Here’s hoping everyone’s week is progressing well as we near another #FridayNight360AZ. I can’t remember another year in high school football with more anticipated drama down the stretch than what we’re expecting over the next few weeks heading into the playoffs.
Here’s what caught my attention for this week’s “Zone Read.”
The State Of The Open 8
Another week, another myriad of questions and, in some cases, confusion regarding the AIA’s Open 8 formatting. I took to twitter on Tuesday and shared my thoughts about what immediately struck a nerve with me regarding the second rankings.
😂😂😂…Brophy (only loss to Chandler) beat Hamilton who comes in at 8. Horizon (only loss to Pinnacle) and just beat previously unbeaten NDP.
Neither team in Open 8 this week 🤷🏻♂️🤷🏻♂️🤷🏻♂️…. pic.twitter.com/wmNuY1VwgT
— Eric Sorenson (@EricSports360AZ) October 15, 2019
Look, while I realize there are still big games to be played (starting with Canyon del Oro at Salpointe Catholic Friday), I don’t think simply accepting the “everything will work itself out by the end of the regular season” approach is acceptable.
There is ZERO reason for Brophy to be slotted behind Hamilton, Horizon to ranked lower than Notre Dame Prep and Higley below Millennium after each of the before mentioned teams beat the “higher ranked” in head-to-head competition this fall. It’s a bit troubling something so obvious as this can’t be resolved immediately.
“Focused On Ourselves”
The final stretch run of the regular season could be nail-biting time for 4A schools Salpointe Catholic and Saguaro. Both are comfortably in the Open 8…as long as they don’t stumble down the stretch.
With the stakes much higher this season, I asked #SagU head coach Jason Mohns his approach to the Sabercats’ final three games, considering the now much bigger prize at the end of the road potentially awaits against Arizona’s elite teams.
“Our first priority is to make sure we continue to prepare for the teams on our schedule like we normally do,” he explained. “We are more concerned with ourselves and continuing to get better than we are on anyone else.”
Mohns also said one of his staff members is responsible for advanced scouting and has been evaluating potential open division opponents.
Selfless In Salt Lake
While former North Canyon High star, now Utah true sophomore wide receiver Solomon Enis isn’t making the biggest splash statistically, he’s been a key piece in the 13th-ranked Utes 5-1 start according to his head coach.
“Solomon is a completely unselfish team player,” Kyle Whittingham said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat earlier this week. “He’s also a standout on special teams. He’s on virtually every special teams unit and does a great job there. So, his time will come and he’s made great progress in the program. He’s a valuable member of our team…his blocking for us as a wide receiver is outstanding, as well.”
Embrace your role and play your part…good times ahead!
— Solomon. (@SolomonEnis) October 13, 2019
ASU takes on Utah Saturday afternoon at 3:00 in one of the highly anticipated matchups of the college football weekend.
There are few greater success stories of the 2019 Arizona high school football season than the job first-year head coach Doug Madoski has done at Mountain Ridge.
— DVUSDAthletics (@DvusdA) October 16, 2019
The Mountain Lions already have as many wins (five) as the previous three seasons combined, including a signature double-overtime win at Liberty earlier this month.
“We believed we would sit at the bye week either 4-4 or 5-3,” Madoski said to the “Zone Read.” “Coaches within the staff thought I was half insane when I told them that. One thought they would eract a statue of me if this was the case. While funny to hear, it gave me a little insight as to how low the program was in terms of on-field success.”
One of Madoski’s first tasks after leaving Scottsdale Community College was installing a system which best fit the players he had on campus.
“The players have worked ridiculously hard, especially considered all that they endured,” he said. “While we’re excited about the start, we have an entire culture that needs to change. This is just the first step in a long process.”
The next small step comes Friday night in Anthem against 3-4 Boulder Creek.