Where in the Valley is Gridiron going? - First Round

Discussion in 'The Gridiron Arizona Forum' started by Gridiron Arizona, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Gridiron Arizona

    Gridiron Arizona Moderator
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    Aug 19, 2015
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    Each week, I make the trek out to a school in the Metro Phoenix area to watch, tweet, take photos, and report on a game involving 6A or 5A teams.

    Last week, I was at Williams Field as the Black Hawks defeated rival Higley, 51-14 to take the 5A San Tan Region for the third straight season.

    This Friday, the playoffs begin and I'll be at a game Williams Field will have some interest in - the first round matchup between Campo Verde and Sunrise Mountain. #2 WFHS would face the winner of the 10/7 game if it wins its first playoff game (against Maricopa).

    Campo Verde (6-4) is traveling to Peoria for a playoff game for the second straight season. Last year, the Coyotes dropped a 28-7 decision at Liberty. Campo Verde began the year with 5 straight wins, including one over #12 Ironwood Ridge before finishing 1-4 in San Tan Region play. That region record is a little deceiving though. CV played very good defense in each of its last two games losing 17-14 to #2 Williams Field and 20-13 to #4 Casteel. The Coyotes had an 1,100-yard rusher this year in Matt Leazier, but he was lost for the season in the team's 8th game against Higley (ACL). Campo's offense has struggled the past two games averaging 122 rushing yards with 61 coming from QB Parker Nuzman. In the first 8 games, the Coyotes averaged 196 yards on the ground. Campo runs the ball on 68 percent of its plays, so ball control, turnovers, and defense will be key to keep the Mustangs' offense off the field.

    Sunrise Mountain (7-3) is in the playoffs for the 5th straight year and will host this game in Peoria. The Mustangs moved up to 5A this realignment block after nine seasons in Division III/4A. Sunrise recovered from a 1-2 start (which included a 23-18 loss to Williams Field) and won 6 straight before last week's loss at Centennial (48-0). The Mustangs have to be happy to be in Williams Field's half of the draw instead of Centennial's! Stats have not been posted on MaxPreps yet for the Centennial game, but prior to that one, SM was averaging 454 yards per game. Even with the shutout, the Mustangs scored 409 points in their 10-game season (40.9). Through 9 games, quarterback Keegan Freid had 2,031 yards and 31 touchdown passes. The Air Force commit also brings a strong running threat with 970 yards and 10 TDs. Sophomore defensive back Elijah Anderson was accidentally kneed in the head and left in an ambulance. It was reported by West Valley Preps that he was moving extremities and taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.

    Recent playoff history favors Sunrise Mountain. The Mustangs have won a first round game three straight years. Campo Verde is 1-4 all-time in the playoffs as an AIA member. Senior defensive lineman Trevor Kauer led the Coyotes in sacks with 11. If he can get to the quarterback like Centennial did (7 sacks), Campo Verde's defense can hang around like it did against Williams Field and Centennial and the Coyotes can pull the minor upset. If Sunrise finds its high-powered offense again, it will be difficult for the Coyotes to mount a comeback.

    Which team will get a second shot at Williams Field? I'll be making my first trip to SMHS to find out on Friday night!

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