VX Predictions for 2012 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

VX Predictions for 2012

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Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 6:10 pm

Yes, football has finally arrived.

Technically, a 2012 season ready for possibilities and improbabilities began last weekend with the Barry Sollenberger Classic, but the nearly 50 other East Valley schools who could only watch from the seats or listen at home won’t have to watch any more.

In saving everyone’s time, Varsity Xtra has gone ahead and laid out exactly what’s going to happen this season. Supposedly.

No need to thank us, of course.

Darts on the wall? Perhaps. Only time will tell how ingenious or idiotic these picks prove to be, but at least now the clock starts ticking.

Player of the Year

Devon Allen, Brophy wide receiver: We’re nitpicking when it comes to Brophy, so we’ll go with the burner. Allen, a nationally renowned track and field standout with a huge future, has much the same in football. His speed is nearly impossible to defend without at least two people covering him, his teammates are going to make others pay for those double-teams and his ability to return kicks only gives him more opportunities to break defenders’ knees. If the Broncos have any semblence of a running game, Tyler Bruggman’s passes to Allen will be fast and furious.

— Mark Heller

Tyler Bruggman, Brophy quarterback: Quarterbacks and running backs generally have an inherent advantage to win this award. There is no big-time returning running back in the East Valley, so Bruggman is the easy choice as the best returning quarterback with an offense full of playmakers. Bruggman went 156-of-259 for 2,497 yards with 37 touchdowns and two interceptions as a junior. The schedule is easy, so Bruggman’s numbers are going to be gaudy, but it is imperative he plays well against tough competition and helps lead Brophy deep into the postseason. The Washington State commitment has all the tools to do so.

— Kyle Odegard

Coach of the Year

Mike De La Torre, Poston Butte: A case was made last year, when the Broncos — a program in infancy — reached the Division III playoffs but lost to Peoria Liberty. More than half the team returns, but De La Torre has already taken after his father (new Dobson coach George De La Torre) when it comes to bringing small programs up to competitive levels quickly. The schedule again sets up nicely for Poston Butte, and, outside a three-game stretch in October (Perry, Queen Creek, Williams Field), lends itself to doing some serious damage come playoff time.

— Mark Heller

Bernie Busken, Basha: The Bears lost quarterback Kyle Duran and three impact transfers at the skill positions. That’s enough to derail some teams before the season even starts, but I think Basha battles through those departures. This is Busken’s third season, and his imprint on the program should be larger than ever. No one has doubted his ability to coach, as evidenced by the Bears’ run to the semifinals a season ago. While the regular season could have some bumps, expect Basha to improve throughout, with a second straight semifinal appearance a possibility.

— Kyle Odegard

Surprise team

Mountain View: Three elements are in play here. First, the Toros return starting QB Chase Funk, who’s now a junior and it’s his second go-round in coach Chad DeGrenier’s offensive schemes. Second, it’s DeGrenier’s second year, and while it’s difficult to compare his tenure at Cactus Shadows with trying to do the same at Mountain View, it’s worth noting his second year at Cactus Shadows (2005) was 5-6 after 0-10 in 2004. The third element being the schedule doesn’t appear to be overly difficult, with Red Mountain, Desert Ridge, Mountain Pointe, Pinnacle and Desert Mountain being the toughest tests. There are still a vocal group of followers who don’t like DeGrenier or his style for a variety of reasons, but seven wins isn’t out of the question for the Toros.

— Mark Heller

Queen Creek: The Bulldogs have been a fixture in the rankings the past two years under coach Joe Germaine, but this year could be the best yet. Queen Creek has made the semifinals and quarterfinals the past two years before getting knocked out by Saguaro each time. If the Bulldogs end up on the opposite side of the bracket as Saguaro, I think they will make a run to the state championship. Queen Creek returns nine offensive starters from last year’s 10-2 team and adds impact transfer Ivan Jones. The defense has been stout since Germaine and his staff of former Mountain View assistants took over, and this is setting up to be a magical year.

— Kyle Odegard

What if?...

What if Chandler’s defense steps up? The Wolves have the type of offensive firepower to rival anyone in the state. But they must stop people on the other side. Coach Shaun Aguano has been in charge for more than a year now, so it’s time to see some improvement on that side of the ball.

— Kyle Odegard

What if struggling programs soar? Mesa and Gilbert district schools, in particular, have suffered in recent years while Scottsdale and Chandler schools have taken control as football factories in the East Valley. Five schools have new or second-year coaches between the Gilbert and Mesa districts, counting on both youthful enthusiasm and a history of successful resurrections (namely George De La Torre at Dobson). Even a couple steps upward for the likes of Westwood, Skyline, Gilbert or Mountain View could make EV football significantly more interesting in the next year or two.

— Mark Heller

Championship predictions

Division I state champion: Brophy

Division II state champion: Salpointe

Division III state champion: Saguaro

Division IV state champion: Blue Ridge

Division V state champion: Northwest Christian

Division VI state champion: Joseph City

— Kyle Odegard

Division I state champion: Hamilton

Division II state champion: Centennial

Division III state champion: Saguaro

Division IV state champion: Blue Ridge

Division V state champion: St. Johns

Division VI state champion: Joy Christian

- Mark Heller

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