Welcome to Daniel Berk's live chat on the high school playoffs. We'll begin in a few minutes.
Thanks everybody for stopping by to chat some high school football. Let's get started.
Good question, Ty. I'm going with Cienega v. Mountain View in the Division II first round. The Mountain Lions, the No. 9 seed, go back to Cienega after beating the Bobcats 21-19 in the regular season. That was the biggest upset of the season and it'll be interesting to see if they can pull it off again. I think Cienega has the edge, but it should be a great matchup that produces a close second half.
Welcome back, Stepfan. Thanks for asking the obligatory Kevionte Alexander question. Based on what his coach Nate Gahn said, I'd expect Alexander to end up at a junior college for the next two seasons with an eye on transferring to a Division I program later in his career.
Another good question. I think Salpointe has more talent on its roster this year than it has in a long time and it's no longer in the state's highest class, playing in Division II. I think the Lancers have a good chance at reaching the state title game for the first time ever under coach Dennis Bene. I do believe it's a bit of a mental hurdle at this point, but I believe they are ready to put it behind them and perform at their best in the postseason.
I think I-Ridge just has to get back to playing their game this week against Prescott. The Nighthawks had a heck of a season and were the team to beat in Division II in the state. They don't need to change much, if anything. They ran up against a really good Salpointe team on the road and couldn't come through with a win. I still think they are an attractive candidate to go far in the postseason.
I believe the two teams with the best chances are Salpointe and Sabino. I also think I-Ridge has a chance. I like Sabino's road to the championship game, relative to the other favorites in D3. Salpointe has a tougher road in Division II and a potential second-round matchup against Cienega would be very entertaining and could be dangerous for the Lancers. However, I like Bene and the Lancers to get to the state title game with a chance at winning it all.
The Colts have had a fantastic season and are in the playoffs for the first time since 1993, but I think it will be a one-week run for them. Mesa Red Mountain is one of the premiere teams in the state and get to play Buena on its home field rather than having to travel. Buena will play hard, as it has all season, but coming away with a win will be a difficult task.
The Division II title game could be Ironwood Ridge vs. Salpointe in a rematch of last week's showdown. I-Ridge is the three seed and would have to either beat Tempe Marcos de Niza for a second time this season or Scottsdale Chaparral to get to the finals. Salpointe, as I've already said tonight, has a tough road, too, but should get to the title game. If it is I-Ridge and Salpointe, my guess is that game would be moved down here, but that's not a done deal at all.
Sure they could, but they wouldn't be the favorite. Salpointe, especially after beating the Nighthawks by 16 last week, would be the favorite and have a lot of confidence from its previous win over I-Ridge. But, it wouldn't be that big of an upset at all.
I think it's generally coincidence and never done on purpose. This year, we could get an I-Ridge-Salpointe final, for sure and we just had Sabino-CDO a few years ago. It doesn't happen a lot, you're right, but it sure is fun when it does.
I think Salpointe is a better matchup for Centennial than I-Ridge is, actually. Salpointe's size really matches up well with Centennial and they'll be able to run the ball against a big Centennial front. I think I-Ridge was able to win despite their small size. I think Salpointe could win because of their big size.
I see him doing really well because he's given me no reason to think otherwise. He's been solid all season and as a sophomore, may be the best natural quarterback in Southern Arizona. He had a brilliant end to the regular season, going a perfect 8-for-8 for 257 yards against Douglas. I've been really impressed with Alvarado all season and it should continue in the postseason.
I think they do, yes. Sabino has had a great season and I'm sure they would have liked to have had a more difficult schedule, but that's not what the AIA computers had in store for them. Andrew Mike is the best lineman in Southern Arizona and one of the best in the state. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball and a really smart quarterback calling the shots. Also, don't forget about coach Jay Campos. He's as good as they come and is a critical piece for a postseason team.
There weren't a ton of surprises this season. Sierra Vista Buena was obviously the biggest surprise, going 8-2 one season after going 3-7. Mountain View, at 7-3, was also better than most people expected and provided the biggest upset of the season, beating Cienega 21-19. Catalina Foothills going 0-10 was also a surprise. I expected the Falcons to have a few wins.
