on its way to defeating visiting Moon Valley 70-28 in a Division III, Section VI game Friday.
The Chandler-Hamilton game went as this rivalry tends to go for 47 1/2 minutes on Friday night.
Dalton Sneed, Horizon (pictured): 363 yards, 7 TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 350 yards, 2 TD
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 327 yards, 3 TD, TD run
John Clark, Mountain View: 293 yards, 4 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 272 yards, 5 TD
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 270 yards, 4 TD
Kyle Johnson, Seton Catholic: 249 yards, 5 TD, 2 TD runs
Jeddediah Fagg, Williams Field: 210 yards, 3 TD
Peter Campbell, Arcadia: 205 yards, 2 TD
Zach Werlinger, Basha: 200 yards, 2 TD, TD run
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 198 yards, 3 TD
Luke Pineda, Campo Verde: 160 yards, 2 TD, TD run
Chandler Fox, Chaparral: 149 yards, 3 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 422 yards, 4 TD
Brian Lewerke, Pinnacle: 384 yards, 5 TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 373 yards, 2 TD; 86 yards rushing; 2 TD
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 367 yards, 5 TD
Chandler Fox, Chaparral: 333 yards, 3 TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 296 yards, 4 TD
Luke Pineda, Campo Verde (pictured): 280 yards, 4 TD, TD rush
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 260 yards, 5 TD
Russell Corriveau, Poston Butte: 243 yards, TD
John Clark, Mountain View: 242 yards, 2 TD
Brandon Haagsma, Valley Christian: 241 yards, 3 TD
Brian Woodward, Brophy: 234 yards, 4 TD
Kyle Johnson, Seton Catholic: 218 yards, 5 TD
Payton Haslam, Mesquite: 155 yards, 3 TD
Homecoming night was spoiled for Tempe, which fell behind early to Washington and was never able to recover. The Buffaloes lost 70-48 Friday, breaking their hopes of an undefeated season.
No. 7 Sabino at No. 2 Saguaro (Div. III): It’s Sabercats vs. Sabercats. In a wild night last week, Tucson Sabino held off a late-charging Tempe team, 56-49 after the Sabercats took a 35-14 lead after one quarter. Sabino ran for 374 yards as a team against Tempe, and (barely) overcame a huge night from Tempe QB Emanuel Gant in that comeback attempt. Aside from the win, none of this bodes well for Sabino against Saguaro, because the closest they’ve seen in terms of athletes was a blowout loss to Goodyear Desert Edge in late September. That 55-21 could be a glimpse of things to come, because Saguaro saw what Tempe did to Sabino in its comeback attempt: spread the field and throw the ball. That’s a pretty good plan when Luke Rubenzer (pictured, left), Christian Kirk (pictured, right) and J.T. Nettleton are on the team. Sabino might hang for awhile because it can score on Saguaro. To Sabino’s credit, they played Salpointe Catholic, Desert Edge and Sahuaro, so they’ve seen elite competition, but Saguaro has too many weapons and can strike too quickly for Sabino to keep up.
Prediction: Saguaro 48, Sabino 24
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 368 yards, 3 TD...
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 409 yards, 4 TD...
Zach Werlinger, Basha (pictured): 396 yards, 2 TD...
John Clark, Mountain View: 306 yards, 5 TD...
Sean Paul Brophy, Chaparral: 302 yards, 2 TD...
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 298 yards, TD...
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 288 yards, 3 TD...
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 258 yards, 6 TD.
Zach Werlinger, Basha (pictured): 453 yards, 3 TD...
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 451 yards, 5 TD...
John Clark, Mountain View: 329 yards, 4 TD...
Brian Lewerke, Pinnacle: 321 yards, 6 TD...
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 299 yards, 3 TD...
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 261 yards, 2 TD...
Antonio Hinojosa, Mountain Pointe: 180 yards, 3 TD...
Behind the strong right arm of quarterback Emanuel Gant and his bevy of weapons, Tempe High dominated the third quarter Friday night and blew open what was a close game before coasting to a comfortable victory.
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 400 yards, 6 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 317 yards, 7 TD
Nick Smith, Scottsdale Prep: 257 yards, 3 TD
Kyle Johnson, Seton Catholic (pictured): 253 yards, 6 TD
Antonio Hinojosa, Mountain Pointe: 253 yards, 4 TD
Jack Johnson, Scottsdale Christian: 250 yards, 2 TD
Payton Haslam, Mesquite: 222 yards, 3 TD
Zach Werlinger, Basha: 207 yards, 2 TD
Jeddediah Fagg, Williams Field: 203 yards. TD
RJ Rhiner, Corona del Sol: 185 yards, TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 177 yards, 4 TD
James Sosinski, Hamilton: 149 yards
Brian Woodward, Brophy: 134 yards, 3 TD
The Buffaloes have been very impressive in the two games since running back Kam’ron Johnson returned from suspension. Tempe scored 51 points in a win over Flagstaff Coconino and 69 in a victory over McClintock to move to 3-0 on the year. Quarterback Emanuel Gant leads the East Valley with 1,022 passing yards through three games and has 10 touchdowns against only two interceptions. Johnson has 249 rushing yards in only two games while wide receiver Massiah Smith already has 407 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Thunderbird won a state championship three years ago but is not the same team without star running back Kani Benoit, who graduated after last season and went to Oregon. The Chiefs will have a hard time slowing down the high-powered Buffaloes offense in this one.
