The second week of the Arizona high school football season is complete, and there were a number of blowout victories and very few surprises. This weeks upcoming rankings should shake out very similarly to last weeks. Here’s a look back at a few of the biggest games from the weekend.
Saguaro vs. Thunderbird
This game looked to have the potential to be one of the best in Division III all year, with Saguaro the reigning Class 4A-I champs and Thunderbird last season’s 4A-II titleholders. Both teams entered riding winning streaks and highly ranked in the new division. Thunderbird began the game strong, with running back Connor Hustead powering over the Sabercats defense on their opening drive. However, after taking an early touchdown lead with a Hustead score, Saguaro’s D.J. Foster absolutely dominated the rest of the contest. Foster moved from halfback/slotback to taking shotgun snaps as quarterback and immediately gashed Thunderbird for big gains. He scored on a 38-yard scamper to tie the game, and followed that with a 46-yard touchdown on the next possession…and he was just getting started. Foster finished with 6 touchdowns on 19 rushes for 271 yards and Saguaro cruised, 70-21. Thusfar, he’s looked like the best player in the state.
Chaparral vs. Marcos de Niza
The other big matchup of the week was knotmove.com’s top ranked Scottsdale Chaparral against third ranked Tempe Marcos de Niza in a Division II clash. The Chaparral Firebirds were off to a shaky start to the season, but it was Marcos de Niza that looked uncomfortable in the spotlight game, committing numerous mistakes that eventually snowballed into an insurmountable deficit. Marcos de Niza quarterback Tom Thornton had an unusually difficult outing, throwing two interceptions and taking four sacks on the night. You can credit the defensive coverage by Chaparral for many of those miscues, and with an often shortened field, it didn’t take long for quarterback Connor Brewer and Davonte’ Neal (who plays too many postions to try to narrow down) to put points on the board and win convincingly, 24-6. The victory should restore some calm for Chaparral, as they finally lived up to the number one ranking on this night.
Mesquite vs. Red Mountain
As the only game from Division I with two teams ranked in the top 10, Mesquite (#8) and Red Mountain (#10) played an extremely hard fought, defensive dual. Red Mountain had not yielded a point to the Mesquite offense and scored on an interception return to lead 7-0 at the half. After an errant snap over the Red Mountain punter resulted in a safety, they still had control. Mesquite’s head coach, Matt Gracey, pulled a gutsy 4th quarter call and faked a punt on their own 28 yard line. The fake worked and Mesquite was able to move the ball, finally crossing the goal line with 4:33 left. They held on to win a brutally tough game, 8-7. It’s no doubt a difficult loss for Red Mountain, but both teams played winning football defensively and should be able to take positives away from this game.