The first full week of football is always so telling as we get our first glimpse of what the offseason has produced for some of the teams.
New coaches put in their systems, players like Byron Murphy (Macros de Niza) and Kam’ron Johnson (Tempe) of Saguaro put on new uniforms after transferring and rivalries are renewed.
By the time the action is over there will be a better idea of what to expect in 2014.
Here are four things we will know by the stroke of midnight.
Is the Chandler hype real?
Chandler is being talked about as a title contender. It is clear the talent is there. Everyone points to the win over Hamilton last year as a sign that there is something different about this program, but last year’s easy 41-21 over Centennial to open the season was a pretty good indicator as well.
If the Wolves beat the Coyotes in a similar fashion at Centennial then we’ll know for sure something special is in play for Chandler.
A loss would probably let us know the defense needs to catch up to the offense if Chandler is going to seriously challenge Hamilton and Mountain Pointe.
Brophy was overwhelmed, 44-0, in Las Vegas against Bishop Gorman, which is ranked No. 1 by USAToday.
The Broncos performance at Desert Mountain will give us a better idea of what we can expect from Brophy in 2014. It isn’t easy, despite what Mountain Pointe did last year, to perform in the environment at Fertitta Field. The venue is intimate and very loud. Oh, and the opponent’s lineup is filled with talented players feeding off the atmosphere.
Playing at Desert Mountain, a program trying to find a new identity after losing two of the state’s best in Kyle Allen and Mark Andrews to the college ranks, is a little different.
If the Broncos struggle with Desert Mountain even in a win then it will be clear that another 4-6 regular season might be in the offing.
King of Scottsdale:
If I wasn’t tied to Ahwatukee-based coverage on Friday nights I would be headed to the Chaparral Saguaro game this week. It doesn’t have the edge it once did when the interactions between Charlie Ragle and John Sanders were a show in itself.
But this is still a must watch game.
There isn’t much to learn about Saguaro. The Sabercats will run away with Division III and put up a ridiculous average margin of victory this year.
To me this game is all about Chaparral. If the Firebirds win at Saguaro then Conrad Hamilton has already earned a signature win in his first season after years of being the program’s defensive coordinator.
One of the more underrated annual games is between Peoria Liberty and Goodyear Desert Edge, and they get after it again tonight with both teams coming in with impressive wins last week.
Desert Edge has won two in a row in this series and a win over Division II Liberty, which knocked off Ironwood Ridge 24-20 when the defense threw a shutout in the second half, cements the belief that Desert Edge will continue to be a Westside power.
I love the way Desert Edge coach Rich Wellbrock goes about his business. It won’t be long before he gets scooped up by a Division I school if he decides to go that route.