Best in the West 2020: Week 4 Preview

Arizona Sports News online

There are a plethora of west vs west star-studded matchups this week. Some unbeatens will fall for the first time this year, some rising programs have an opportunity to showcase their talents, and some teams are growing right at the halfway point of the 2020 season.


Ironwood @ Desert Edge

San Diego State commit, Will Haskell, leads the Ironwood offense to Goodyear against some top-notch defensive threats that reside at Desert Edge in a battle of 5A unbeatens. Ironwood has annihilated every team they have faced so far, averaging a final score of 44 to 5. Those three opponents combined for an 11-19 record last year, though. Desert Edge has thrown two shutouts so far with every opponent residing in different conferences.

The tremendous differences in scheduling make it somewhat difficult to decipher who has an edge in this battle. In the end, it looks like the key matchup in this game will be a high-octane Ironwood offense against a shutdown Desert Edge defense.

Haskell has averaged nearly 250 passing yards per game, while averaging another 80 yards per game rushing. Senior, Elijah Sanders, adds an extra running threat while fellow senior, Bubba Mannino-Faison, has been Haskell’s favorite receiver to hit. Don’t expect Ironwood to rack up as many yards and points as they usually do going against a stout DEHS defense but as long as the offense keeps up with Adryan Lara and the Scorpion offense, Ironwood will be in contention to win.

Desert Edge has monsters on defense that extend beyond just their standout corner and safety, Steven Ortiz Jr. The Scorpions have brick walls at the point of attack with seniors such as RJ Roberts, Maximus Garcia, and Jacorie Stokes. This group will do what they can to force Ironwood to throw the ball where Ortiz, Chaz Clemons, and Amir Smith will look to swipe the fifth team INT of the season.

Both teams are talented on both sides of the line. This is a game that could set the stage for the state tournament, or maybe even a matchup you could see again once the postseason comes upon us.

Mountain Ridge @ Boulder Creek

Another interesting battle includes the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions, coming off a miraculous victory against dominant 5A powerhouse, Notre Dame Prep. MRHS enters a region bout this week with Boulder Creek, who is coming off of a stunning victory on the road against Brophy Prep.

Both teams are growing programs over the past few years and are now both are coming off of major upsets that have set the course for the rest of the year. Even with incredible victories last week, one of these teams must settle with a region defeat this Friday night.

A major point of growth for Boulder Creek the past few years has been the emergence of senior quarterback, Bear Milacek, and senior running back, Jacob Cisneros. The two have combined for 1,166 yards of offense through the first three games of the season. They are the heartbeat of what has become an electric offense, averaging 36 points per game.

On the Mountain Ridge side of the field, their offense is led by a group of sophomores. Receivers and runners, Sam Thielen, Terrance Hall, Deric English, and Jacob Kelley are all sophomores and all have accumulated over 150 total yards of offense each. Defensively, senior, Deryk Leverage, is leading the way with 24 tackles while senior, Richard Wight’s three INT’s are a sight to behold as well.

This will be an entertaining battle as both these teams continue to rise to prominence in the 6A Conference. Which will end up on top in this edition of their collision course?

Sandra Day O’Connor @ Shadow Ridge

An incredible year for the Shadow Ridge Stallions just keeps going. SRHS are one of just eight undefeated teams through three weeks in the 6A Conference. Following a 39-30 victory against Mountain Pointe, the Stallions face off against arguably their toughest opponent so far, Sandra Day O’Connor.

Shadow Ridge has been led offensively by committee. The Stallions have five players who have rushed or received for multiple touchdowns in just three games. The offense is led by junior quarterback, Seth Gallardo, and senior receiver, Zachary Sutton, who has caught five of Gallardo’s eight touchdown passes. The offense hasn’t been rattled all year, averaging 43 points per game to open the season.

O’Connor is just 1-2 to start the year with losses against Open Division hopefuls, Desert Edge, and a tough Highland team. The Eagles have still found defensive efficiency through their three games by the name of Gabriel Monaco. The senior defensive edge has accumulated 6.5 sacks along with nine tackles for loss, constantly finding his way into the backfield. Junior, Brandon Craddock, has also been a defensive star, leading the team with 42 total tackles.

SDO is looking to be the first defense to stop to the Stallions and end their perfect season. With this week being the halfway point of the season, both team’s playoffs chances rely on a positive game this Friday night.

Dysart @ Yuma Catholic

3A Conference school, Dysart, takes the journey to Yuma to battle a constant 3A State Title contender, Yuma Catholic. The Demons took down Kingman last week, 58-38 and learned from their shutout loss against Wickenburg two weeks ago. Yuma Catholic is coming off a 49-12 victory against those same Wickenburg Wranglers en route to what they hope is a perfect season.

Dysart has become a run-first team, which makes sense having three different players standing around 150 rushing yards each so far this season. The Demons are even sharing the love on defense with seniors, Fred Garcia and Mauricio Valles earning interceptions and freshman, Philip Hernandez, picking off a quarterback while also picking up a fumble recovery.

This week it is time to see what Dysart is made of in the 3A Conference against a powerhouse. 

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