Outlook: Following this week’s trend, playoff spots are on the line in this one.
Horizon (No. 12) needs a win to avoid sliding down a crowded bottom one-third of the playoff seedings in 5A-I. P.V. (No. 13) needs to avoid the same in 5A-II.
The Trojans have steadily improved their defense, and it’ll be the first week both Charles Hubbard and Michael Williams are healthy. The duo ran for a combined 330 yards last week. Horizon, of course, knows this, so P.V.’s best chance is to mix and match. The Trojans have thrown more frequently recently with the evolution of quarterback Grant O’Brien. “I’m not putting as much pressure on him,” P.V. coach Donnie Yantis said. “I’d been on him to make plays, and staying out of third-and-long. Now we’ll throw on first down, things I didn’t think we could do well before. The last two to three weeks, he’s been dead on.”
Horizon is getting by without starting RB Oscar Alvarez (slightly torn MCL) but hopes to have him back for the playoffs. Gary Cooper has fared nicely for the Huskies in Alvarez’s absence, and the Huskies would rather throw 15 to 25 times per game, which is why coach Steve Casey feels his revamped offensive line has played well. “I think it’s made us a better football team,” Casey said. “They’ve shored up that left side of the line and it’s given us the ability to do different things.”
Paradise Valley at Horizon
Address: 5601 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale
Records: Paradise Valley 4-5, 2-2; Horizon 5-4, 3-1
Last year’s meeting: Horizon 20, Paradise Valley 17