Div I: #6 Desert Vista at #3 Hamilton
I guess you can call this the rematch of the rematch. Hamilton already avenged their State Championship loss to Desert Vista earlier in the season winning 23-13. This game just adds to a rivalry that is brewing between these two teams meeting once again in post season play. There is no love lost between these two and the latest chapter should be as exciting as ever. Both teams have the athletes. Both teams have the big guys in the trenches. It’s almost a shame that one of these two will be eliminated this early in the tournament. To me, which ever team can own the line of scrimmage will win this game which has been the case every time they have met the last two seasons. There are division I caliber players on both sides of the line and they will be battling it out all game long. About as fun as it gets.
Div I: #5 Red Mountain at #4 Brophy
Another rematch in the division I bracket! Brophy lost to one team in state all season and that was a 33-31 loss to Red Mountain at home back on September 7th. Will be another wire-to-wire game this time around as both teams have some of the most explosive offensive players in the state. Tyler Bruggman throwing to Devon Allen for Brophy. Mason Thorman throwing to Drake Pierre for Red Mountain. Will be a big test for both defenses. The Broncos may have a small leg up with talent on defense with arguably the best linebacking core in the state in Andrew Curtis and Robert Relf. But that didn’t intimidate the Mountain Lions the first time around. Should be big fireworks at Phoenix College on Friday.
Div II: #7 Chaparral at #2 Marcos de Niza
Are you sensing that I have a thing for rematches? It is definitely the theme this weekend. The Pardes and Firebirds met back on week two this season and Marcos won on the final play of the game, a Josh Eckley quarterback scramble from 11 yards out. The game had five lead changes in what was and still is one of exciting football games seen in 2012. Chaparral doesn’t take losing very well and have a giant chip on their shoulder coming into this game. Their defense led by coordinator Conrad Hamilton has been really confusing opposing offenses, especially during this seven game winning streak they are riding. But this D will have their hands full with U of A commits Maurice Lee and Paul Elvira who had a combined 288 yards from scrimmage both through the air and on the ground combined against the Chaparral the first time around. Also when the Firebirds have the ball, a great matchup to spotlight will be on the outside between receiver Jake Roh and defensive back Priest Willis.
Div III: #9 Saguaro at #1 Desert Edge
This might be the best game on the slate this weekend. If not for all of the undefeated or one loss teams in division III, Saguaro would not be seeded this low. But with three losses that will happen. And oddly enough the team getting the brunt of this, despite being perfect and dominant during the regular season, is Desert Edge. This is by far the toughest second round game any number one seed has to deal with in any division. Coach Rich Wellbrock and the Scorpions are out to achieve milestones that they have not been achieved in their history. But to be the best and take that next big step, you have to beat the best and until someone eliminates the Sabercats, they are still the defending champions. Desert Edge defense this season has been special having given up only 86 points all season. The most was 17 in a game against Shadow Ridge which was well out of reach in the second half. But that defense will have a big challenge against quarterback Luke Rubenzer and quite possibly the state’s best prospect in the 2015 class, Christian Kirk.
Div III: #10 Thunderbird at #2 Queen Creek
Head Coach Joe Germaine and the Queen Creek Bulldogs have been a great story in 2012, running the table in the regular season. Them being undefeated is not because of having a weak schedule like some other teams in division III. They ran over teams with a lot of talent like Perry, Cactus Shadows and Williams Field. In addition they have the playoff experience over the last two seasons and are hoping that benefits them to get over the hump. A matchup with Thunderbird is a very interesting one. The Chiefs have playoff experience too and their running back Kani Benoit is a matchup nightmare for any team. We have already seen Benoit put a team on his back in post season play. He can take over a game and might be the best athlete Queen Creek has seen all year. The Bulldogs could be on upset alert, but if their defense hold true to what they have accomplished all year, they should move on.