Here are some of the top storylines in week 2 of the high school football season:
Hamilton’s state of mind
Not since 2003 has Hamilton lost a season opener, but after last week’s 17-14 loss to Mountain Pointe, the Huskies must quickly heal. Winning against Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame Friday morning (Arizona time) in Dublin, Ireland would do wonders. Of course, the Huskies had to get through a week’s worth of extremely long travel, followed by practices, other team and social activities as part of the Global Football Ireland Tournament. Distractions, logistics, nightmares and stress galore as nearly 140 kids, coaches and staff took this trip.
Wonder at Westwood
Until Westwood beat Dobson last week in the season opener, the last time Westwood won its debut game in a season was 2007, an 8-7 victory against Gilbert under former coach Eddy Zubey. It was also the last time Westwood finished a football campaign with a winning record. Nobody is making that leap just yet with the Warriors, who’ll face a Corona del Sol team looking to rid itself of last week’s 45-13 loss to Basha. Spencer Stowers’ kids got an important chunk of positive reinforcement in beating their Mesa neighbors last week, but Tom Joseph’s Aztecs won’t be easy, and this one should be a close contest. Getting to 2-0 isn’t simple either. Westwood knows all about that.
Moving on up
Tempe had a very encouraging debut to 2012. The Buffaloes knocked off McClintock, 32-28, behind the strong play of quarterback Emanuel Gant (290 yards, 4 TD) and wide receiver Sebastian Watkins (12 catches, 203 yards, 3 TD). Tempe was crushed by the Chargers last season and hadn’t won this rivalry game since 2004, but looked like the better team from start to finish. The Buffaloes will face Poston Butte Friday, and a competitive showing would really turn some heads. The Broncos made the playoffs last season, their first playing varsity competition, and already have the look of a perennial postseason participant. Gant is only a sophomore and Watkins a junior for Tempe, so the future is bright. But if the Buffaloes put a scare into Poston Butte in this one, postseason talk becomes a legitimate possibility this year.
Marcos hoping to flip the script
This looks eerily similar. In its season opener on Friday, Marcos de Niza demolished Notre Dame, just as it did last year. Chaparral, meanwhile, lost to Salpointe by a touchdown, starting slowly for the second straight season. When these factors combined in 2011, the Padres became a popular upset pick in the pair’s Week 2 matchup. Chaparral, though, went on to the workmanlike 24-6 victory and never looked back, securing its third consecutive state championship. Marcos de Niza may be a deserving favorite in this year’s contest, but Chaparral has been a thorn in its side recently and the Padres must be able to play a clean game to come away with the victory.
Highland’s quick start
It’s not that Highland’s victory over Mesquite was entirely unexpected, but the way it happened opened some eyes. The Hawks cruised to a 37-0 win, running the ball with efficiency and playing tough defense. Highland faces off against rival Gilbert in Week 2, with the Tigers coming off a blowout loss to Desert Ridge in their first game. The Hawks have been an average program for the past several seasons, but another convincing win would make them possible top-10 material in the rankings.