Where in the Valley is Gridiron going? - First Round

Discussion in 'The Gridiron Arizona Forum' started by Gridiron Arizona, Nov 6, 2019.

  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 Dobson as Mountain View punched its ticket to the 6A playoffs with a 42-0 shutout victory. The Toros are the No. 15 seed.

    This Friday, the playoffs begin and I'll be making my way West to what we'll call the Tiger Bowl - Gilbert at Millennium. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two 5A schools.

    Gilbert (4-6) ended a 7-year playoff drought in 2018 and has now made it in back-to-back seasons for the first time since a 4-year run from 2005-2008 under Jesse Parker. Arizona commit Will Plummer has 3,300 yards and 31 TD passes, which both top last year's numbers. His primary WR target,Tyler Hironaka, leads the state in receptions (87) and ranks 2nd in yardage (1,428). Like Mountain View, GHS had to play its way in with a 35-14 win over Maricopa last week. These Tigers played the most difficult schedule in 5A. In addition to its San Tan Region slate (4 playoff teams), Gilbert faced Notre Dame Prep and Mesquite. The signature win came in September with a wild 50-47 victory over Sunrise Mountain.

    Millennium (8-2) also snapped a playoff drought in 2018 (4 years) repeated as Desert West Region champions and will host this game in Goodyear. These Tigers have an opportunistic defense with 21 sacks, 13 interceptions, and 19 fumble recoveries. We've been featuring LB Brandon Fondong practically every week on the Gridiron Scroll podcast and he's been playing like the 6A Defensive Player of the Year with 135 tackles, 20 TFL, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. In the secondary, CB Treydan Stukes intercepted 6 passes this season. MHS has won 5 in a row and hasn't lost since September, when it dropped back-to-back games to Higley and Centennial. Also in non-region play, Millennium had a convincing victory over Desert Edge.

    Millennium cruised in this round last year, pasting Flowing Wells 58-7. You have to believe Gilbert will put up more of a fight. This Gilbert team is trying to win the school's first playoff game since 2010. That year, a 5-6 team went to a Basha, who was 9-1, and pulled a 31-21 upset. Gilbert is allowing 37.6 points per game, so its best hope might be to get into a shootout like the Sunrise Mountain game was. Either way, the visitors will need some stops against an offense that is averaging 40.9 ppg and is as balanced as you can get (172 rushing yards/172 passing yards).

    The winner gets either Ironwood Ridge or Casteel. Which team will get to move on? I'll be making my first trip to Millennium since 2014 to find out on Friday night!

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