Week 2 football predictions:
Marcos de Niza at Chaparral: Remember last year when Chaparral lost to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) in the Barry Sollenberger Classic, then pulled out a mistake-filled victory against Tucson Salpointe Catholic the following week? The pressure was on to beat a top-notch Marcos de Niza on the road, and the Firebirds did just that in a 24-6 win. This Firebirds team is completely different and inexperienced than the 2011, but Chaparral has a history of bouncing back, as they’ll have to after a 27-20 loss to Salpointe in Week 1. The problem here is Marcos has athletes and experience, and the Firebirds have struggled out of the gate offensively with both turnovers and running the ball. This matchup should bring out the best of both sides, but Marcos’ defense is good, and this isn’t a good week for Chaparral’s young offense to get on track, even at home.
Prediction: Marcos de Niza 21, Chaparral 17
Corona del Sol at Westwood: A nice debut for the Warriors last week behind QB McKay Tingey and RB Raekwon Robinson ushered in a win to begin coach Spencer Stowers’ tenure. Corona’s season wasn’t so pleasant as the Aztecs were thrashed by Basha. Week 2 should serve Corona well, however, and Westwood will face a slightly tougher test defensively than last week. Though not necessarily a “heavyweight” matchup, this one has all the ingredients for going down to the wire. This week, Corona makes one or two more plays.
Prediction: Corona del Sol 20, Westwood 17
Campo Verde at Higley: Higley scored more points (44) against Campo Verde than anyone else did last season behind the arm of quarterback Eric Kump. If the first game is any indication, the Knights will rely much more on its ground game this season after rushing for 344 yards and passing for 25 in an easy win over Carl Hayden. Campo Verde likes to run the ball, too, so there may not be too much razzle dazzle in this contest.
Prediction: Campo Verde 27, Higley 22
-- Kyle Odegard
Poston Butte at Tempe
Emanuel Gant was the rare freshman starting quarterback on varsity last season for the Buffaloes and went through some growing pains. He looked like a seasoned veteran last week against McClintock, throwing for 290 yards with four touchdowns in a 32-28 win, Tempe’s first win in the rivalry since 2004. His main target is Sebastian Watkins, and if they can continue to put up big numbers, the Buffaloes may keep this game competitive. Poston Butte quarterback Robert Herrera was also impressive, throwing for 264 yards and three touchdowns in an easy win against Flagstaff. Tempe is definitely improved from a season ago, but probably not on the level of Poston Butte quite yet.
Prediction: Poston Butte 45, Tempe 17
-- Kyle Odegard
Highland at Gilbert:
Are the Hawks for real? Highland dispatched Mesquite easily last week and now has its sight set on another intracity rival. Gilbert could not hang with Desert Ridge in its season opener, but that wasn’t a huge surprise. Highland’s defense shut down Mesquite, while the Tigers couldn’t get much going against the Jaguars, so this could be a low-scoring affair. The pecking order in Gilbert will be pretty easy to ascertain if the Hawks take care of business in this one.
Prediction: Highland 17, Gilbert 7
-- Kyle Odegard