If you peeked ahead on the schedule prior to the start of the season, you would have figured the matchup of Queen Creek at McClintock would have been a game about survival.
With Queen Creek having moved up from 3A to 4A Division II, the thinking was the Bulldogs would come into tonight with a .500 record, at best, and need a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With McClintock not known for fast starts, logic said the Chargers would need to win to keep playoff hopes afloat with tough 4A-I Desert Sky Region play just around the corner.
Instead, we have a battle of unbeatens.
Both teams enter tonight at 4-0 with adjusted goals: Staying hot, making the playoffs and going deep into the tournament.
"If we can get this one, we’re in a darn good position," McClintock coach Steve Campbell said. "Moving to 5-0 would be big."
Queen Creek coach Curt LeBlanc is realistic about the Bulldogs’ great start. While he is pleasantly surprised his team has found 4A to its liking, he is quick to point out the Bulldogs have not played the best teams the conference has to offer. Queen Creek has beaten Tucson Desert View, Bullhead City Mohave, Buckeye and Phoenix Cortez. Those teams own a collective record of 7-12.
"It sounds cliché, but we have not played well," LeBlanc said.
McClintock’s resumé is less impressive. The Chargers have beaten Tempe, Surprise Willow Canyon, Glendale Apollo and Tucson Amphitheater, teams whose combined record is 3-14. That probably explains why Campbell is leery of playing Queen Creek.
"It’s a scary matchup because Queen Creek is good," said Campbell. "High school football is about team confidence and learning how to win. They are learning how to win."
On paper, McClintock appears to have the edge defensively while the Bulldogs have been able to find the end zone more easily thus far.
"I think we have a shot," LeBlanc said. "We’re going against a team with athletes and can’t make mistakes."
Campbell echoed those thoughts.
"You have to find ways to stop beating yourself," he said. "That is what is important."