Several East Valley teams have designs on championships - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Several East Valley teams have designs on championships

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Posted: Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:20 pm | Updated: 3:09 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

As we embark on a new season, one thing is certain in the 4A, 3A and 2A conferences: East Valley teams are in the mix as state title contenders.

In 4A Division I, Scottsdale Chaparral remains an annual state title contender. Graduation hit the Firebirds hard in the skill positions, but they have a solid offensive line. And hey, the Firebirds don’t rebuild; they reload. The big question mark for the Firebirds will be how former defensive back Casey Lytle adapts to playing quarterback.

Scottsdale Saguaro also should be a player in 4A-I. The Sabercats have

most of their starters back and expect to have a formidable defense.

If they can put up points, they should enjoy a highly successful season. Tempe McClintock went two games into the playoffs last season and should be respected and Phoenix Pinnacle made its first playoff appearance ever.

In 4A Division II, Phoenix Arcadia gets the label of team to beat, even

though coach Jim Bevell would argue that point. Sure, after going 12-1 last

year, the Titans lost most everyone up front offensively. But they have

running back Chip Sivak back. All he needs is a little seam and he is good

for 20 yards. Also back is quarterback Alec McDuffie, a good runner

who should be even better after putting on 20 pounds of muscle.

Queen Creek lost most of its starters, but the Bulldogs don’t seem to

worry about such things under coach Curt LeBlanc. They will hit you and

play great defense. If they can put up points, they could be in the state title

picture.

State champion Coolidge has 16 starters back, meaning the Bears are the hands-on favorite in 3A.

Quarterback Jesse Wheeler makes the Bears go — and they should go far. Running back T.J. White also is a big threat.

Potential challengers to Coolidge include Fountain Hills, which has another one of coach Jim Fairfield’s sons at quarterback in Jason Fairfield; Chandler Seton Catholic; and Florence.

In 2A, state champion Chandler Valley Christian was decimated by

graduation. That should open the door for perennial powerhouse Phoenix

Christian. Yet the Trojans will not go down without a fight.

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