Coach’s prep picks of the week

I was asked to pick 5 games that I thought would be exciting to watch in the Valley this week (most games are on Thursday).

I picked seven, what can you expect from a former football coach, who has had a history of not following directions, just ask Sister Mary Agon or my wife.

Red Mtn. at Mtn. View, it may have lost some of its luster this year, but it pits a school playing pretty good defense (Red Mtn.) vs. a school who is trying to reinvent themselves as a spread type of offense. I’m going to go with Red Mtn. as their defensive coach, Mike Peterson, is one of my former guys at Chandler.

Westview at Brophy at Phoenix College, now this is hard for a graduate from the real St. Mary’s (downtown), but I’m going with Brophy. Although, I think that Westview can give them a go for their money, especially if they can get ahead early.

Centennial at Deer Valley, now I know most people would say WHAT?????? Really, Joe Kersting – that Joe Kersting of Glendale Community College has put together a good staff and they have one of the fastest backs in the state in Armstrong. Anyhow, Coach Taylor and his staff have quietly kept one of the top programs in the state rolling. I’m not sure why, but we don’t hear much about Centennial lately, and just to remind people, they are the last team to beat the Evil Empire.

Basha at Desert Ridge, two high powered offenses going at each other, although Desert Ridge hasn’t really gotten on track offensively this year. I have had the opportunity to watch both schools this year; both are well coached and both squads play hard. The key to beating Basha is clock management, Gilbert did it for a half. In the Basha vs. Chandler game, Basha won the track meet.

Hamilton (who I affectionately nicknamed the Evil Empire – years ago) is at Desert Vista. Now, my gift to Coach Belles is this – I will always pick whoever they play to win for the following reasons: first, this will give him the opportunity to use my name in vein on the bulletin board. Secondly, mathematically speaking – the odds keep getting better each week for someone to knock them off. Obviously, a decade wasn’t enough for me to do it!

Perry at Poston Butte, which is special to me for a variety of reasons. First, I’ve known both coaches, Preston Jones at Perry and Mike Delatorre at Poston Butte, since there wasn’t a Preston or Mikey. Now, I gotta go with Poston Butte because Mike is a former Chandler guy. I have an idea of what it takes and how difficult it is to begin a program and this is exactly what both of these guys have done and done very well.

Now my last of my five picks, which happens to be number seven, is Gilbert at Marcos De Niza. Now, this is a favorite of mine for a variety of reasons. First, I get to work the game for AIA365, and secondly, two of my best friends are coaching against each other.

Dan Dunn at Gilbert gave me my first job forty years ago and we worked together at Mesa Community College for a decade. One of our players was Roy Lopez of Marcos, he was our starting center for two years and then he followed me to New Mexico Highlands University and was our starting center there for two years. In football, it really is a small world every now and then. Two very good coaches and staffs, an old bull and a young bull…who will win out, you will need to tune in to find out.

My first column may be a collector’s item, Brad Cesmat is ultimately the one responsible for allowing me this opportunity. Hopefully, it will last more than one week.

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