In fact, both teams will be going into Thursday night's game with opposite records. Chandler is 3-0, South Mountain is 0-3. And while everything has gone right for Jim Ewan's boys, little has gone right for the Jaguars, now coached by Todd Williamson.
Both of these teams came into the season with many unanswered questions. Chandler lost most of their key offensive starters, including the starting quarterback, tailback, leading receiver, and four offensive lineman. South Mountain lost all three of their leading rushers, including H-back James Stanfield, who was second team all state last season.
But so far, Chandler has temporarily silenced the critics. The Wolves have outscored their opponents 112-20 in their three victories thus far. Brad Johnson has filled in admirably at quarterback, replacing Justin Thompson, passing for 5 TD's and rushing for one. The Wolves have used running-back by committee, with Reno Bloomquist, Justin Simms, and Antwon Bernard. The Wolves are coming off of a 27-13 victory over Mountain Ridge.
The Jaguars are one of those teams with sensational athleticism, led by seniors AK Howard, Mando Plasencia, and Ray Box. But junior Jalil Brown has carried this offense, leading the team in rushing. They are experimenting with a sophomore quarterback in Robert Benjamin. But the Jaguars have worn down in the second half of every game so far this year. Perhaps the most devistating loss this season was to the Skyline Coyotes, a game in which the Jaguars led 21-7 at halftime. And to make matters worse, Perry Coggin, the head coach, resigned after week two because of health concerns. Todd Williamson takes over for the rest of the season as the new coach.
The two teams face off this Thursday night at Chandler High School. On paper, this looks like a landslide victory for the Wolves, but any team can win on any given night.