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All-Tribune First Team Offense
Hamilton's Jalen Jenkins tackles Pinnacle running back Josh Hoekstra as Hamilton defensive players Santana Sterling and Hunter Jensen move in while taking on Pinnacle, Friday, November 15, 2013 at Hamilton. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
There are as many schools of thought on the whole advantage-disadvantage debate in "rematch" games as there are rematch games this week in the state tournament quarterfinals.
These matchups are inevitable. Whether sooner or later, a second helping is almost always required for a football team to play on.
Wakeup calls come in all shapes and sizes this time of year. For No.6-seeded Pinnacle, it came in the form of a 12-second deficit.
We all know about the Chaparral-Desert Mountain and Chaparral-Saguaro rivalry matchups in Scottsdale, but another has wedged itself into the mix, at least for this year (and hopefully beyond).
Homecoming night wasn’t touted Pinnacle junior quarterback Brian Lewerke’s highlight-reel game.
This is pretty much the determinant of the Division I, Section V winner, but for Horizon, it’s also a big boost in competition, perhaps the best since a Week 1 matchup against Marcos de Niza (Horizon beat up Desert Mountain in late September, but the Wolves were missing a half-dozen starters that night from injuries, so it’s an impressive win for sure but didn’t offer a thorough assessment of Horizon). Pinnacle’s defense will be the best Horizon has seen this year, but will that matter? The Huskies have exploded offensively all season behind Player of the Year candidates Luke Quinn and Dalton Snead. Neither side is particularly big up front (offensive or defensive lines), so that could become a factor one way or another. Pinnacle will try and run the ball with Josh Hoekstra to do its best to keep Horizon’s offense off the field, and Horizon wants to “motor” with no huddles, quick-developing plays and many of them to keep Pinnacle’s defense on the field and force the Pioneers into being “perfect” score for score. Shootout anyone?
Prediction: Horizon 41, Pinnacle 34
-- Mark Heller
Pinnacle couldn’t stomach another loss.
Pinnacle running back Josh Hoekstra and Basha's Christian Mederos go for a fumble during the game, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in Chandler. [Brant Clinard/ Special to Tribune]
Basha made a big statement with a 35-21 win over Pinnacle last week. Quarterback Zach Werlinger was very impressive, but the most notable development was the Bears’ stout run defense against Pioneers star rusher Josh Hoekstra, who amassed just 45 yards on 20 carries. Westview is very run heavy, and while the Bears aren’t expected to hold the Knights under three yards per rush, another solid performance by the front seven would be very encouraging. Werlinger did a great job of protecting the ball — only one interception — even though he threw 49 times against Pinnacle. If he can produce a similar effort against the Knights, Basha’s offense should score enough to get the victory...
Prediction: Basha 24, Westview 21
-- Kyle Odegard
The Toros have started 4-0 and put together the best game of their season last time out in a thrashing of Perry. Clark Brown is one of the top receivers in the state, and he will likely give Pinnacle fits. Basha didn’t run the ball much at all and was still able to score 35 points on the Pioneers. If the Pinnacle can’t shore up its passing defense, the Toros could score a similar amount. The Pioneers have better balance on offense, but running back Josh Hoekstra couldn’t do much last week against the Bears. He should have more success against Mountain View, but Pinnacle needs some big plays to put more points on the board. This one should be close. If Pinnacle can slow down the Mountain View passing game, it should win. If the Toros can successfully throw, they can pull off the upset...
Prediction: Mountain View 28, Pinnacle 27
-- Kyle Odegard
Basha quarterback Zach Werlinger knows it’s impossible for a football team to throw the ball 100 percent of the time on offense.
The Pioneers came close to pulling off the upset of the year against top-ranked Hamilton last Thursday. Pinnacle proved it can hang with the Division I big boys, but now it must avoid a hangover situation and rebound against a tough Basha team. The Pioneers have impressive balance this year and should be able to put up points behind running back Josh Hoekstra, quarterback Brian Lewerke and wide receiver Daniel Galindo. Basha quarterback Zach Werlinger has been very good early on (854 yards passing, 10 TD, INT), but the running game is worrisome. Tailback Rajhan Meriwether is averaging only 3.47 yards per carry, and an over-reliance on the pass increases the risk of turnovers. Basha has been an elite Division I program for several seasons, but has a couple weaknesses which need to be shored up. Pinnacle has been impressive thus far but has not been the same type of year-in, year-out contender as the Bears. This one is very hard to handicap and could certainly go either way.
