Coach’s picks for state high school playoffs

It is absolutely amazing how much has happened since last week, and unfortunately it really doesn’t have much to do with football. Even though football was the vehicle that brought it to our collective conscientious. I realize that it has been discussed damn near to the level of over-kill, and if you have reached that point of 

“I have heard enough”, I apologize for one more comment. If you haven’t read Ed Cole’s commentary on Pros2Preps, you should read it. If you have had the opportunity to listen to Brad Cesmat’s comments, then you are up to speed on what has happened at Penn State.

As Brad has pointed out, Penn State sadly isn’t the only place that something this terrible has happened. So, one more comment from an old guy, who has been going to school for fifty-five years (obviously I’m not a member of the Mensa Society).

Those of us who answer to the title of “coach” or “teacher” have an obligation to do a better job than the adults at Penn State. Almost without fail, every adult who had an inkling of what was taking place, failed to live up to his moral obligations. As a coach, we have an immediate inside track to forming a relationship with our players. They trust us because we wear the title of “coach” – whether we have earned that respect or not.

Parents entrust us with their children. Schools trust us to be the men or women who will fulfill the role of teacher/coach with honor and integrity. The entire profession of being a teacher/coach took a terrible shot this past week. We may never know the full extent of the number of children harmed at Penn State.

Hopefully, something positive will emerge from out of something this terrible. Hopefully, just as there was a tremendous rise in the level of patriotism after 9/11, there will be a tremendous rise in the awareness of sexual abuse in this country and an honest and sincere effort to help those victims of that abuse. Hopefully, it will be an all-encompassing effort that leads to real change. Enough said by an old guy.

On to this weeks games:

First, congratulations to Joseph City for their third consecutive 8-Man State Championship and a hardy congrats to Joy Christian for their very successful season as well.


Division I Semi-Finals

#1 Hamilton vs. #4 Desert Ridge at 7 PM, at Chandler High School  

This is a rematch of last year’s State Championship Game, and a rematch of the their game during week four, won by Hamilton 28-6. I know that Desert Ridge is playing their best football of the year, but so is Hamilton. I think that Hamilton will defend the title again. 

#3 Desert Vista vs. #7 Basha at 7 PM, at Mesquite High School

They have three common opponents: Maryvale, Corona Del Sol and Chandler. Both schools went 3-0 against those teams, two of the three were decisive victories, so not much of value there. Basha appears to be healthy for the first time in weeks and their offense, when clicking, can move the ball on almost anyone. I had the opportunity to watch their game against Chandler, and I was impressed. I also had the opportunity to watch the Desert Vista game against Chandler, and I was impressed. So, who do I think could win this game – DV in a nail bitter! This game may come down to the very last possession, it really could be that close.

Division II Semi-Finals

#1 Chaparral vs. #5 Centennial at 7 PM, at North Canyon High School

If there is a team that can give Chaparral a run for their money, it is Centennial. This game pits the defense of Centennial against the offense of Chaparral – that is worth the price of admission alone – but there is more. Really! Chaparral’s defense has improved as the season has progressed and is only allowing 12.6 pts. per game, while Centennial’s defense is allowing only 8.6 pts. per game. On offense, Chaparral is averaging 49.9 pts. a game, while Centennial’s offense is averaging 37.6 pts. a game. Someone’s stats are going to get hurt this week along with someone’s season ending. The logical pick is Chaparral, but one of the Centennial coaches played for me and began his coaching career with me, so I’m going against the odds and picking Centennial.

#2 Cienega vs. #6 Ironwood Ridge at 7 PM, at Tucson High School

I don’t know much about either program. I haven’t had the opportunity to see either team. 

But I know this, they are the two best teams in Tucson, so, if you want to see a good high school football game, I would be at Tucson High early to get a good seat.


Divisions III Semi-Finals

#1 Sabino vs. #5 Saguaro at 7 PM, at Salpointe High School

Saguaro isn’t a typical #5 seed – I’m going with the Sabercats.

#3 Cactus vs. #7 Arcadia at 7 PM, at North Canyon High School

I was raised on the west side of Phoenix and coached at Glendale Mtn. Ridge for six years, so I’m going with Cactus. When I was a kid, Arcadia was the rich part of town and 19th Avenue and Thomas wasn’t. It wasn’t the poorest part of Phoenix, but it wasn’t Arcadia. So, that’s my logic, not very logical, but it’s mine.

Division IV Semi-Finals

#1 Blue Ridge vs. #4 Seton at 7 PM, at Paradise Valley High School

Blue Ridge is Blue Ridge, they don’t lose very often and they have a trophy case full of State Championship trophies to prove it. Blue Ridge!

#3 Show Low vs. #7 Florence at 3 PM, at Paradise Valley High School

This will be another example of Illogic 101 by Professor Ewan, though I really did get an A in Logic at San Luis Rey College – really! This is a tough one, Coach Ricedorff at Show Low played for MCC when I was an assistant there and he is a heck of a coach. Just look at what he has accomplished at Show Low. Then there is Florence, they could be the sleeper in this bracket. I have ties to the Gopher’s, as well.  Their coach, George DeLaTorre and I started out our careers as assistants at Gilbert in the ‘70’s (19 not 18). The principal at Florence, Chris Knutsen was the Assistant Principal that hired me at Chandler in 2001. So, I’m going with Florence in an upset.

Division V Semi-Finals

#2 Yuma Catholic vs. #14 San Tan Foothills at 3 PM, at Arcadia High School

They met in the regular season, and YC won that game 77-50. I don’t think that YC will give up 50 pts. again, since they averaged only giving up 12 pts. a game while San Tan allowed an average of 30.8 pts. a game. 

#1 Northwest Christian vs. #5 St. Johns at 7 PM, at Arcadia High School

In my opinion the only team that has given NWC a run for their money is Yuma Catholic. St. Johns has earned the right to be here, but I don’t think that they enough to really give NWC a run. Next week, it will be a rematch of last year’s State Championship Game – NWC vs. YC.

So, more than likely, at the end of the season, we will have the “usual suspects” playing for a State Championship.

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