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Campo Verde tight end Bridger Rodoni, front, and Tempe defensive back Massiah Smith, rear, battle for the ball in the first half Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.[Paul Connors/Special to Tribune]
Doc O’Connor, Basha: 159 yards...
Massiah Smith, Tempe: 156 yards, 2 TD...
Clark Brown, Mountain View: 154 yards, 2 TD...
Daniel Galindo, Pinnacle (pictured): 153 yards, TD...
Jared Schmidt, Basha: 146 yards, TD...
Trevor Wood, Chaparral: 107 yards, TD...
Trent Gilbert, Higley: 106 yards.
Massiah Smith, Tempe: 165 yards, 5 TD
Doc O’Connor, Basha: 156 yards, 2 TD
Ben McKeighan, Scottsdale Prep: 132 yards, TD
Daniel Schembri, Scottsdale Christian: 127 yards, 2 TD
Cole Lenderink, Scottsdale Christian: 123 yards, TD
Matt Munsil, Scottsdale Prep: 113 yards, 2 TD
Cruz Olivarez, Desert Mountain: 110 yards, TD
George Wolter, Seton Catholic: 100 yards, 3 TD
Juan Giraldo, Mesquite (pictured): 96 yards, 3 TD
Kyree King, McClintock: 225 yards
Massiah Smith, Tempe: 175 yards, 2 TD
J.T. Nettleton, Saguaro (left, pictured): 173 yards, 2 TD
Jordan Brown, Paradise Valley: 146 yards, 3 TD
Zach Compestine, Paradise Valley: 139 yards, TD
Jake Lagunas, Marcos de Niza: 126 rec. yards, TD
Ben McKeighan, Scottsdale Prep: 126 yards, 3 TD
Cory Anderson, Skyline: 111 yards, 2 TD
Brandon Krcilek, Hamilton: 110 yards
Jordan Fickas, Campo Verde: 100 yards, 2 TD
Mark Andrews, Desert Mountain: 79 yards, TD
10. Agua Fria — Several impact offensive starters return, including RB Jordan Green (1,196 rushing yards) and WR Marquice Paige (644 rec. yards, 803 rush yards). The defense has some holes to fill but another winning season is likely.
9. Peoria — It was a transition year for Panthers in 2012 as they suffered their first losing season since 2005, but several offensive pieces are in place for a turnaround season.
8. Tempe — Depth is an issue, but QB Emanuel Gant (pictured above) returns, as do top weapons Sebastian Watkins and Massiah Smith. With the addition of RB Kamron Johnson from Marcos de Niza, the Buffaloes should score points, but they must stop people on the other end.
Kamron Johnson, Jr., RB/DB, Tempe
Even though he was stuck behind Division I running back recruit Mauriece Lee at Marcos de Niza last season, Johnson made his touches count. He carried the ball 22 times for 266 yards (a 12.09 yards-per-carry average) with three touchdowns and caught 12 passes for 265 yards and three more scores. Johnson would have been a big part of the Padres’ offense this season, but he instead transferred to Tempe. The Buffaloes had a five-win turnaround last year, and with Johnson added to the trio of quarterback Emanuel Gant and wide receivers Sebastian Watkins and Massiah Smith, the expectations are even higher in 2013.
Massiah Smith, Tempe: 155 yards
Jalen Brown, Mountain Pointe (pictured): 139 yards, 2 TD
Nathan Agnes, Seton Catholic: 135 yards
Kole Hunter, Higley: 116 yards, TD
Kristian Salinas, Horizon: 115 yards, 2 TD
Nick Colson, Higley: 109 yards
Mark Andrews, Desert Mountain: 106 yards
Dezmond Sueing, Westwood: 100 yards
Sebastian Watkins, Tempe: 98 yards, 2 TD
Israel Simpson, Chaparral: 96 yards
Erick Belcher, Campo Verde: 95 yards, TD
Brenden Best, Paradise Valley: 95 yards
Hansen Williams, Mountain View: 85 yards
Chase Lucas, Chandler: 84 yards, TD
Trent Gilbert, Higley: 83 yards, 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
Outlook: Tempe is ready for the next rung.
One week after an injury-filled forfeit loss to Saguaro, Tempe rebounded with a dominating win over visiting Coronado.
Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant has a good weekly game of pitch-and-catch going on.
Tempe stopped a fourth-quarter two-point attempt and a drive in the final minutes Friday night, holding on to defeat Division III opponent Poston Butte 28-27.
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.
Only 22 minutes of football was played between Tempe and Saguaro Friday, but that was more than enough for the Buffaloes on this night.
Behind quarterback Emanual Gant, No. 10 Tempe nearly overcame a 21-point first quarter deficit versus host No. 7 Sabino, but Sabercats' running back Zach Joseph's fifth touchdown run late proved to be too much as Sabino defeated the pesky Buffaloes, 56-49, in the opening round of the Division III State football playoffs.
Any hope of a playoff berth for Tempe appear to have fallen apart after the Buffaloes’ 34-17 loss to Maricopa on Friday night.
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.
Matt Haggerty has been like a caged animal on defense recently.
Friday night’s undefeated city rivalry game between Tempe and Tempe McClintock turned into the Tempe High Offensive Show.
A collections of the top individual performances from Week 5 in the East Valley:
Poston Butte’s Dustin French and Robert Herrera each scored touchdown runs, as the Broncos held on to narrowly defeat host Coolidge 13-12 on Friday, thanks in-part to a Bears missed extra point and failed two-point conversion.
Many Tempe players took their lumps as young players, but they also gained experience and grew hungry for a win.
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.
Incredibly, this football regular season is halfway done. Here is a look at the notable teams, players and moments from the first five weeks of 2012: