Sending Messages Early In The Prep Season

The early portion of the prep football season is a great time for many powerhouse program to send a message.

Sometimes the messages come from a place of being slept on or counted out. Other times there are “personal” reasons that coaches and teams want to send a message.

A few teams within state 48 are sending big-time messages early in the 2022 campaign.

Liberty Firing on All Cylinders

The Liberty Lions are storming out of the gates. On offense, they’ve put up 50, 49, and then 50 again tonight against Colorado powerhouse Valor Christian. By the way, that program has never trailed by more than 41 points since its inception in 2007. Liberty trounced them 50-7. 

Pinnacle also only mustered seven points against this stingy defense. 

Head coach Colin Thomas knows how great his team is because they are as gritty as they come no matter which 11 players are on the field at anytime. The Lions were an overtime game with Chandler away from making the Open Division title game in each of the last seasons. No one should be sleeping on Liberty this year, they look like an Open Division title team. Saguaro and Basha in back-to-back games will be their big mid season test.

Also, Arizona continues to show out against out-of-state powerhouses,

Chandler “6 Out of 7 Ain’t Bad”

Chandler has won a title in six of the last seven seasons. The subtitle above references a shirt that I’ve seen a few members of the coaching staff wear at practices. That mentality is fueling this start to the 2022 run.

After throttling Cathedral catholic in San Diego 63-7, the Wolves are yet to allow an Arizona opponent to find the end zone. They stomped Corona del Sol 50-0 last week, before beating Notre Dame Prep 35-0 on Thursday.

Rick Garretson is chomping at the bit to face Saguaro next week in a revenge match. This will be a big test for Dylan Raiola and crew on the offensive side of the ball, but they’re more than up for it.

Casteel Could Be Ready For The Open Division

Don’t look now, but the Casteel Colts are 3-0. Bobby Newcombe’s squad is playing against solid teams, including Williams Field. The Colts won 23-20 in dramatic fashion.

There are playmakers all over the field for Casteel, starting with Jeremiah Newcombe. Landon Jury is quarterbacking at an efficient level, and the defense is holding opponents when it matters most.

Games against Chandler, Hamilton, and Basha remain, but if they run the table in every other game, the Open Division is a real possibility. 

Corona del Sol and Perry Are On Track

Last year Jake Barro and Joseph Ortiz led 4A programs to phenomenal years. The former winning a state title and the latter making the Open Division. 

Now they both lead 6A schools who are coming off down seasons. Through three games, they both sit a 2-1, with plenty of new energy on the field.

It was evident in a hard fought battle between the two, with the Aztecs coming out on top 21-13.

Connor Ackerley is a solid quarterback who runs the Aztec’s system at a high level. He can lead this team far.

Jack Amer does it all at quarterback for the Pumas, with his arm and legs. 

Both teams have play makers all over the defensive side of the ball as well.

It’s highly possible that both programs could matchup again in the 6A playoffs.

Other Scores That Sent a Message

Desert Edge 6 – Highland 27 (many people picked Desert Edge over the defending 6A champions)

Apache Junction 51 – Combs 36 (AJ may be one of the top 4A teams)

Skyline 22 – Maricopa 15 (Skyline is off to a 3-0 start under new head coach Adam Schiermyer)

Casa Grande 40 – Central 30 (The defending 4A champion is still winning in 5A with new head coach Mark Luna)

Queen Creek 13 – Pinnacle 39 (The offense gets back on track after getting stifled by Liberty)

Higley 57 – Sunnyslope 35 (This Higley offense is special, led by Jamar Malone)

Flagstaff 59 – Rio Rico 12 (Flagstaff’s first win this season, first start for QB Chase Brown)