Week 1 football predictions:
Westview at Red Mountain
“Running Back High” is Avondale Westview’s moniker in recent years for Jeff Bowen’s program’s ability to develop top-notch high schoolers, and now-senior Seivion Morris (1,111 yards rushing, 13 TDs in 2011) is going to be Red Mountain’s biggest priority (and worry). If there ever was a time to play Westview, it’d be now as opposed to, say, six weeks from now. The Knights are young and inexperienced throughout the lineup and the Lions have the offensive balance to move the ball just enough. Westview’s defense will be good, but Red Mountain at home will avoid making enough mistakes and turnovers to squeak by.
Prediction: Red Mountain 17, Westview 13
— Mark Heller
Hamilton at Mountain Pointe
The Huskies have had all offseason to stew after losing last year’s state championship game to Desert Vista. Hamilton’s defense looks like the best in the state, featuring defensive backs Cole Luke and Josiah Pola-Gates, linebacker Santana Sterling and defensive lineman Qualen Cunningham. Allen Thigpen is taking over at quarterback, and it will be interesting to see how he and Hamilton fares against a tough Mountain Pointe defense. The Pride has a top-notch offensive line and star athlete Jalen Brown on both sides of the ball, but the offense is also a question mark. This could be a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Hamilton 21, Mountain Pointe 10
- Kyle Odegard
Marcos de Niza at Notre Dame
Few have a more brutal schedule to begin the season than Notre Dame (Marcos, Father Judge (PA) in Ireland, Hamilton), so it’s a good thing a few Saints know what they’re doing. The backfield of Luke Taffuri and Nick Cole will help new QB Nick Duckworth, but this is a tough spot to make a varsity debut after Jordan Gehrke was under center the past two seasons. Defense figures to be Marcos de Niza’s forte, especially early. Duckworth has a strong, accurate arm, but first-game jitters won’t be soothed by Marcos’ defense led by cornerback Priest Willis and Derek Craig. The Padres’ speed and depth could cause Notre Dame problems in the heat.
Prediction: Marcos de Niza 24, Notre Dame 14
— Mark Heller
Santa Margarita (Calif.) vs. Brophy (at Phoenix College)
This could be a huge statement game, not only for Brophy but the entire state of Arizona. Santa Margarita has been ranked as the No. 1 team in the country by Rivals.com and has Division I athletes littering the field. Brophy has a wealth of talent as well, led by quarterback Tyler Bruggman and wide receiver Devon Allen, but may not have the overall depth to play with Santa Margarita. The Broncos play Mountain Ridge on Wednesday in a scheduling quirk, and while it should help to get a game of experience under their belt, two days rest is not optimal. This may come down to Brophy’s ability to run the ball, because if Santa Margarita can afford to bracket Allen and not respect the run, the Broncos will have trouble moving the ball.
Prediction: Santa Margarita 38, Brophy 24
— Kyle Odegard