Div I: #9 Desert Mountain at #8 Mesa Mountain View
You have to go back to week one of the regular season when these two teams squared off last. In the game the Wolves came out on top 49-28 seeing quarterback Kyle Allen and wide receiver Mark Andrews live up to the pre-season hype right out of the gate. But a lot has changed since then, especially with the Toros. Since that week one loss, Mountain View has only two other losses which happen to be to the top two seeds in Division I. In addition, the Toros knocked off both Pinnacle and Highland, who are the two teams that beat the Wolves this season. I don’t think the 21 point margin should be taken with a grain of salt this week but that does not mean Mountain View does not have their work cut out for them.
Div I: #13 Chandler at #4 Brophy
If you asked me, Brophy got snubbed being handed the four seed. They have only been the most dominant team in the state since their loss to Red Mountain in early September. With all that off my chest, this game is a matchup most would want to see later in the tournament but we are lucky enough to get it right off the bat. The difference in this game will be on the defensive side of the ball. Both have very potent offenses. Whoever gets the stops between J.R. Hunt, Dom Nappe and the Wolves or Robert Relf, Andrew Curtis and the Broncos, will come out on top. Brophy is predicted by many to go very far, but the cliché of one game at a time is absolutely needed if the Broncos intend to do so.
Div I: #11 Basha at #6 Desert Vista
Like Brophy-Chandler, another matchup between some of the state’s top programs facing off a little earlier than many would expect. For Desert Vista, they just need to execute the game plan just as they did last week against Chandler on the final week of the regular season. The Thunder took Chandler away from their fast paced tempo and got them out of their game. Basha takes a very similar approach as Chandler, so if the Thunder have a repeat performance, especially on defense, Basha will have a very tough time pulling off the upset.
Div II: #11 Horizon at #6 Apollo
Two teams that have taken care of business all season. Apollo beat every team they were supposed to beat besides Centenial being their lone loss. Horizon only had two losses all season, only one of them were to a team in their own division and just so happen to be the defending champion Chaparral Firebirds. Both teams put up big points and pride themselves on having high scoring offensive attacks. Whichever defense does a better job stopping the run and limiting the big plays, will come out on top.
Div III: #11 Sunrise Mountain at #6 Sahuarita
The old saying is you are what your record is. How good are the Sahuarita Mustangs? Good enough to be undefeated! They rolled through the competition down in Tucson this season and now will get their first crack at a team from the Valley. The Sunrise Mountain Mustangs were one of the bigger surprises of 2012 especially because of the play of their main playmaker Elroy Masters. Sahuarita’s defense however has only given up more than 20 points twice all season and have held a team to single digits four times. Will be a tough test for both teams and should make for a great matchup.