There are tons of games on the schedule this week that are marquee match-ups and normally those are the ones I spotlight. However with it being the last week of the regular season, I am going to focus on the games that have some big playoff implications involved.
Chaparral (6-3) at Saguaro (7-2)
This is always one of the best games on the schedule for Arizona high school. Both teams also happen to have playoff implications riding in this one. Not many teams in Division III have played teams at the level of Desert Vista like Saguaro has this season so their strength of schedule is through the roof in comparison to other teams. The only thing working against Saguaro is there are five undefeated teams in Division III which lower the Sabercats in the power rankings despite the tough schedule. Another loss can possibly move them down further. Chaparral has quietly done a masterful job at getting themselves back in the playoff picture after starting 1-3. Those three losses are to teams that are combined 24-4 on the season. But a fourth loss could force them to be on the road for round one of the playoffs. Playoff positioning is key. Both teams looking to improve their current stance on top of the bragging rights involved in this game.
Desert Vista (7-2) at Chandler (7-2)
Chandler and Desert Vista both have marquee wins, both have had ridiculous schedules and both only have two losses. However both as they stand now, aren’t in the top five in the power rankings going into the final week of the season (Desert Vista is 7th and Chandler is 10th). Where a loss could be scary for either team is that there are four other teams at 7-2 and six others that are 6-3 going into week ten. So a loss could force one of these teams to slip pretty far in the power rankings. As for the game itself, Chandler has to play their game. Fast paced and quick striking. Desert Vista loves to own the ball by dominating the line of scrimmage and pounding the ball on the ground. If Chandler plays at their pace and force quick dives for the Thunder, they can come away with this one.
Valley Vista (8-1) at Westview (7-2)
Westview has had a fantastic season standing 7-2 on the year. They have taken care of business against the teams they were supposed to beat and played both Brophy and Red Mountain tough in the two losses. However they find themselves 15th in the power rankings and could be a bubble team with a loss on Friday. For Valley Vista, at 8-1 they have taken advantage of a relatively weak schedule. That’s not me saying they are not a good team. They have been fantastic led by senior quarterback Dalvin Richardson. This might be the toughest matchup of the year for the Monsoon and will be a great barometer to see where they stand going into the playoffs.
Walden Groove (5-4) at Empire (6-3)
Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita, Arizona is only in their second year of existence and are eyeing their first playoff appearance in school history. They are currently on the outside looking in at 5-4 on the season but a win over Empire could get them into the post season. Empire at 6-3 should be a lock in the division IV playoffs but a loss could have them a much lower seed and be forced to face a Blue Ridge, Show Low or Seton Catholic team that they would rather play later in the playoffs. Spencer Woody and Chance Hatfield, who have combined over 1,500 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, will look to lead the way and start positive momentum going into the playoffs coming off their loss at Palo Verde last week.