Hi Everybody. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk some high school football. Let's get started.
I haven't heard of any plans by the AIA to change their ranking formula in time for next season. The AIA seems to be pleased with their format and think it's working even though a lot of coaches and players don't understand it. If they aren't going to change it, it would be nice to see them at least release more information as to how they arrive at their rankings. When you view the rankings on the AIA's site, there is no explanation as to how those points were earned. Last year, with the old rankings, you were able to see exactly how they earned their points. We'll see if there are any changes.
The biggest reason defensive stats aren't displayed is because a lot of schools don't keep them. And, a lot of the schools who do keep them, do them off film a couple of days after the game. A couple of the top defensive performers in Southern Arizona this year have been Sabino's Matt Brindley, Salpointe's Carlos Carroll. Ironwood Ridge is also strong defensively, but relies on its entire unit more than just one player.
I think the change to the scheduling could make things a lot more interesting next season. (Shameless plug, check out Berk's Beat tomorrow for more on the new scheduling plans). But, as of right now, Tucson, Buena and Sunnyside are all considering dropping down from Division I to Division II and Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Pueblo and Santa Rita are all considering going down to Division III. So, Division II could be stacked down here next year and we could see more even matchups throughout the season. I do think the new way of scheduling will benefit teams down here in the end.
Kevionte Alexander sure has a fan in you, Stepfan. I remember some questions about him last week. Alexander's high rushing total this season in a game is 263 yards. Even though Palo Verde has struggled, I don't see Alexander going for 300-plus. I also would be surprised if Drake is held to 50 yards. I think DD will hold on for the regular season rushing title and then add on to the total in the postseason. Probably not the answer you were looking for.
I don't see it evening out much any time soon. Sabino coach Jay Campos spoke to this earlier in the season and made some great points. The good football players in Tucson right now are either enrolling at the powerhouses to start or transferring in during their high school careers. Coaches aren't turning them away (why would they) and as Campos said, the rich keep getting richer. Unless a huge rule change comes down in the next year or two and open enrollment ends, I don't see things changing much.
I'm going to spend the next few questions talking about tomorrow night's mega showdown at Salpointe between the Lancers and Ironwood Ridge. If you have any questions about that game, now's the time.
The matchup I'm watching most tomorrow is I-Ridge's offensive line vs. Salpointe's front seven. The Lancers have some serious size on the defensive line and have a heck of a linebacking crew with Carlos Carroll, Jake Casteel and Taylor Powell. Nighthawks coach Matt Johnson is the first to admit that I-Ridge is not the biggest team in the state. That is not their strength. When they played Centennial, the Coyotes had a huge advantage up front, but didn't do much with it. If Salpointe can use its size and strength up front to make things hard on QB Tyler Williams and RB Anthony Braunreiter, it could be a long night for the Nighthawks.
Every Friday we offer predictions in the Daily Star and "the game" as you call it Otis, will be included. I'm happy to offer a little sneak peek now and how I got there. We predict a 27-24 win for the Lancers. I think it's huge for coach Dennis Bene's squad that the game is at Salpointe. I do think the Lancers size will cause some issues and I think this Salpointe team is determined to right some of their wrongs from last season's first-round playoff exit. All that said, I wouldn't be surprised in the least, if the Nighthawks pulled off another win against a really good team. The game should be a great one.
Hey Victor, pick up the Daily Star tomorrow and check out Greg Hansen's column. As always, he does a great job preparing fans for a big game. He goes over the biggest matchups in Southern Arizona history. Make sure you read it.
The Sunnyside dynasty was in trouble before Richard Sanchez left and got in even more trouble after he left. Three of the team's best players--Manny Vera, David Vega and Andy Cota--all transferred out. In my opinion, it is not time for a coaching change. Not by a mile. Glenn Posey has done a great job with what was given to him and has kept the team competitive. He is one of the first coaches in Southern Arizona I'd want to play for. He has the players best interest at heart and will continue to win games at Sunnyside. I think the days of Sunnyside contending at the state's highest level are a thing of the past, however.
