Titans of ’Tukee
Just another game? Technically, yes, if only the standings matter. Outside of the standings, there’s no chance Desert Vista vs. Mountain Pointe is viewed as merely the next in line (sorry coaches). The four miles between schools lent itself to families moving from one school to another this summer. The Thunder dominated this rivalry for several years until Norris Vaughan arrived in 2009. The Thunder were banged up heading into last year’s tussle, but not so much this time with two blowout victories and a bye week leading up to this one. Given both teams’ talent, this will be the most competitive, evenly-played, talented ’Tukee Bowl in a long time. Who not only makes the plays, but keeps composure through a highly-charged atmosphere?
Prediction: Mountain Pointe 21, Desert Vista 20
— Mark Heller
Corona del Sol at Dobson
Dobson has been one of the early-season surprises, defeating Westwood and Desert Mountain to begin the year 2-0. The Mustangs have one of the top running backs in the East Valley in T.J. Thomas, and the Aztecs must control him. Corona del Sol was routed by Basha in its season opener, but bounced back to defeat Westwood last time out, and the team already looks quite a bit more competitive with new coach Tom Joseph at the helm. Both of these teams have playoff ambitions, so it’s an important contest for each side.
Prediction: Corona del Sol 24, Dobson 20
— Kyle Odegard
Mountain View at Skyline
Confidence and a belief in what you are doing can go a long way for a high school football team. At this point in the season, Skyline believes, while Mountain View isn’t quite sure what it’s doing just yet. Skyline quarterback Michael Amado has thrown for 374 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two games, easy wins over Kingman and Carl Hayden, without an interception. Skyline has also spread the ball around, with six different players finding the end zone so far. Meanwhile, Mountain View has scored just two touchdowns in its first two games and has five turnovers. This game will likely be a close one, with one or two big plays late in the game deciding things. Right now, Skyline is making those plays, while Mountain View is falling short.
Prediction: Skyline 28, Mountain View 24
— Steve Burks
Perry at Queen Creek
Neither team has faced stiff competition, although both squads did have trouble putting away a pesky Casa Grande team. The teams are similar, as they each had success last season but lost several starters on both sides of the ball. Queen Creek made the 4A Division I semifinals last year and Perry qualified for the 5A Division II postseason. This game should be an early indication of the potential of both groups. The Bulldogs and the Pumas are both 2-0 to start the year, and I believe Perry will be the team keeping the unblemished record by the end of the night.
Prediction: Perry 20, Queen Creek 14
— Kyle Odegard
Poston Butte at Higley
It’s still tricky to gauge where Poston Butte lies in the pecking order during its first varsity schedule. The Broncos have wins against Flagstaff and Tempe, but the competition uptick is substantial this week. It’s a great measure for Mike De La Torre’s team, and to measure up they’ll have to stop a hot Higley passing game led by quarterback Eric Kump (416 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT in two games). The Knights have been balanced, and while the defense has played well so far, getting through Higley’s big offensive line and containing the Knights’ passing game is a new level of difficulty.
Prediction: Higley 34, Poston Butte 17
— Mark Heller