It’s crazy to think the 2018 Arizona high school football season is already half over but the good news is the next five weeks are filled with some big-time matchups and storylines to follow as teams continue to chase the big gold ball later this fall.
Plenty to get to in this week’s ‘Zone Read’ so let’s call the play and get to the line of scrimmage.
Emotions can run high under the Friday night lights and last week was a perfect example in Maricopa.
After the Rams 55-0 route of Central things got testy at midfield during the post-game handshake between head coaches Jon Clanton and Brandon Harris. Clanton was visibly upset Harris didn’t take a knee on the final snap of the game, instead opting to run a play which resulted in a 78-yard touchdown run.
There was a physical altercation but the facts tend to get skewed depending on which coach you want to believe.
Neither coaches returned messages for comment on the incident. Clanton has been placed on leave as the Phoenix Union School District further investigates the skirmish.
Earlier this week Harris suspended himself for the Rams’ game Friday against Higley and publicly apologized on the Maricopa Football Facebook page for his post-game actions.
“…some things are more important than wins and losses–I want to be remembered for how I lived my life…the last thing I want to do is represent us in a negative light.”
Good on you, Coach Harris.
Coaches love to play “measuring stick” games to gauge the progress of not only their team but their program, as well.
Friday night fits said description for the unbeaten Arcadia Titans who will make the short drive east to face Saguaro.
— Kerry Taylor (@KerryTaylor15) July 25, 2018
First-year head coach Kerry Taylor has completely overhauled the downtrodden program and guided AHS to an 5-0 start. Despite the Titans five wins coming against teams that have a combined record of 5-15, the “buy-in” is there headed to #SagU.
“This is the week we have all been waiting for,” Taylor said to the ‘Zone Read.’ “I told my team in March we’d be 5-0 heading into the Saguaro game and here we are. The most violent football team will win the ballgame. That’s what we focus on, playing violent football and executing the game plan.”
While there is certainly mutual respect between both coaching staffs, the five-time defending state champs and bar-setters when it comes to high school football in Scottsdale have been waiting for this one, as well.
People calling Arcadia @TitanFootballAZ the fastest rising program they have seen. Could this year be the biggest turn around in AZ high school football history? Build the EMPIRE #TitanUp #NewDay #ForTheCulture
— Kerry Taylor (@KerryTaylor15) June 25, 2018
Can’t wait for #FridayNight360AZ.
Let the violence begin.
Playing A Different Cord
First college touchdown! Will never forget this moment. Thankful 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/9zgslcQBBJ
— Chase Cord (@chasecord) September 3, 2018
…little brother Bryce is starting to turn heads at a different position for big brother’s alma mater.
“I love watching him play ever since he was little,” Chase said to the ‘Zone Read.’ “I think he’s a little shorter than I was when I was a sophomore (laughing). But I told him a couple weeks before a game to, ‘trust yourself, trust your speed and trust your love for the game. Just go out there and play ball.'”
The sophomore rushed for 159 yards on just 13 carries, including his first career varsity touchdown in the Mustangs blowout win over Carl Hayden last week.
Big brother is certainly watching.
Long Time Coming
The last time Flagstaff Coconino started 4-0 not a single player on the roster was born.
You have to turn the calendar all the way back to 1992 to find a season start as successful as what first-year head coach Mike Moran has helped engineer up the I-17 in the cool pines of northern Arizona.
The four victories equal their win total the last two seasons combined.
“There’s a lot to like about them,” KAFF Radio News/Sports Director and the Voice of Coconino football Dave Zorn explained to the ‘Zone Read.’ “They’re getting great coaching and great play from players like sophomore running back Zack Bennett and senior defensive end/fullback Dawson Buckley.”
Bennett has 174 yds rushing on the night, giving him 643 yds in less than 4 games.
— Flagcoco (@Flagcoco) September 15, 2018
“Overall attitude is different and confidence is sky high.”
After meeting with that team before the season and seeing first hand how inspired that locker room was, I am completely on the Panthers’ bandwagon!!
— Cody Cameron (@CodyTCameron) September 18, 2018
The 4A Panthers have a big test this week hosting unbeaten Bradshaw Mountain (5-0) but outside of a tough late-season trip to the Valley to take on currently 3-1 Cactus, Coco will likely be favored to win the remainder of their regular season games if they can navigate their way past the Bears.
They say good things come to those who wait…even if it takes 26 years.