Sahuaro and Buena. The Cougars head up to Phoenix to play Peoria Centennial and Buena goes to Mesa to play Red Mountain. Centennial was 9-1 and its only loss was a four-point road setback at Ironwood Ridge. Red Mountain was 8-2 and have a win over Phoenix Brophy to its credit. Both Centennial and Red Mountain are the real deal, for sure.
The Mustangs have a tough road right out of the gates. First, the No. 6 Mustangs play No. 11 Peoria Sunrise Mountain, who is thought to be better than its seed. If Sahuarita can get by Sunrise, No. 3 Sabino will likely be waiting for them and would get to host the Mustangs. But, don't put anything past David Rodriguez and Co. The Mustangs were 0-10 in 2010.
Great question! The Badgers deserve to be in the Division I playoffs. There's no way around it. Coach Justin Argraves' team went 7-3 with losses to three playoff teams, Buena, I-Ridge and Salpointe. The Badgers beat another playoff team in Mountain View and won their final five games of the year. They didn't make it because the AIA and MaxPreps' rankings are just plain weird. They should be there, though.
Salpointe's Johnny Pena. He's a senior. He's been waiting for this for four years and he's coming off a great game against Ironwood Ridge. It also doesn't hurt that he has the best offensive line in Tucson and one of the best in the state. They were paving the way for him against the Nighthawks and he was following their lead. Look for Mr. Pena to keep the momentum going in the playoffs.
The Ravens certainly have a chance. Jorge Mendivil's team will be the clear underdog, but he's made a career of winning games he shouldn't and it could happen again Friday night. The Ravens are a balanced team with weapons at a lot of different spots. They won't be an easy out.
Keep firing questions my way, everybody. We're going to go for about another 20 minutes or so.
I don't see it. They certainly have a chance, but I think Sabino is too good for the Apaches. Nogales had another special season this year after a good one last year, but I think it ends tomorrow night at Sabino. The Sabercats are loaded.
They will have to play their best football for the second time this season against Cienega and get a big game from RB Richie Estrada. Cienega also has to struggle and not play its best game.
Look at Schmitty's logo! Why aren't you watching the Bolts game, Schmitty? Keep an eye on Marana. The Tigers won four of their last five games and are rapidly improving. First-year coach Andy Litten was excellent and his team should just keep getting better and better. Also, keep an eye on Tucson.
No. 12 Empire in Division IV. In fact, just for you Luis, I'll call the upset. I think the Ravens get it done in Goodyear against Estrella Foothills and advance to the second round.
There are a lot of good ones. Tyler Williams of I-Ridge, Andrew Cota of Salpointe and Lee Holland of Sabino are all excellent choices. Even though he's a sophomore, I may pick Adriell Alvarado. He played with a ton of poise in the first game of the year against Sabino and has just continued to improve as the season has gone on. I will say this, though...it would be difficult to pass over Williams. He's a stud, who just finds ways to win games.
I don't think that's what happened, but you're right, it doesn't make any sense. The Nighthawks should be the No. 2 seed and get that semifinal game should be in Tucson. It sure would be nice to know what the formula is that MaxPreps uses, so I could offer more insight. I think this is just more motivation for Matt Johnson's squad.
A Mets fan! I like it. That's a really tough question. Nemer Hassey at Cienega is a special coach, who has had a lot of success. To lead his team to an 8-2 mark after losing 18 starters off a state runner-up team is really impressive. But, you can not go wrong with Jay Campos, Matt Johnson or Dennis Bene. They are all great coaches who bring a lot to the table.
I think Salpointe. They make it so dark over there--like a dungeon. The fans are close to the field and it's just an uncomfortable place to play. It also helps that they are always competitive and it's always a tough game. Cienega, Ironwood Ridge and CDO are also great places to see a game down here and they all give their teams an advantage.
Thank you to everybody for stopping by tonight. We got some great questions! Enjoy the playoffs tomorrow night and see you all next week. Thanks, again.