Five things to watch on Thursday
Fiesta fun: It’s not a full schedule yet, but Chandler and Mesa will begin the last go-round of Fiesta Region play before all the conference realignment kicks in next year. It’s a bounce-back week for the Jackrabbits after falling late, 26-21, to Westwood last week, and the task gets no easier trying to defend Chandler quarterback Brett Hundley and a talented arsenal surrounding him. The Wolves lost in gut-wrenching fashtion to Peoria Centennial two weeks ago, but steamrolled over Casa Grande last week and got a chance to rest a couple key players back to health.
Another future championship matchup? Speaking of bounce-back, Brophy will need to do such a thing and more if the Broncos want to knock off Centennial. The Broncos took one on the chin against rival St. Mary’s last week because of penalties, struggles in the running game, a couple missed kicks and a gutsy fourth down conversion that didn’t work. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Bruggman continues to impress, but he’s going to need more help from the Broncos’ running game because the Coyotes’ defense is as fast as ever. Centennial won 24-12 last season in a game much closer than the score suggests.
Desperate times: Mountain View prepares for just its third game of the season on Thursday, and already there is talk about the Toros missing the playoffs. They have started out 0-2, and Tucson Sunnyside — a team that beat them last year — is heading up to Mesa with a chance to drop Mountain View to 0-3. With Mesquite, Basha and Chandler still on the schedule, it is a perilous time for the Toros.
New intrigue in ‘Tukee: After Desert Vista struggled to beat Tucson in its season opener and Mountain Pointe rolled to its first two victories, the Ahwatukee Bowl didn’t seem like it would be much of a game. But the Thunder were impressive in a win over Pinnacle on Friday, and the Pride lost a hard-fought game against Basha. So this one could be more competitive than once thought. The Pride’s solid defense still gives it the edge, but if Desert Vista quarterback Hunter Rodriguez can play like he did against Pinnacle (18-of-24 for 263 yards and two touchdowns), the Thunder have a chance.
Out-of-state guests: Poston Butte coach Mike De La Torre was in need of another opponent to fill out his 2010 schedule, so he put up an ad on the AIA website. Much to his surprise, one of the first calls came from Monarch High School from Louisville, Colo., which is located between Denver and Boulder. The Coyotes will bring their junior varsity and varsity teams to the San Tan Valley to take on the Broncos, with both games being played on Thursday.