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Posted: Monday, September 18, 2006 11:26 pm | Updated: 2:20 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It wasn't a good weekend for the Phoenix Desert Vista football team. First came a 27-3 loss to Mesa Mountain View on Friday. Then came the really bad news.

Thunder coach Dan Hinds said starting running back/linebacker Avory Battle is expected to miss at least four to six weeks after suffering a fractured ankle early in the game.

Hinds said Battle visited doctors Monday afternoon to determine whether surgery is needed. If so, there's a chance he could miss the rest of the season.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior is the team's big-play threat along with his brother, Allante.

Mario Abbadessa and John Trujillo likely will share the carries in the backfield for Desert Vista, which faces Gilbert Mesquite on Thursday.

Allante Battle saw limited action Friday after taking a helmet on his knee, but Hinds said the swelling was reduced Monday and he believes Allante will be ready for this week's game.

"He's the greatest kid in the world," Hinds said of Avory Battle. "We'll have to wait and see. For now, the other guys will have to make plays."

FOOTBALL

QB competition:

After three games, Mesa Westwood coach Eddy Zubey is opening up the quarterback race between incumbent Eric Ramirez and newcomer Brandon Large.

Ramirez has started all three games, but Zubey will have the players share reps in practice this week hoping for a better performance behind center. Ramirez has completed 12 of 15 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Large saw time against Mountain Pointe in the opener and was 3-of-8 for 120 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Back in the game:

Apache Junction will get a boost for their game this week at Cottonwood Mingus when running back Dalton Hoch returns to the lineup. He missed the Prospectors' victory over Page last Friday while nursing a sore ankle and hand.

Hoch will be needed considering the Prospectors are down a man for the season in the backfield. Fullback Tripper Meason suffered a season-ending knee injury 11 days ago.

Not surprised: It may seem surprising that Gilbert Higley knocked off previously unbeaten Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep last Friday to move to 3-0, but Knights coach Jim Beall figured his team would be in this spot.

"I really expected this," said Beall, whose team was just 3-7 last season, the first in 4A Division II after moving up from 3A. "These seniors as sophomores went undefeated. These kids took off in the offseason."

The Knights' next obstacle comes Friday night when they play host to a good Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain team.

BASEBALL

International flair:

Scottsdale Horizon players Tim Alderson and Kevin Rhoderick, along with Phoenix Brophy's Matt Newman, are in Cuba playing for the U.S. junior national team.

The three players went through a tryout in Atlanta last week. The three made the 18-player squad, flew to Cuba on Sunday and will be there for two weeks.

The team's results can be found at www.usabaseball.com.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Rankings are out:

With region play in full swing and a tournament or two in the books for just about everyone, the power-point rankings have taken shape.

In 5A Division I, nine of the top 10 are East Valley schools. One through 10 entering play tonight are: 1. Gilbert, 2. Gilbert Highland, 3. Mesa, 4. Phoenix Xavier, 5. Mesa Mountain View, 6. Mountain Pointe, 7. Tempe Corona del Sol, 8. Chandler, 9. Glendale Mountain Ridge and 10. Phoenix St. Mary's.

The top five in 5A-II are unbeaten Glendale Ironwood, Tempe Marcos de Niza, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Peoria Sunrise Mountain and Peoria Centennial.

In 4A-I the top spot belongs to Glendale Cactus, followed by Scottsdale schools Chaparral and Saguaro, Tucson Ironwood Ridge and Goodyear Millennium.

In 4A-II the top team is unbeaten Phoenix Sunnyslope, followed by Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, Phoenix Arcadia, Flagstaff, Notre Dame Prep, Phoenix Cortez and Queen Creek.

Staff writers Les Willsey and Brad Falduto contributed to this report.

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