Sande Sez- Postcard from under the Friday Night Lights

Greetings from week 6 of Arizona High School football! I can’t believe there are only two more weeks before playoffs! The season has flown by. So let’s get to it.

The first stop is at Pinnacle to see the Pioneers take on the Liberty Lions. What a defensive battle this game was, but the Lions took this one, final score, 36-25. I didn’t know what to expect coming into the game since Liberty, the 6A defending Champions, had lost 30 seniors plus their starting quarterback and have a new head coach. Lion’s new leader is Colin Thomas. Thomas was the offensive coordinator for the Lions for the last five seasons and stepped into the head coaching job right in the middle of the pandemic. I spoke with Coach Thomas about taking the job, and he told me it has always been a goal of his.  The Lions defense is no joke between safeties Jax Stam and Shane Pitts, who made life difficult for Pinnacle’s young quarterback Devon Dampier and their two hot weapons Duce Robinson and Dorian Singer. Both team’s defenses came to play.  The score at the half was 10-6, Liberty. Liberty quarterback Brock Mast looked cool and confident, and his workhorse sophomore running back Zaccheus Cooper looked like the explosive rocket he is with a pair of touchdowns. Cooper is really fun to watch. Another key player for the Lions tonight was tight end Sam Wolfer, who also had a touchdown himself. Devon Dampier is just a sophomore, and big things are coming his way. Tonight the Lions defense really kept him contained.  The Pioneers will bounce back next week against Perry. Liberty is a team to keep an eye on for the Open. The Lions move to 4-2 and the Pioneers to 2-3. 

Stopping at Pinnacle was extra special because I got to share the sideline with one of my favorite people and co-workers, Eric Sorenson! 

Next up, a hot matchup! Chaparral hosted Casteel in one of the top matchups in the state. And if you like offense, well, this was your cup of tea. 53-36, Chaparral. For the Firebirds, it was the Silbor/Williams Show. Jared Williams ran four scores in while Brayten Silbor added four of his own through the air… now that’s a balanced attack! Chaparral’s Defensive End Anthony Lucas was spotted tossing linemen around like it was no big deal too. Big win for the Firebirds. Casteel, though talented, just couldn’t get in sync in all three phases of the game and shot itself in the foot too many times with turnovers and penalties.

Is it possible to fill your Ocho resume with “quality losses”? Well, Highland sure is opening eyes even if they aren’t bringing home all the Ws. They lost another tough battle, this time with state power Hamilton, 46-26, but the score doesn’t tell the story. Highland came out with the lead in the first half and made Hamilton grind for the grand majority before Hamilton finally pulled away. Highland is 4-2 on the year, with their other loss coming last week to another Open Championship contender, Queen Creek. And ahem, next week doesn’t get easier against Chandler. “Quality losses” might be a thing in 2020…

If you saw Centennial and Williams Field’s performances over the last couple of weeks and then I showed you Centennial’s Week 1 tape and Williams Field Week 2 tape, I don’t think you’d recognize the tape. Both teams have come a long way since their early-season stumbles and are now stating their cases for postseason consideration. Heck, after Centennial beat Brophy 35-3 tonight, the Coyotes are building a resume worthy of an Ocho invite. It just goes to show that your stumbles don’t define you, especially when they lead to growth.

Ok, signing off until next weekend!! Stay safe. Mask up. So we can see football playoffs. 

Sande