Gilbert Highland and Mesa Skyline appealed their 5A region and division placements, respectively, Monday to the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board, with mixed results.
Highland’s appeal to move from the newly formed Central Region to the newly formed East Valley Region was accepted. Skyline’s appeal to shift from 5A Division I to 5A Division II was denied. Both appeals were the last opportunity for schools to argue alignments adopted by the conference earlier this month.
AIA executive director Dr. Harold Slemmer said Highland’s appeal was accepted based on its adherence to AIA bylaws that stipulate the importance of geographic location and loss of school time. Highland will join Mesa Dobson, Tempe Corona del Sol, Mesa Mountain View, Gilbert Mesquite, Gilbert and Chandler Basha in the East Valley Region.
Skyline’s appeal was to move to 5A Division II, where the school has found much more success from a competitive standpoint the last two years. The school had argued that its previous time (six seasons) in Division I had not been good for the school.
But competition is not stipulated in the bylaws. Skyline’s enrollment of 2,412 placed them in 5A-I after the conference split its 62 schools in half last month for the coming two-year block.
The upset of the week, regardless of conference, was Highland’s blanking of No. 4 seed Phoenix Desert Vista. It was the Hawks’ first playoff win since 2004, when they reached the state semifinals, and it was their third win in a row.
The Hawks have two consecutive shutouts and have not given up a point in 11 of their last 12 quarters.
Since 5A split into two divisions in 2005, it was the first time a top-four seed lost in the first round. The last time a top-four seed lost in the first round was in 2004, when Highland beat Mesa Westwood and Glendale Mountain Ridge knocked off No. 1 Paradise Valley.
Chandler Hamilton’s top rusher, Zach Bauman, sustained a sprained ankle in the first half of last week’s 49-0 playoff win over Phoenix North Canyon.
Hamilton coach Steve Belles believes Bauman will be ready to play Friday for the Huskies’ rematch with Chandler in the quarterfinals at Hamilton.
Chandler’s leading receiver, Markus Wheaton, was expected to see a doctor Monday to check on the status of an ankle sprain he suffered early in Friday’s win over Gilbert. Chandler coach Jim Ewan said he will know more on Wheaton’s availability later this week.
Ewan expects running backs Taylor Walstad and Jamil Hines to see action this week. Neither got a carry in last week’s game. Hines and Walstad are the Wolves’ leading two rushers.
Skyline marked new territory last Friday with its win over Avondale La Joya.
The Coyotes qualified for the playoffs last year for the first time, but were knocked out in the first round by Avondale Westview. The win over La Joya was Skyline’s first postseason football triumph since the school opened in 1999.
Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep and Cottonwood Mingus aren’t in the same region, but the two schools must feel like they are. For the third straight year, the Saints and Marauders are paired against each other in the postseason. This year’s meeting will take place in the quarterfinals Friday at Scottsdale Community College.
Notre Dame won last year’s matchup 49-32 in the 4A-II state title game after losing at Mingus 41-27 in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.
Starting running back Dwayne Garrett will be 100 percent for Friday’s game against Vail Cienega after missing the team’s first-round game against Avondale Agua Fria due to an illness, coach Charlie Ragle said.
Backup Cole Tyree ran for 172 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries before injuring his ankle in the third quarter.
Tyree is expected to play against the Bobcats.