Cactus Shadows signal-caller Bryce Kinsler set a state record by throwing for 639 yards in a 63-49 loss to Precott last Friday. Desert Mountain quarterback Kyle Allen and Red Mountain’s Mason Thorman tied a 5A record with six touchdown passes apiece. Tempe’s Emanuel Gant and Paradise Valley’s Ryan Finley each threw five touchdowns apiece. Several state records are in jeopardy if these signal-callers continue on this torrid pace.
Six of the top-7 ranked teams in Division I play each other on Friday, while the other — Desert Vista — faces off with Division III power and No. 1-ranked Saguaro, which has won five state titles in the last six years. Parity has been a common theme this year, as the playoffs could prove to be as unpredictable as we’ve seen in recent years. However, there is still time for one of the top dogs to make its mark as the favorite. The Mountain Pointe-Brophy, Chandler-Hamilton and Red Mountain-Desert Ridge winners will all make a big statement on Friday.
Close the gap?
Only 2.6 miles separate Williams Field and Higley, but the two schools have been miles apart competitively in this neighborhood showdown since it began four years ago. The Black Hawks have won all three meetings to date by an average of 24 points. Williams Field is favored again this year at home, but Higley believes it can close the gap with a 1-2 punch of Mythias Young and Thomas Bush running the ball. The Knights will try and keep possessions to a minimum by getting first downs and playing “keep away.” The Black Hawks have taken care of the ball and eliminated penalties in the past couple weeks, and without forcing some Black Hawk miscues, the Knights will be in trouble.
Gilbert vs. Mesa
Storied programs currently struggling will try and right the ship against one another around Mesa and Gilbert schools. Mesa and Westwood will tangle as each tries to end a losing streak. Mesa struggled offensively in a loss to Dobson last week, while the Warriors are trying to snap a four-game losing streak suffered since an opening week win against the Mustangs. Further south, Mesquite was poised to finally get in the win column two weeks ago but Gilbert ruined those plans in a nail-biter, and the Wildcats lost to Hamilton last week. The Wildcats head to Dobson this week where the Mustangs found some reasons to smile last week in earning the school’s first win under George De La Torre.