Welcome home, Jay! The news of Tucson moving down to D2 is very new and just coming out this week. (More in tomorrow's Berk's Beat). I don't see Justin Argraves leaving anytime soon. He seems to be strongly committed to turning around the program and has turned it around as much off the field as he has on it. I believe THS is in good hands with him and will continue to improve as a program and contend even more if it in fact goes through with the move to D2.
There are always rumblings about this subject. It's been talked about at AD meetings here, but I don't ever see it happening. There are schools down here that deserve the chance to compete for a state championship and don't want to just win a regional championship.
It's going to be close. The Badgers are No. 16 right now in the rankings, but really sit at No. 18 because of two automatic qualifiers (Avondale Westview and Yuma Cibola) behind them in the rankings. The Badgers should have no problem getting a win tomorrow night over Flowing Wells and then will just have to wait and see until Saturday morning. I think it's going to be tough for them to get in at this point.
Yes! The Bobcats are at their best when the spotlight is the brightest and they are a team I'd want to avoid in the postseason. They have a balanced offense now and a tough defense, not to mention a top-notch coaching staff. I don't think they have a run to the title game in them like last year, but they could easily win a couple of games and get back to the semifinals for the fourth straight year.
It could happen, but I like the Sabercats to finish off their 10-0 regular season. This is a good tuneup for both teams before the playoffs and will help make them sharper. In the end, I think Sabino has too many weapons on both sides of the ball and will hold off a fast improving Sahuaro team.
That's tough to say. Salpointe definitely has a chance at winning a title this season, but you'd think Bene would at least want the opportunity to coach Cameron Denson for his senior season. I think coach Bene, one of the best down here, will still be at Salpointe for a while.
If I-Ridge and Salpointe end up on opposite sides of the bracket, an all-Southern Arizona state title matchup could definitely happen. If not, it would be tough. But, it sure would be fun to see those two teams go at it again for the state's highest prize.
If the Red Wolves can pull off the upset, they'll have a decent chance at getting into the playoffs and what a story that would be. Coach Chris Sargent has done an outstanding job with his team in the school's first season of varsity football. If they can't pull off the win tomorrow, that will likely end their season. Either way, five wins in its first-ever varsity season is impressive.
We're looking at five to six teams hosting first-round playoff games. The locks: Ironwood Ridge, Salpointe Catholic, Sabino and Sahuarita. Cienega is a near-lock, but not quite there and Mountain View is a maybe sitting at No. 9.
There are several players that deserve mention here and I'll surely forget a few. But a couple of guys that come to mind right away are Mountain View junior RB Richie Estrada, who has rushed for 1,394 yards this year and Cienega WR Luke Holley. At least offensively, both players seem to have exceeded expectations and given their team a lot when it needed it. One more player to mention: Pueblo WR Isaiah Clayton.
The pre-playoff answer and the post-playoff answer are never the same. Right now, Walden Grove's Chris Sargent, Buena's Ryan Scherling and I-Ridge's Matt Johnson would all receive heavy consideration.
Boy, wouldn't that be fun. Cienega would like another crack at the Mountain Lions after losing by two earlier in the season. Right now, it wouldn't happen. Cienega is No. 7 in the D2 seedings and Mountain View is No. 9. I think both teams will win tomorrow, so I find it hard to believe either team would drop a spot to force a matchup.
That's very tough to predict. I think Ka'Deem has exceeded expectations during his first two years with the Wildcats and has proven to be one of the best RBs in the league. For Denson to get to that point, it will take a lot. But, one thing is for sure. He'll be a more highly touted recruit than Carey was. He's already rated as the 51st best prospect in the country and a top-ten talent at receiver. Ka'Deem was outside the top 100 and didn't have eight offers during his junior year like Denson. It will be fun to watch what happens with that.
Thank you to everybody for your great questions. This was a lot of fun. If you're planning on checking out the Salpointe-I-Ridge game tomorrow, get there early. See you all next week.