Week 5 Gila Valley High School Football Preview

By Lee Patterson

It seemed like it took forever for the football season to start. You blink and now its Week 5. For teams that are playing 10 game regular season schedules, this will be the final week of transfer suspensions. Here is a look at the area team’s match-ups this week.

Pima(1-2) at Bisbee(2-1)

The adjustment to new Head Coach John Bryant has been a bumpy one for the Pima Rougriders. They lost their first two games and didn’t score more than 14 points in either game. Last week the ‘Riders shut out Alchesay 30-0 to win their first game. Remember Alchesay beat Blue Ridge in week 1. That is a good win for Pima.

Bisbee was blown out in their season opener by Douglas 54-7. Since then, the Pumas have got the train on the tracks and have rolled off two straight victories. They defeated Globe 43-38 and Miami 32-8. Alchesay defeated Globe 60-14 in week 1.

It’s no secret that Pima wants to run the football and control the clock. Their defense locked in against the Falcons last week. The defensive secondary will be tested on Friday, the Pumas have thrown for 700 yards. If the Riders can avoid giving up the big play action pass plays and hold on to the football, they should get win number 2 of the season.

This game will be broadcast live on KATO 1230 AM and you can hear it online by clicking here.

Thatcher(4-0) vs Benson(2-1)

The Benson Bobcats traditionally under Head Coach Chris Determan get better as the season goes on. Their lone loss has come at the hands of the Morenci Wildcats. The Bobcats lost their starting quarterback in that game due to injury and never got in sync. Last week Benson started Sr. Jayce Burkett at QB and rolled over Santa Rita 54-0.

Thatcher might of overlooked Safford last week and found themselves in a battle late in the game until a Cole Motes blocked punt changed the momentum and the Eagles escaped with an 8 point win. I don’t think Benson has enough offensive threats this week to challenge Thatcher but the Eagles will have to not look ahead to next week’s big match up with Santa Cruz.

Safford(0-3) at Show Low(1-3)

The Safford Bulldogs are headed in the right direction. Wins and Losses don’t always define where a team is at. The Dogs were a tough luck loser to Wickenburg in OT and were the better team for 3 quarters against Thatcher last week. If Head Coach Eric Hjalmarson can convey that to the squad and keep marching in that direction, this team is going to win some games down the stretch.

Show Low picked up their first win of the season last week over ALA-Ironwood 40-6. They struggled to stop the run two weeks ago against Thatcher en route to their worse loss of the season. Safford showed a very balanced attack last week that Show Low will have to really prepare for in order to stay in this one.

My bold prediction of the week: Safford gets win number 1 Friday night at Show Low.

Fort Thomas(3-0) at St. David(3-1)

The Fort Thomas Apaches made the 6.5 hour trip to Winterhaven, CA last week to take on San Pasqual. Luckily the trip didn’t phase the team and they walked away with a 64-12 victory. This week’s trip is much shorter but a little tougher.

St. David has been in a rebuilding mode the last several years. They won 3 in a row to start the season before falling against Anthem Prep last week. The Tigers are always tough at home. The key for The Fort is to get ahead early and avoid the Tigers from ringing that ear piercing touchdown bell all night long.

Morenci(3-1) at Eloy Santa Cruz(1-2)

Despite the 15-0 loss to Thatcher to start their season the Morenci Wildcats have been firing on all cylinders. They’ve put together 3 wins in a row against Santa Rita, Benson and Willcox. Not exactly the toughest schedule but winning breeds confidence and as long as the ‘Cats have that, they will be dangerous.

I don’t know what to make of Santa Cruz this season. They had challenged Thatcher the past two seasons for the best record in the State at the 2A level. They have already dropped two games this season. One to a resurgent Sahuarita team 28-22 in 2 OT and the other a 20-19 loss to Round Valley. Round Valley beat Show Low 21-14. Thatcher beat Show Low 66-6. See what I mean.

Morenci will have to not let the long trip and the Dust Devil fans get in their heads Friday night. If they are able to do that, I think they will prove that the 2A Black River is the deepest league in 2A.