Game Previews

Previewing Hamilton/Centennial & Pinnacle/Westview Games



Hamilton offense versus Centennial defense


The Huskies were explosive in their season opener against nationally-ranked Booker T. Washington of Miami, putting up over 400-yards of offense and 37 points in an upset win.  In week two Brophy Prep's vaunted D gave them some fits, but the end result was still a 10-0 Husky win.  Junior backs Zach Bauman and Dante Alexander have alternated as 100-yard rushers to start the season (Bauman eclipsed the total versus Washington, whilst Alexander hit the century mark Friday night).  QB Zak Hambsch had a big game in Miami but saw his effectiveness limited against Brophy.


In their season opener versus Desert Ridge, Centennial's defense gave up a touchdown to the Jaguars on their opening possession (where Desert Ridge started at the Centennial 32 due to an interception); from there the Coyotes created significant problems for the vaunted Jaguars passing game, picking off two Jaguar passes (one for a score) and registering several sacks.  Defensive back Kyle Coffey excelled for the Coyotes, tallying both interceptions along with a pair of pass deflections, while secondary mate Brad Williams also performed well.  Defensive linemen Josh Bell, Ramos, and Jimmie Lewis need to duplicate their game one effort for the Coyote D to be successful.


Centennial offense versus Hamilton defense


The Coyotes' first three possessions on Friday ended in turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), a feat that can't be duplicated if Centennial expects to defeat Hamilton.  RB John Hughes was the Coyotes' most effective weapon, ripping off a series of big, flashy runs and catching one pass for a score, and receivers Justin Callahan and Matt Baugh were big facets of Centennial's short passing game.  The Coyotes' were beneficiaries of good field position against Desert Ridge-they need to develop some positive consistency sustaining long drives to have similar success against Hamilton.  Their offensive line was very effective in pass protection.


Hamilton's defense has terrorized opposing quarterbacks to start the season, piling up 14 sacks versus Washington and Brophy.  DL Mike Sylvestre has been impressive all season, while linebackers Mississippi Jones and Rueben Robinson are amongst the state's best.  A secondary led by Ryan Milus, Andrew Stemple, and Devon Carrington might be the best in the state.




While it's debatable that this will be the most talented team Hamilton has faced this season, there's little doubt that Centennial is the most experienced squad they've come across-three starters return on both lines from a 2007 state championship squad, as do 1,100 rushing yards from the Hughes brothers (John and Anthony) and UNLV commit Reggie Umuolo at middle linebacker.


In a game of this caliber special teams can often tip the scales in one team's direction-both teams have had their moments thus far, with Centennial's John Hughes peel off some nice returns and K/P Ryan Shauger go 2-for-2 on field goals (a 37-yarder and a 41-yarder), four touchbacks, and two punts downed inside the 20-yard line.  Hamilton K Yannick Mets nailed a 41-yard attempt versus Brophy.


It's critical for both teams to learn from their previous game-Centennial won't beat Hamilton turning the ball over on their first three possessions, and the odds that Hamilton will beat Centennial by scoring just 10 points are nearly as long. 



Westview offense versus Pinnacle defense


The Knights romped over Maryvale as expected to open their season, with running backs R.J. Robinson and Carlton Williams combining for five scores.  QB Jourdan Grandon saw significant game experience as a sophomore in 2007, and notched a touchdown threw the air against Maryvale.  With road-graders like Vincent Shatwell and Brennan Bowen leading the way the Knights' biggest strength might reside on the offensive line.


In an absolute battle of attrition against highly-touted Ironwood Ridge, the Pioneer defense held its ground in a 10-6 win.  LB Andrew Hurley recorded six tackles versus the Nighthawks, with three of those resulting in sacks (he also added a fumble recovery); fellow linebacker Joe Distor led the team in tackles with 12.  Defensive back Joe Soteros led the effort in the secondary with 10 tackles and an interception.


Pinnacle offense versus Westview defense


As impressive as their defense was in their opener the Pioneer offense was nearly as suspect, with their defense registering the team's only touchdown.  If one positive can be taken from that contest, it can be that over ten attempts QB Alex Cappellini did not throw an interception.  Pinnacle can not afford to accumulate just 92 yards of offense if they are to pull off the mild upset of Westview.


The Knights' linebacking trio of Michael Saucedo, Eric Ramsey, and Sam Pearson were devastating against Maryvale, combining for 34 tackles.  Lineman Vincent Keener returns after a 2007 season in which he registered 84 tackles and 3.5 sacks.




While statistically appearing to be a mismatch, it needs to be noted that Pinnacle's opener came against a legitimate 5A-2 playoff team, whereas Westview's blowout of Maryvale was an expected blowout of a bad team.  The numbers going into this game may not be the most accurate barometer of these teams.


Last year Pinnacle prevailed in a narrow win, and was Westview's only loss to a 5A-2 team not named Centennial.  While the Knights lost stars such as Reggie Nicholson and Brian Conley, the players they do return likely are looking to make amends for this defeat.


Against Maryvale Westview missed a pair of extra point kicks-such margin for error will not be present versus Pinnacle and could mean the difference in this game.

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