Here are the top storylines heading into the final week of the regular season:
It's March Madness Bracketology in late October. Corona del Sol (No. 14) might get in even if the Aztecs don't beat Hamilton this week, and Mountain Pointe (No. 17) should get in with a win, but Mesquite (No. 18) is in trouble if it can't beat a good Glendale Deer Valley team. The Nos. 2 through 7 spots in Division I will also be interesting in terms of matchups and bracket positioning. Div. II Chaparral and Div. III Saguaro may not like each other, but they might want to play their starters because a win/loss could move both schools down a couple spots in their respective divisions. Perry (No. 10) wants a home game in Div. II. Notre Dame (No. 17) is trying to sneak in after a brutal start and the absence of coach Scot Bemis but needs help. Higley has to beat Arcadia in Div. III and jostle with Campo Verde for a final playoff spot, and upstart Scottsdale Christian (No. 10 in Div. V) is red-hot while also chasing a home game in the first round.
Poston Butte and Campo Verde are both in the first year of varsity competition, and have a good chance to make the Division III postseason. The Broncos simply need to beat a 2-7 Apache Junction team and they will qualify. Campo Verde is currently 17th in the power point rankings, but a win over Casa Grande Vista Grande, coupled with a loss by Higley to Arcadia, would likely sneak them into the postseason. Both teams have been competitive immediately, and a berth in the playoffs would be a good first step as they look to establish themselves in the East Valley.
Mesa schools struggles
Mesa made the 5A-I championship game two seasons ago and Mountain View was a local power just a few years before that, but the teams face off in the season finale with a combined record of 6-12. The Toros started off the year badly but have seemed to improve as it has gone on, although they aren't anywhere near the Mountain View teams of old. The Jackrabbits are limited athletically, and while they did win three in a row in the middle of their schedule, the team will finish with a losing record for the second straight season after that magical run to the title game. Still, this is a game between teams close in proximity with great history, and the winner will go into the offseason with a better taste in its mouth.
Mountain Pointe's push
Everyone knew this was coming, and the teams at the top of Division I are all hoping to avoid Mountain Pointe in the first round. The Pride have won three straight games after a tough early schedule, and will improve to 6-4 with a win over Westwood on Friday. If Corona del Sol loses to Hamilton, Mountain Pointe would likely get into the playoffs. While the Pride have lost in double digits to Hamilton, Chandler, Desert Vista and Brophy this year, they are the team at the bottom of standings that strikes the most fear in the other teams.
Poised for perfection
Everyone knows some of the best moves in life (and, in this case, football) are the ones you don't make. Seton Catholic stayed in Div. IV, and, despite being on the bottom enrollment-wise, the Sentinels have flourished without having to play a bounty of schools who are now in Division III as they did when Seton was in 4A Division II. Ryan Bresnahan has been outstanding (.704 completion percentage, 37 TD, 1 INT) and Adam Engelbert and Matt Haggerty out wide have had their way with defenses. The Sentinels have a great chance to run the table by beating 2-7 Bourgade Catholic, and earn no worse than the No. 3 seed.