The regular season is winding down, so all of this week's games have teams fighting for a higher seed or even a playoff birth.
In 4AI, #1 Cactus travels to take on Independence. Cactus continues to win, Currently, the goal for the Cobras is keeping focus on staying sharp going into playoffs. Last week Cactus beat a scrappy Moon Valley team 24-9. Independence is currently 6-2 and hopes to find a spot in the playoffs. A win over Cactus would boost the power points. The Patriots boast a versatile backfield made up of Marshawn Ross and Walter Peoples. Ross is averaging ten yards a carry while Peoples averages almost nine yards a carry. This yardage comes behind a big O-line that may be able to matchup with the tough Cactus D.
The remainder of our games will give us a look at five of the top 5AII schools, all of which have playoff aspirations. First, in a neighborhood rivalry, #5 Ironwood will host #3 Centennial. Both teams share 6-2 records. Their one common opponent is Maryvale. Last week Ironwood lost to Maryvale 56-42, while earlier in the season Centennial lost to Maryvale 35-21. Both teams have dealt with injuries to top players Tim House and Skyler Hagg. For Centennial, Zach Timberlin and sophomore Jeff Hughes have picked up the slack. Currently, both runners average nearly nine yards a carry. At Ironwood, junior Eric Hagg and senior Tyrell Grant-Johnson have combined for nearly forty grabs. On the defensive side of the ball, keep an eye on Centennial's Tom Ramsey and Ironwood's William Yancy, both payers are just juniors and may be two of the top D linemen in the state next year. Another big game with the Metro league title on the line has 5AII #1North hosting 5AI Chavez. Except for tough games against Mesa and Mesquite, North has rolled behind tough D and the running and throwing of QB Eric Archuleta. 5-3 Chavez got a big game last week from RB Terence Brown who went for over 200 yards. Down south 5AII #4 Sunnyside hosts #9 Marana Mt. View. The Blue Devils are paced by Mike Smith's 160 yards rushing a game while the Mountain Lions counter with versatile QB Joey Felix and tough running FB Jared Hiller.
Other big games to keep an eye on are Chaparral V. Saguaro, St. Mary's V. Horizon, Bradshaw Mountain V. Mingus and Highland V. Chandler to name a few. As always listen for the staff on the AIA radio network and get on the boards after the games to talk some football. Thanks for your support.