At www.whitemountainfootball.com, you can find everything you need to know about the current state of 3A football, including a message board — The Smack Board — where "experts" are more than happy to state their opinion.
What’s the general consensus from the experts this week? Second-ranked Queen Creek has no shot on the road against top-ranked Coolidge.
"QC is NOT that great of a football team. Coolidge will run all over them, or rather right by them," said AATRO408. "Coolidge by 3 TDs."
Another take, by football40: "QC isn’t even that good. I’ve played against them. . . I’d compare them with Santa Cruz, Seton or Sahuarita. Even though they beat Sahuarita, it wasn’t impressive, so I’m saying Coolidge 42-7."
So what do the Bulldogs think of all this?
"I’ve told them to ignore the ignorance," said Queen Creek coach Curt LeBlanc.
The Bulldogs and Bears couldn’t have been more impressive this year. Queen Creek has allowed just two touchdowns to 3A foes and has outscored opponents 279-37. The Bears, meanwhile, have been like a wrecking ball, topping foes by a cumulative 309-68.
"I think. . . a lot of teams, rightly so, are intimidated by their athleticism and the scores they put up. They do have athletes and they have plays they run very well," LeBlanc said. "If a team is not prepared to face that kind of effort, then they’re going to fold."
Coolidge has been without the services of all-state running back Elijah White since the second week and possibly won’t get him back this year. In his place, Coolidge has turned to junior quarterback Angel Felix and a rotating cast of running backs.
Bears coach Carlo Hernandez, though, said the glory should be heaped on the front line.
"The more and more I’ve looked at it, it’s not our backs that have stepped up, it’s our line," Hernandez said. "The guys that have been in have been able to make plays because of the holes formed by the line."
LeBlanc thinks his team may have an edge in the kicking game, while Hernandez thinks a close game against Snowflake in the opener and having to rally in the first half against Higley a week ago are experiences that will help Coolidge.
"They’re pretty quick and pretty fast across the board," Hernandez said of the Bulldogs. "Hopefully we’ll put kids in the right positions and they’ll make the plays. If we allow them to do things they want to do, it’s going to be a sad homecoming."