Not much has gone wrong for the No. 4 (Division III) Queen Creek football team this season. It won its first two games against Combs and Casa Grande by a combined score of 117-0, the team is averaging 17.3 yards per carry, and a diving catch by wide receiver Gabe Vasquez helped quarterback Carson Jones finish a perfect 8-for-8 passing last week.
But the competition takes a giant step up Friday night in a clash with Perry, which is ranked No. 6 in Division II. The Pumas are also 2-0 and are looking for revenge after blowing a 14-point halftime lead in a 27-21 overtime loss to the Bulldogs last season. This game looks like it could be another classic.
“It’s neat playing a division up,” Queen Creek assistant coach Mark Swartz said. “Those guys are well-taught and they’re going to play hard and have good schemes. It’s a good challenge for us.”
Here are other top storylines in week 3 of the high school football season:
‘Tukee Bowl trumps all
Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe aren’t breaking bread anytime this fall, but the 16th rendition of the Ahwatukee Bowl could be the best to date. Both teams have lots of talent, experience and quality coaching. D.V. owns the all-time series 10-5 and won 24-0 last season in a weather-shortened game, but Mountain Pointe is a notch or two better than 2011. Those outside of the locker rooms might have more vested interest given the teams’ long-term goals, but there will be no shortage of talent and talk at Desert Vista on Friday night. Get there early if you want a seat.
Ultimate test for Tempe
The Buffaloes are the feel-good story of the earlygoing, winning their first two games of the season after winning one combined in the past two years. Last week’s victory over Poston Butte was especially impressive and proved the Buffaloes are legitimate. The competition ramps up to the highest level this week against defending champion Saguaro, although the Sabercats are 1-1 and have struggled to find their footing early on. If quarterback Emanuel Gant can lead Tempe to a win here — or even keep it close — it could completely revitalize the program.
Gilbert district schools undefeated and five miles apart meet at Highland, as a surprising unbeaten (2-0 Highland) hosts a not-so-surprising undefeated (2-0 Desert Ridge). The Hawks have been a feel-good story to start this season by rolling past fellow Gilbert schools Mesquite and Gilbert, but this is a huge test against Jaguars’ dual-threat QB Tarek Morrison, JJ Husar and co. Similar to Tempe’s win against Poston Butte last week, a Highland upset here would send a ripple through Division I and set the Hawks up as a bonafide playoff contender, a tall task given the size, speed and competitive uptick Pete Wahlheim’s team is about to face.
Williams Field awaits
Campo Verde is fresh off an important win over Higley, but now must face the Knights’ neighbor, Williams Field. The Black Hawks are the tougher test and hope a convincing win over Campo will push them into the top-tier in Division III. The Coyotes have been stout defensively, and if they can slow Sean Schweichler and the rest of the Williams Field offense, an upset would be very impressive.