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 Liberty, where Pinnacle showed they are Open-worthy in a 41-17 victory over the Lions. This Friday, I check another stadium off the list as I make my first trip to The Mountain - South Mountain. The Jaguars will be hosting Carl Hayden with a chance to win their first region title since 2008. Back in June, I did a feature on Carl Hayden and the Wing-T, which isn't just an offense, but an identity of the hard-working community in SW Phoenix. Well, the Falcons may be 2-6, but they seem to be mastering that run. The Falcons are currently ranked No. 7 in all of 5A in rushing offense at 210 yards per game. During region play (which CHCHS is 2-1), the team has ran for 431, 231, and 471 yards. Leading the way is junior Kevin Yarbough, who is just 32 yards from a 1,000-yard season. He has scored 8 of the Falcons' 16 TDs on the ground. Adrian Nerini also adds to the strength in the backfield and the senior is coming off his first 100-yard game against Central in a 42-20 win. South Mountain (5-3) is also a win away from its first back-to-back winning seasons since 2007-08. Two of the Jaguars' losses came by one score or less and one of its wins came against Maricopa (3-5), which is currently holding the last playoff spot in 5A after Open teams are taken out. Unlike most in the Metro Region, SMHS brings a balanced offense with senior RB K'Rashee Smith (1,211 yards, 16 TDs) and sophomore QB Amier Boyd (19 TDs, 4 INTs). Boyd has spread the ball around as receivers Travis Gammage, Devontae Ingram, and Edward Crocker have combined for 19 TDs and each is averaging more than 14 yards per catch. South Mountain likes to go for 2 after touchdowns and the Jaguars have successfully converted 11 of them (6 running & 5 passing). Will this game provide a benchmark for the turnaround at South Mountain? Mark and Marcus Carter took over a program in 2016 that was coming off a 5-year run of 3-47. Change the Culture is the slogan, but it didn't happen overnight. The Jaguars were 1-10 in the Carters' first season, but have followed that up with a 5-5 record in '17 and 6-4 last year. While it's not an automatic playoff spot in 5A (which I think is a dumb rule), a region title would be something to be very proud of in South Phoenix. Or, will the visiting Falcons spoil the party and create a 3-way tie at the top of the Metro Region (with Fairfax)? Check out ArizonaVarsity.com on Saturday morning for the recap of this one!