Week 4 was loaded with top ten teams squaring off in all three of the top Arizona high school divisions. In Division III, #8 Peoria was beaten 28-21 by #9 Liberty and in Division II, #5 Marcos de Niza handled #8 Perry 20-7. Here’s a look at a few more of the best from last weekend’s action.
Hamilton vs. Desert Ridge
The most highly anticipated game had to be this rematch of last year’s 5A-I state championship. knotmove.com had these teams ranked #1 and #2 going into the showdown, with second ranked Desert Ridge the host looking to avenge last years loss and snap Hamilton’s record setting winning streak of 43 games. From the onset, it was clear that the Hamilton defense was ready for anything. Desert Ridge’s Jordan Becerra, who moved from receiver to quarterback brilliantly last year as an injury fill in, began the game taking the snaps, even though he’s played primarily at wide receiver this year. After no progress on the first three plays, Becerra moved back to wideout and Parker Rasmussen resumed his quarterback duties. He didn’t fare much better however, as Hamilton dominated the line of scrimmage, bottled up running back Joey Counts and stuck with receivers all night. Hamilton’s star studded defensive backfield, led by safety Reggie Daniels (1 INT), gave up virtually nothing and allowed the offense to stay relatively simple and patient. Hamilton quarterback Blake Kemp scored three times on runs and that was enough to win comfortably, 28-6. Desert Ridge’s only score came from their defense. Hamilton has firmly established that it is once again the team everyone’s chasing in Division I, and this defense appears to be one of the best this state has ever seen.
Basha vs. Chandler
Amazingly, these two crosstown teams had never faced each other until last Thursday night. Now that they’re both in Division I, this game may have ignited an annual rivalry as the offensive fireworks were on display. Fifth ranked Chandler entered without surrendering a point in it’s first three games, but they had yet to face an offense of this caliber. Basha quarterback Kyle Duran threw for two big touchdowns late in the first half (80-yards and 29-yards on a fourth down play) to put Basha up 30-21 at the break. Not to be outdone, Chandler quarter back Darrel Garretson hit wideout Lloyd Mills twice in the third quarter to keep within striking distance. For the remainder of the game, Basha used a more conservative ball control running attack to keep Chandler’s offense on the sidelines. It worked to perfection, and Basha held on to win a wild one, 58-41. Both teams have offenses that can score in bunches, but Basha’s defense made just enough plays to win the first in what should be an exciting game for years to come.
Centennial vs. Apollo
This Division II battle was also played Thursday night, featuring #2 and last year’s 5A-II runner up Centennial against # 6 up and comers Apollo. Neither team had a blemish on the record, nor had they been really challenged up to this point. Centennial’s rushing attack, led by senior Zach Hoffpauir, proved very difficult for Apollo to contain. Hoffpauir, who is also an all-state safety, scored on three short runs to give Centennial a little breathing room. However, Apollo quarter back Jon Brown has been phenomenal this year, and he continued to make plays as a dual threat runner and passer. Brown’s play along with a 99-yard kick return from Joe Cortez kept the game interesting. Centennial took command late though, with the defense stepping up in big situations to stifle Apollo. They finished off Apollo 40-28 after an onside kick failed.