Prediction: Tempe 41, Thunderbird 17
-- Kyle Odegard
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 402 yards, 5 TD
Bryce Perkins, Chandler: 376 yards, 2 TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 359 yards, 6 TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 356 yards, 5 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe (pictured): 345 yards, 5 TD
Russell Corriveau, Poston Butte: 323 yards, 2 TD
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 308 yards, 2 TD
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 303 yards, 5 TD
John Clark, Mountain View: 301 yards, 3 TD
Zach Werlinger, Basha: 271 yards, 4 TD
Sean Paul Brophy, Chaparral: 259 yards, 3 TD
Blake Young, Highland: 205 yards, 2 TD
Payton Haslam, Mesquite: 202 yards, TD
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 189 yards, 2 TD
Michael Amado, Skyline: 170 yards, 3 TD
Since a relatively slow season opener in a win over Maricopa, Tempe has rolled, especially offensively. With Emanuel Gant and his receivers running up and down the field and Kam’ron Johnson running the ball, the Buffaloes have been hard to stop in a 5-0 start to the season. Phoenix Washington is on a three-game winning streak after an 0-2 start and Antwaine Marlow (116 carries, 759 yards, 6 TD) has been a workhorse. He’s priority No. 1 for the Buffaloes’ defense, and though Washington has some balance to its offense (especially the past couple weeks), Tempe won this matchup last year, 62-20, and the Buffaloes appear to be a better team this year. There’s a decent chance this is the last stop between Tempe and a perfect regular season...
Prediction: Tempe 38, Washington 17
-- Mark Heller
Tempe's quarterback Emanuel Gant gains some yards against McClintock during their football game, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Tempe high school. [Brant Clinard/ Special to Tribune]
10. Higley 5-1...
9. Tempe 5-1...
8. Canyon del Oro 5-1...
7. Sabino 4-2...
6. Shadow Ridge 5-1...
Higley remains at No. 10 with an easy win over South Mountain. Tempe drops from the ranks of unbeaten with a 70-49 loss to Washington and drops three spots. The Buffaloes also lost star quarterback Emanuel Gant to an arm injury late in the contest, as the team deals with its first adversity of the year. Canyon del Oro, Sabino and Shadow Ridge each won this week and move up a spot.
Friday night’s undefeated city rivalry game between Tempe and Tempe McClintock turned into the Tempe High Offensive Show.
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 435 yards passing, 4 TD
Dalton Sneed, Horizon (pictured): 372 yards, 2 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 348 yards, 4 TD
Dominic Orona, McClintock: 345 pass yards, 4 TD
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 340 yards, 5 TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 331 yards, 6 TD
Luke Pineda, Campo Verde: 241 yards, 3 TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 225 yards, TD
Sammy Sasso, Hamilton: 225 yards, TD
Antonio Hinojosa, Mountain Pointe: 216 yards, 2 TD
Matt Munsil, Scottsdale Prep: 212 yards, 4 TD
Zach Werlinger, Basha: 210 yards, 2 TD
John Clark, Mountain View: 187 yards, 4 TD
A pair of local stars are expected to make their season debuts on Friday.
Games between Maricopa and Tempe rarely finish without at least a little drama as the clock creeps closer and closer to zero. This time, though, it was the Buffaloes that came out on top with a 16-14 home victory against the Rams on Friday night.
Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant surveys the field during the Buffaloes' 16-14 win against Maricopa on Aug. 30, 2013. [Reina Yap/Special to Tribune]
Outlook: It took a couple years for Matt Lewis to put his coaching imprint on the McClintock football program. He admits he had to be tougher in his first year to get the right kids in the program and get the wrong ones out. Since then, he’s slowly lightened up, ready to now enjoy the process with the players who have gone through the transition with him. The No. 1 sign it’s working? Despite a 2-8 season in 2012, the participation numbers at the school are improving.
Outlook: Tempe is ready for the next rung.
In the past week, we’ve revealed 10 of the top football players to watch on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball in 2013. Sometimes, though, it’s the under-the-radar guys who make as big of an impact.