ArizonaVarsity's Top 25 Games: Week 7

Ralph Amsden, Publisher
Arizona Varsity
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Last Week I went 15-10 (Yikes) in my Top 25 picks. I'm now 125-50 overall.

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25) Brophy at Basha

The loser of this game could feasibly go 1-9 on the season. Who could have ever imagined either school in that position?

24) Tucson at Sunnyside

I could be wrong, and hopefully someone will correct me if I am, but I think this game is essentially a week 7 playoff game. The winner of this gets to play the winner of the Yuma roundabout to see who goes to the playoffs out of the 6A Southern section.

23) Mingus at #12 Prescott

Prescott is a surprising squad on the verge of a top 10 ranking if they can get past Mingus on Friday. Mingus is 2-4, but the fact that they've played 6 games against all quality opponents means you can't count them out in this one.

22) Greenway at #8 Peoria

No one is expecting Greenway to get the upset after they faltered against Casa Grande last week, but QB Tyler Duncan is having a special season, and watching Peoria's Nate Dobson throw to Elijah Neal is always fun.

21) #5 Scottsdale Christian at #13 Arizona Lutheran

Arizona Lutheran has four shutouts, but the defense tends to give a little against better competition- well undefeated Scottsdale Christian is among the best competition ALA will face all year. We'll see if they can hold up.

20) Lee Williams at Flagstaff

Flagstaff is in the middle of a very successful season, and doesn't want last weeks loss to Thunderbird to derail its shot at a winning season- something they can achieve with a win over Kingman's Lee Williams.

19) #11 Morenci at #2 Round Valley

Round Valley is tough enough to beat at home, and good luck doing it while the offense is averaging 55 points per game over the last 4 contests. Morenci's last two games against top-5 2A teams didn't end well, but maybe the third time's a charm?

18) #2 Casteel at #11 Fountain Hills

Let's see if Casteel can rediscover their offense after being held to one offensive touchdown at home against Yuma Catholic, or if the Shamrocks gifted the rest of 3A with a solid game plan against the Colts.

17) #15 Safford at #6 Benjamin Franklin (Thursday)

Safford has had injuries at QB and a brutal schedule, but they're still good against the run, and that'll make for a tough opponent for Benjamin Franklin's dynamic rushing attack.

16) #10 Winslow at Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge's freshman QB tossed four TD passes last week, and previously undefeated Winslow showed they're vulnerable in a loss to Snowflake. Can Blue Ridge take advantage of the momentum swing on their home field?

15) #15 Gilbert at #8 Desert Vista

Gilbert might be giving up a ton of points, but at least the offense is clicking. This will be a matchup of two very big arms, and a chance to see Desert Vista's Derek Kline measured against Purdue commit Jack Plummer.

14) #14 Canyon del Oro at #10 Pueblo

Canyon del Oro needs to finish drives if they have a chance to get a much needed win against Pueblo. Pueblo hasn't beaten Canyon del Oro since 1998, and this might be their best chance to break a 7-game losing streak.

13) #10 Red Mountain at #13 Mountain View

Red Mountain has quietly rattled off four wins in a row after starting 0-2, which is the exact same way the Mountain Lions started 2016. Last year, Mountain View go the win over Red Mountain, this year, Mountain View's trying to stay at or above .500, and has home field advantage.

12) #9 Walden Grove at #5 Salpointe Catholic

Salpointe is way better than their #5 ranking, especially considering their lone loss came on the road to an elite 5A team without their two best offensive weapons. Walden Grove would be making a heck of a statement is they pulled the upset there, but I expect the Lancers to come out angry and ready to re-establish their place atop 4A.

11) #11 Skyline at Mesa

Skyline's defense can be scored on, and Mesa's Kris Jackson has been unstoppable lately. Is this a recipe for a major upset, or will the same Coyotes offense that beat Mountain View come out and run Mesa off their own home field?

10) #8 St. Johns at #7 Pima

Both of these teams want to be considered top 5 in 2A, but both have consistently faltered against higher ranked competition. This is a chance for two evenly matched teams to get a win that would be considered a feather in either one's cap.

9) #14 Tempe Prep at #4 Phoenix Christian

Tempe Prep is on the verge of missing the playoffs if they can't get it together and beat a quality opponent, which is crazy, because on talent and coaching alone, they're easily a top-8 team in 2A. Phoenix Christian's riding a streak of ball security that's incredible rare right now. QB Hunter Cole is currently tied for 6th most TD passes without an interception this year at 19. That's 6th in the entire country.

8) #6 Liberty at #15 Chaparral

How sweet would it be for Liberty to go to Chaparral's home field, and deliver what would essentially be the knockout punch to Chaparral's playoff hopes? How much of a momentum swing would it be for Chaparral to ride their improved defense to new life with a win against a top-6 opponent in front of a home crowd? This is going to be a great game, no matter the outcome.

7) #13 Marcos de Niza at #11 Cactus Shadows

The AIA currently likes both of these teams a whole lot more than I do, and a win for either team would put them in contention for a possible home game in the playoffs if they finish the season strong. Cactus Shadows lost this game at Marcos last year, and hopes to get some revenge against an offensively-challenged Padres squad.

6) #10 Apollo at #14 Maricopa

The AIA considers both of these 5-1 teams to be top 7 seeds in their rankings. I think they've both benefited from a softer schedule. Apollo is giving up less than 9 points per game in their 5 wins, while Maricopa is averaging 288 rushing yards per game in their 5 wins.

5) #7 Highland at #2 Mountain Pointe

Highland has had two weeks post-Perry to prepare for the Pride. Mountain POinte's running attack is nearing full strength and the Hawks will have to be ready for a huge dose of McKinney and Bragg in order to keep pace in this one.

4) #2 Queen Creek at #8 Campo Verde

Campo Verde has never beaten Queen Creek, but maybe the Coyotes having home field advantage on their turf, assuming they get a decent crowd, can score more than 10 points against the Bulldogs for the first time in school history.

3) #4 Sabino at #1 Pusch Ridge

Every single week Pusch Ridge proves they're the best team in 3A, but I'm not sure this is sustainable. The strength of schedule for the Lions can be seen as a preparatory advantage, or is can be seen as tightrope walk that can't go on forever. Sabino is a good team, and have three straight shutout wins by more than 40-points each.

2) #4 Cactus at #2 Sunrise Mountain

Cactus just scored 51 points in 17 and a half minutes last week. The only 4A teams I can think of that might be able to match or withstand that kind of barrage are the three teams ahead of Cactus in the standings. If Cactus can manage to beat Sunrise Mountain, and do so convincingly, they'll have a solid argument to jump Saguaro into the #1 spot.

1) #1 Perry at #3 Chandler

All you can hope for here is a clean game. Last year's regular season matchup between Chandler and Perry left both teams with some legitimate officiating concerns, and last year's postseason game saw Perry star WR Nate James leave the game in the first quarter, and Chandler took advantage and put up over 600 yards of offense. This year Perry is more balanced on offense, and better on defense, while Chandler is just now getting players back that were dinged up early in the season. This is a matchup everyone has been looking forward to all season. Gotta be a member of ArizonaVarsity to see who I'm picking. Those picks are HERE.

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