Good high school match-ups in Thursday night playoffs

Here we go, weren’t we just talking about high school football the other day? It seems like it takes an eternity for football season to get here and then it goes by soooo fast! Well here we are, down to eight schools at each division level and to the State Championship game for Division VI – Eight Man Football. Here are my selections for games that could be – should be – really exciting. Once you get past the first round, there really isn’t a bad match up.

Thursday Night Games:

Division I – #1 Hamilton hosting #9 Chandler – rematch

Division II – #4 Deer Valley hosting #5 Centennial – rematch

Division II – #6 Ironwood Ridge hosting #14 Notre Dame Prep – the Saints are special

Division II – #2 Cienega hosting #7 Marcos De Niza

Division III – #1 Sabino hosting #9 Thunderbird

Division III – #2 Liberty hosting #7 Arcadia

Saturday Games:

Division IV – #2 Snowflake hosting #7 Florence at North Canyon at 7 PM

Division V – #2 Yuma Catholic hosting #10 Round Valley at Higley at 7 PM

Division VI State Championship Game – #2 Joy Christian hosting #4 Joseph City at Bradshaw Mtn. at 4 PM

As the 2011 high school football season has drawn to a close for the vast majority of high school football players around the State, I just want to congratulate them. You just finished another year of playing the greatest Team Sport in America. I know many of you are disappointed that your season didn’t end in a State Championship. However, if you take a moment to reflect on what you have really done this past year, your disappointment may not be so great. Even though Chandler is still competing, I would like to use them as an example to emphasize my point.

Chandler has an enrollment of just over 3000 teenagers, of which half are girls (or “others” as I like to refer to them) a school with about 1500 boys – and less than 200 of those boys play football. Less than 200 worked out all summer, lifted weights, ran, endured 2 or 3-a-days at camp and the sweltering August heat and humidity for a chance to play this game we call football. 

Those 200 boys showed up six days a week for practice, some of them knowing that their opportunity to compete that week would often be only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But they did their part to prepare their buddies, the starters, for Friday night’s game. Every week that those 200 boys returned, they grew a little taller and a little stronger – physically, mentally, and maybe even spiritually.

This says to me that 1300 young men at Chandler were not tough enough, committed enough, or disciplined enough to play the game of football. I do realize that some guys had legitimate reasons for not playing football, but I also know that for most guys, they just are not tough enough.

At a time when we question the toughness of the American Resolve in this country, I know that I truly appreciate the young men who dedicate themselves to their teammates and to the game of football. I do know that their life has been enriched by this experience. So congratulate yourself young man.  You have completed and entire year of American football, something not every kid gets to say he did.

Next Reads