Game Previews

In-depth previews of Cactus/Millennium, Syline/Marcos and Centennial/Sunrise

CACTUS COBRAS @ MILLENNIUM TIGERS

 

Cobra offense versus Tiger defense

Cactus has been carried by running back Mike Brown's strong legs all season, with the senior standout averaging just under 190-yards rushing per game for 21 scores on the season; against Agua Fria two weeks ago he racked up 379-yards on the ground for five scores.  Junior quarterback Brody Ray is coming off his best game of the year against Lake Havasu, completing six-of-ten passes for 111 yards and two scores.  Junior back Alan Woods has recorded a pair of 100-yard rushing games this season.

 

In two matchups against top-flight running backs the Tiger defense has lacked consistency-they held Lake Havasu star Brent Michaels to just 31 yards, but a week later got scorched by Peoria's Jamal Miles for 260-yards.  Safety Marquis Flowers is one of the state's top junior prospects, registering 48 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack on the year.  Linebackers Justin Teal and Andrew Erwin are the team leaders in tackles and sacks, respectively.

Tiger offense versus Cobra defense

 

Flowers has also been Millennium's top offensive threat-his upright running style has accounted for 677 yards rushing and seven scores this season.  Junior Mike Massey is the team's quarterback and has been extremely effective, throwing for over 1,5000 yards and ten scores (against two interceptions).  Senior receivers James Castillo and Demetrius Wilson have been game-breakers for the Tigers, with each averaging over 25-yards per catch.

The linebacking trio of Josh Sydzyik, Zach Minter, and Phillip Pollock lead the Cobra D, racking up 170 tackles and 13 sacks on the year.  Kandon Thomas is a big playmaker out of the secondary, picking off six passes and returning three for scores.  Senior Apollo Ford is the team's leading defensive lineman.

BOTTOM LINE

Despite coming into this week with a 6-2 record Millennium is still looking for their first win over a top opponent this season.  The Tigers fell to talented squads from Peoria and Sabino earlier in the season.

 

Four Millennium players have scored five or more touchdowns this season, with Castillo leading the way with eight (five receiving, two rushing, one return).  Brown and senior receiver Trey Sam are the only two Cobras at that mark.

Millennium's Justin Shalongo has knocked down six field goals this season, with all but one being over 35-yards.  Cactus counterpart Tim Bryan kicked all of his three-pointers (3) against Peoria.  

 

 

SKYLINE COYOTES @ MARCOS DE NIZA PADRES

 

Coyote offense versus Padre defense

Few teams at any level have exhibited a running game as relentless as that at Skyline, where the Coyotes have averaged 277-yards per game.  The one-two punch of Thomas Brown and Damari Lewis have contributed a big portion of that total, with each rushing for over 800-yards on the year whilst averaging over ten-yards per carry.  Converted receiver Mike Bailey had a big effort at quarterback last week against Horizon, rushing for 95 yards while throwing for over 200. 

ASU-bound linebacker Anthony Rose continues to be the impetus for the Padre defense and is coming off a 16-tackle effort against Chavez.  Junior ‘backer Ramon Abreu has also been impressive for Marcos, recording 76 tackles and forcing five turnovers.  Defensive ends Brett Thompson and Kakalea Pule have given quarterbacks nightmares all season, combining for 17 sacks.

Padre offense versus Coyote defense

Quarterback David Schira has made few mistakes this season, being picked off just four times against 13 touchdowns.  Junior wideout Justin Rodriguez has scored in seven of eight contests this season, and has been on the receiving end of 30 of the Padres' 68 completions this season.  Abreu is coming off back-to-back two touchdown games at running back.

Brown has been a workhorse on the defensive side of the ball as well this season, leading the team in tackles and registering two interceptions.  Senior defensive lineman Lance Hyer has emerged into a sack master, dropping opposing quarterbacks nine times on the year.  Classmate Ellis Chigundendi has also been tough on the other team's signal caller, getting 7.5 sacks. 

BOTTOM LINE

Beyond his massive contributions to the offense and defense, Brown has also been instrumental on special teams, blocking three kicks on the year.  Defensive back Matt Ditsworth also has two blocks on the year.

Both teams are playing to keep their region title hopes alive.  Skyline would need to win-out and hope for a Desert Ridge loss to secure the title, while Marcos would clinch their second straight Pima Region crown with wins over Skyline and Desert Ridge. 

Skyline's Jared Smith is one of the state's top kickers, coming into the week a perfect eight-for-eight on field goal attempts.  Half were in excess of forty yards.  Marcos specialist Eric Rodriguez has knocked down four field goals.   

 

 

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS @ CENTENNIAL COYOTES

Mustang offense versus Centennial defense

Sunrise Mountain has depended heavily on the pass this season, with their air attack accounting for nearly three times as many yards prior to their Friday night loss to Tolleson (1220 to 493).  Big (6-2, 200-pound) wide receiver Nathaniel Fink is the team's leading yard gainer with 551 receiving yards on 38 catches.  Senior Jimmy Kerr was a first-team all-region selection last season and has 22 receptions on the year.

The Coyote defense is coming off another titanic effort versus then-#2 Westview last week, registering 6.5 sacks against the Knights and limiting Westview to 79 yards rushing.  Defensive tackle Jack Ramsey has emerged in recent weeks, recording 30 tackles and six sacks in the past four games.  Linebacker Austin Arias continues to be a standout performer, with 13 of his team-leading 56 tackles coming against Westview.  Four members of the Coyote secondary have recorded interceptions this season.

Coyote offense versus Mustang defense

Centennial's run game has been centered on the efforts of the Hughes brothers all season, with John and Anthony averaging a combined 183 yards per game.  Receivers Matt Baugh and Justin Callahan have combined for nearly 500-yards receiving on the year, while John Hughes, Sean Dumdie, and Kyle Coffey join Callahan on the list of players with multiple receiving scores. 

Six backs have rushed for over 100 yards against the Mustangs, with five teams rushing for over 200 yards.  Senior linebacker Joe Greene is the team's leading tackler (51), while senior Tony Troftgruben leads the team in interceptions with two.  Sunrise Mountain has struggled pressuring the quarterback, dropping opposing quarterbacks just eight times on the year.

BOTTOM LINE

After being deadlocked 21-21 at the half of these programs' 2005 matchup, Centennial has outscored their district brethren 129-3.  Sunrise Mountain's lone victory in the series came in 1999, with every contest since 2001 being decided by three touchdowns or more.

Centennial holds a Peoria District record 20-game win streak going into this game.  The Mustangs have been on a six-game skid since defeating Cibola the second week of the season.

This is Centennial's Homecoming game and after the battle with Westview will need to be focused on keeping distractions (and injuries) to a minimum as they close out the season with two opponents they'll be heavily favored against (Sunrise Mountain and Ironwood).  In their two state championship seasons the Coyotes have used these late season matchups to become more polished before entering the playoffs.


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