Prediction: Pinnacle 35, Basha 34
-- Kyle Odegard
The Pioneers lost their first game of the season on Thursday night, but it may have been their most impressive showing. Pinnacle hung with top-ranked Hamilton from beginning to end in a 24-20 loss. Quarterback Brian Lewerke shook off a slow start to put his team ahead late in the third quarter and Josh Hoekstra ran well against an intimidating Huskies defense. Pinnacle remains at No. 6 despite the loss.
The last time Hamilton lost a home football game, George W. Bush was on the verge of being reelected as President.
Pinnacle (2-0) appears on its way to being a better team than the past couple season - something it reiterated during the preseason - and here's one game to find out. The Pioneers' Josh Hoekstra is off to another good start this season after his breakout 2012 campaign, and Brian Lewerke can make all the throws, which he has as he acclimates to weekly varsity competition. Whether they can move the ball against Hamilton's defense, which has been as good as advertised most of the first two weeks, is the biggest issue. Pinnacle must be disciplined in its assignments and tackling against Hamilton's running game and the Huskies' big offensive line, but the question remains whether the Pioneers will put up enough points. Pinnacle can play with Hamilton, but winning is another matter.
Prediction: Hamilton 24, Pinnacle 16
Taren Morrison, Desert Ridge: 283 yards, 3 TD...
Luke Quinn, Horizon: 187 yards, 3 TD...
Ryan Velez, Brophy: 185 yards, 2 TD...
Josh Hoekstra, Pinnacle: 179 yards, 2 TD...
Tyler Whiley, Chaparral (pictured): 173 yards, TD (3 rec. TD)...
Rajhan Meriwether, Basha: 152 yards, 3 TD...
Antonio Campanella, Seton Catholic: 138 yards, 4 TD...
Isaiah Brittain, Tempe Prep: 121 yards, 2 TD
Wesley Payne, Mountain Pointe: 113 yards, 2 TD
Justin Irby, Desert Ridge: 101 yards, 2 TD
Mason Johnson, Higley: 91 yards, 2 TD
Logan Ruppert, Skyline: 278 yards, 2 TD
Joe Kuhlmann, Cactus Shadows: 257 yards, 4 TD
Dezmond Sueing, Westwood: 185 yards, 3 TD
Ryan McCord, Highland: 178 yards, 2 TD
Elijah Castro, Chaparral (pictured): 177 yards, 4 TD
Ricky Marshall, Higley: 164 yards, 4 TD
Turrell Pietz-Noble, Mesa: 160 yards
Gabe Lopez, Skyline: 152 yards, 2 TD
Josh Hoekstra, Pinnacle: 149 yards, TD
Brandon Hatfield, Poston Butte: 139 yards, 3 TD
Bryce Perkins, Chandler: 126 yards, 3 TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 125 yards, 2 TD
Nicholas Bush, Higley: 123 yards, TD
Brennen Dobson, Red Mountain: 120 yards, TD
Matt Guida, Queen Creek: 114 yards, 3 TD
Sometimes a shift is so gradual, its effect isn’t realized until an event forces retrospection.
The Pioneers made a statement in its opener, defeating a tough Red Mountain team. Brian Lewerke threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start while running back Josh Hoekstra (pictured) had 149 yards and a score. It was a great start and the Pioneers move up a spot in the rankings.
Outlook: For years Pinnacle has been a playoff participant, but more often than not, the season ended prematurely.
A perennial playoff team for years under Dana Zupke, the Pioneers appear to be much the same. What’s shaping up to be a tougher schedule than the past couple seasons should help that cause (win or lose) after last year’s sour ending to Week 10 (blowout loss to Brophy) and the playoffs (blowout loss to Avondale Westview) after a big win against Desert Mountain in Week 9.
QB Brian Lewerke saw short stints of action last year and takes the reigns this year, and the Pioneers are understandably excited about his potential since the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder already has a Division I college offer from Arizona State. It’ll sure help having RB Josh Hoekstra behind him (1,538 yards, 16 TD) along with nearly the entire WR crew from last year led by Daniel Galindo and Cules Rose. Cole Neubauer, Trevor Colceri and Rose will lead a solid defense.
Outlook: The Mountain View football program is not back to the powerhouse it was in the 1980s and 1990s, and with the way the landscape has changed, it may never get there. However, for the first time in a decade, the Toros seem to be trending in an upward direction, back to where playoff berths are a formality and a postseason run expected.