Small schools kicked off last week, now it’s time to lift the lid for the big divisions of Arizona high school football.
Let’s take a closer look at a few more storylines to keep a close eye on this fall around the state.
Jordan Spurgeon – Sports360AZ – Highland is going to be interesting to follow this season, even though the conversation come November will be the same as it has been the previous two years.
As the back-to-back defending 6A champions, the Hawks have a great chance to three-peat in 6A. But, there will be endless discussion about whether or not they should be in the Open Division. Two losses (Saguaro and Hamilton), plus one out-of-state loss to Lone Peak (Utah) kept Brock Farrel’s team out in 2022.
— Hannah Farrel (@mrscoachfarrel) December 31, 2022
With Basha, Chandler, and Lone Peak (again) on the schedule, there’s no wiggle room because three losses could theoretically keep the Hawks out of the Open rankings again. A victory against any of those three would certainly change the tide.
Changing of the Guard(s)?
Ralph Amsden – ArizonaVarsity.com – I’m interested in two things this year.
The first is whether or not we have entered a new era. My first year covering high school football was the last time Hamilton won a championship. In the moment, it was the Huskies seventh title in about 10 seasons, and it felt like that ride was never going to end. Along came Chandler, and they had a six- title decade. Now we have Basha getting a taste, coached by Chris McDonald, who was part of the original Hamilton run.
🙏Blessed. These young men are Champions ON and OFF the field. Couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men. Enjoy boys you earned this!! #bashaculture #brotherhood #teamfirst #unbreakable pic.twitter.com/Ek9rGsSvQz
— Basha Gridiron (@bashagridiron) December 12, 2022
Is this the beginning of the age of the Bears?
— Canyon View Jaguar Football (@CVjagsfootball) July 25, 2023
Arizona, Bear Down
Jordan Hamm – Sports360AZ – The storyline I’m interested in tracking this season is how big of a snowball can the Arizona Wildcats create with in-state recruiting this class? There are seven current in-state recruits from all parts of the state, all over the field, and the Wildcats are getting a level of recruit they never have in the state.
— Elijah Rushing (@elijah_rushing) July 6, 2023
There have been 12 5-star composite recruits from Arizona, meaning 247 Sports takes the rankings of ESPN and Rivals along with their own ratings. Elijah Rushing is the first to commit to Arizona. Demond Williams Jr. is the best Arizona quarterback commit since???
— Demond Williams jr✞ (@QBDwilliams1) July 31, 2023
The Year of Tucson
Canyon Del Oro Football has its sights set on a state championship after losing in the semifinals last season.
The Dorados have the experience (29 seniors!) to get there.
— Jenna Fink (@jennamfink) August 20, 2023
— Cody Cameron (@CodyTCameron) July 20, 2023
Cameron Cox – 12 Sports anchor – One of the most intriguing teams this season is Desert Mountain. Head coach Conrad Hamilton has maybe their most talented team, and I think they can make a run in the Open.
Also, teams like Basha, Liberty and Chandler will be there at the end, but is finally the year Hamilton regains its spot atop Arizona High School football? Watch out. The Huskies have been very close the past four seasons, and this season, they’ll future one of the biggest offensive lines in the state.
— Cesar Chavez Football (@FootballCesar) July 22, 2023
Finally, you want to see the definition of team? Look at Cesar Chavez High School. Those kids have rallied around each other, finding comfort on the football field. They’re playing hard under new coach William “Ducy” Burwell Jr., who has done an amazing job holding that program together. They’re also playing hard for a higher purpose, dedicating their season to teammate Chris Hampton. True champions.