It was great to be back under the lights last Friday but let’s turn the page and get ready for Week One around the state starting with the biggie out in the east Valley on Saturday…
Ready to Rumble
Everyone in Arizona knows how powerful defending 6A champion Chandler is and this weekend the spotlight will be brighter than ever at Austin Field as they face arguably their biggest challenge in school history. As I told you a couple of weeks ago, there is a mutual respect between Wolves’ head coach Shaun Aguano and visiting IMG’s Kevin Wright.
Calling this a “marquee match-up” almost doesn’t do it justice. Each sideline will be littered with Division I talent on both sides of the ball. IMG Academy presents a tremendous challenge but Aguano believes his players will be ready.
“We have a chance to bring down a Goliath,” he told AZ Audibles earlier this week at CHS. “After film and watching everything IMG’s doing, I think that we have a good chance.”
The Wolves tuned things up in Zero Week pounding a talented Red Mountain team 42-14 behind Jacob Conover and Gunner Romney who connected on a pair of scores. Romney had over 100 receiving yards and Conover completed 12-17 for 356 yards.
A second Red Mountain fumble (recovered by Bryce Jackson) leads to a second 1-play drive by Chandler, TD Drake Anderson. 21-0, 4:55 in 1Q. pic.twitter.com/ooCdvLZTx5
— AZ Varsity- Football (@AZHSFB) August 19, 2017
Buckle up those chin straps.
Movin’ on Up?
Jason Mohns told the #FridayNight360AZ preview show Wednesday morning he wants to petition up his Sabercats from 4A to 5A in hopes of playing a higher classification of schools in the coming years.
The concept makes perfect sense for the ‘Cats who are looking to win their fifth-straight state championship, except there’s a catch according to Mohns.
“The problem is right now you have to petition by school and it used to be by sport,” he explained to Sports360AZ.com. “Our school would like to remain in 4A but our football program would like to go to 5A, so it would require them to change the rules so that football could petition independent of the other sports.”
— Max Massingale (@MaxMassingale) August 21, 2017
Mohns noted they are hoping to schedule a future game against west Valley power Centennial and a potential future realignment to 5A would likely drop Saguaro in the same region as Arcadia, Notre Dame Prep and the Sabercats’ old friends a couple of miles up the road.
Bric by Bric
Still can’t get over what I saw from Paradise Valley senior Bric Hudnutt last week. I knew he was a gifted athlete with excellent blood lines, not to mention an exceptional bowler but this was ridiculous.
— Eric Sorenson (@EricSports360AZ) August 19, 2017
Last year the AIA allowed Hudnutt to wear #57, regardless of where he lined up on the field.
No such luck in 2017 so head coach Greg Davis assigned two players to help Hudnutt change jerseys on the sideline during his Superman impersonations.
Not sure what position the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder will play in college but you can bet, between his excellent grades and his team-first attitude, he most definitely has a future somewhere.
“I am definitely sore,” Hudnutt said to Sports360AZ.com Saturday morning.
On the Mend
Few skill players in the last decade have dominated both sides of the ball quite like Mountain Pointe alum Isaiah Pola-Mao so it really wasn’t much of a surprise when this happened back in late January.
— Sports360AZ (@Sports360AZ) January 27, 2017
But there wasn’t any reason to celebrate this week as it was announced by USC head coach Clay Helton that Pola-Mao will undergo season-ending surgery after re-injuring his shoulder during Saturday’s scrimmage at the Coliseum.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder was hoping to play immediately but couldn’t strengthen his shoulders enough to overcome the issues with his labrums which bothered him last year with the Pride.
Pola-Mao is expected to play safety at Southern Cal.
Former Chandler star wide receiver Johnny Johnson is quickly making a name for himself in the northwest, having quite a fall camp in Eugene as true freshman.
One more. This is JJJ, Johnny Johnson. I call him ‘Golden Hands.’ When he’s done @ Oregon, he’ll be called one of the Nation’s best. Golden. pic.twitter.com/8XYyXD6EK0
— 🏈 Gordon 🏈 (@badgordie1) August 22, 2017
Johnson will not only see the field this fall but has been working with the first-team offense as the Ducks get ready for their season opener against Southern Utah. A week later the Nebraska Cornhuskers visit Autzen Stadium.
Johnny Johnson from Chandler named starting outside receiver at Oregon as a true freshman.
— Jason Jewell (@jason247scout) August 23, 2017
Good to see all that hard work in the summer paid off for the former Wolves’ standout who will most certainly be keeping close tabs on his alma mater this weekend.
There’s No Place Like Home
Things haven’t fared so well for the Firebirds, who dropped to 1-7 away from #ChapTown in their last eight games, following last week’s 28-27 heartbreaker to Desert Mountain.
Further complicating matters, a scheduled home game Friday against Horizon had to be moved to Arcadia as they continue to install their new field turf.
Ty Wisdom’s Huskies are no easy task in any venue.