2020 Friday Night Rewind: Week One

The curtain on the 2020 Arizona high school football season finally raised Friday night throughout most of the state.

Here are a few of my takeaways from a much anticipated Week One.

First Impressions

I can’t pretend like attending and covering a game Friday, mine being Brophy Prep at Notre Dame, was “normal” because quite simply, it wasn’t.

Sure, once the whistle blew and BCP teed it up, the action between the white lines on Bemis Field was mostly as I expected. However, beyond that, it was a completely different experience. The usually packed stands inside NDP’s Stadium were, between the seating limitations (two tickets per player) and the fact the school started their fall break today, almost barren – similar to the parking lot 30 minutes before kickoff.

Although Notre Dame played music between plays and during breaks in the action, there was really very little, if any, atmosphere to speak of. Both teams had masked cheerleaders but neither performed at halftime. Further, the players staying on the field at the half was just…odd.

I wasn’t surprised both teams came out a bit flat and the BCP sideline definitely felt a lull when starting quarterback Elijah Warner left the game late in the first quarter with what appears to be a relatively significant ankle injury. He’s scheduled to get an MRI Saturday but put no pressure on it when he was helped off the field.

NDP steadily built a commanding 28-0 lead behind junior wide receiver/cornerback Gavin Smith’s big game and cruised to a 28-10 win.

The secret to a lot of team’s success this season will be being able to adapt on the fly and handle adversity, whether during the week or on Friday nights.

The Saints were the better, more prepared team Friday night in north Scottsdale but I definitely believe the “Holy Bowl” is one which needs to be played each and every year.

Coyote Ugly

Could the whispers be true?

It’s far too early to count out a power program like Centennial but the very early 2020 returns aren’t exactly encouraging. After a listless offensive performance in last week’s scrimmage against Desert Edge (yes, I realize it’s a scrimmage), the Coyotes were housed 42-0 at Hamilton in iconic head coach Richard Taylor’s most lopsided loss since a 75-26 drubbing to Cactus way back in 1997.

— Jordan Hamm (@JordyHamm) October 3, 2020

I know Centennial was intent on proving last year’s Open Division home loss to the Huskies was a blip but Friday night appeared more like a trend – getting boat raced in what many believed to be the top matchup of the opening weekend.

Is it only one game against one of the top teams in Arizona? Absolutely.

Is there time for Centennial to figure things out? No question.

The new 6A Desert Valley schedule features few, if any, layups with games against Williams Field, Pinnacle, Chandler and Chaparral still ahead. 

Three and Out

Here are scores which caught my eye from Week One.

1. Sunrise Mountain smokes Cactus 48-7. Uh, who exactly saw this coming?

Cactus is a team loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, including a number of key transfers who head coach Joseph Ortiz believes will be impact players this year.

It will be likely be a week of adjustments as they’ll take on rival Peoria in Week Two.

2. Corona del Sol shuts out Desert Vista 28-0. I understand Desert Vista lost a number of talented players – most notably Parker Navarro, Tyson Grubbs, Elijah Ervin and Zack McGinnis among others but a season-opening shutout to Corona is certainly puzzling.

3. The thriller of Week One was probably in the far southeast Valley as Casteel reeled off 21 unanswered points in a 36-35 win, spoiling the trip for Boulder Creek who made the long bus ride down from Anthem.

I’m still high on Boulder Creek, especially considering their far more manageable schedule and the fact they have experience and depth at the right positions.