By Lee Patterson
It seems that every year the start of high school football season comes around earlier than the last. That is the case this week as football season officially kicks off. This is Week 1 for football. Zero Week is history. When the current two-year scheduling blocks were created, the conference committees were told that for football they have 11 weeks to play 10 games. That is why every team can now start on the same date. Most teams will have an off or bye week this year.
Safford(0-0) at Snowflake(0-0)
Safford still “has a lot of work to do” according to Head Coach Eric Hjalmarson after their scrimmage last Friday at Round Valley. They will take the trip back up to the White Mountains this week to take on the Snowflake Lobos. Safford still has plenty of questions to answer and it could be a tough way to work though them on the road. Safford will rely on QB Mason Duros and RB CJ Scrivner to keep the Dogs in the fight.
Snowflake didn’t pick up a first down in their scrimmage against Thatcher last week and will be out to prove that was a fluke this week against Safford. The Lobos are coming off a 7-4 season and a 1st round playoff loss. They return QB Traegon Standerfer who threw for 1200 yards and 10 TD’s last season. The Lobos have their top running threat back as well in David Brimhall(600 yards and 9 TD’s).
You can hear this game live on KATO 1230 AM or online by clicking here.
Morenci(0-0) at Thatcher(0-0)
It’s no secret that the Thatcher Eagles have had a less than ideal off-season. They aren’t looking for excuses, though. They are looking to prove they have what it takes to win 3 state titles in a row. They key for the Eagles is to not overlook Morenci. It’s almost impossible not to be overconfident when you have dominated for 2 seasons, but this game could be a trap game for the Eagles. They looked good against Snowflake and ALA-Gilbert in their scrimmage last Friday as QB Jack Kortson looked really comfortable in the option attack.
Morenci has nothing to lose in game 1 of the season. You won’t find anybody outside of Greenlee County that expects the Wildcats to pull off the victory Friday night. That is just how they want it. They return QB Mark Roybal and he will be the key to the success Friday night. Don’t be surprised if Morenci is right on the tail feathers of Thatcher in this one.
With both teams running the ball 90% of the time, this one could be over in 2 hours.
Arizona Lutheran Academy(0-0) at Pima(0-0)
The John Bryant 11-man era will get under way at Edd Hubbard Field Friday night. The ‘Riders scrimmaged at Blue Ridge last Friday and took their lumps. With only 30 kids out for the entire program, health will be a key to any success this season. QB Brennen Hughes will have to step up in his expanded role this season to get the offense in stride.
The Arizona Lutheran Academy Coyotes are coming off a 7-4 season and a 1st round loss at Morenci in the 2A playoffs. In their 2nd season under Head Coach Dave Peter, the Coyotes will be ushering in a new QB. However, don’t expect a lot of passing. ALA only threw for 655 yards in 11 games last season. Pima will have to contain RB Brandon Garcia who rushed for nearly 1700 yards and 20 TD’s last season. He was also the leading receiver last year.
If Pima can avoid getting down early and get some momentum going, this one will come down to the wire.
Ft. Thomas(0-0) at Baboquivari(0-0)
Fort Thomas’ season starts on the road this year in Sells. This should be a great tune-up for the Apaches to fine tune their new players in their new roles. Overconfidence is a concern since Babo didn’t win a game last season. I expect the Apaches to roll big in this one and start what could be a special season with a big win.