Teams trying to bounce back or hold course
Wins and upsets are one thing. Sustained success is another.
That’s what makes this week interesting. We’re coming up a bit short on big-time matchups on the East Valley football front this week (at least on paper … yes, acutely aware “on paper” means nothing). But we’re not void of schools coming off jubilant, emotional weeks.
Chandler might have had the biggest win and the biggest chore ahead. The Wolves’ big comeback against Basha last week could have been the statement that Chandler can, in fact, come back and win games against elite competition after years of the Wolves invariably being on the Basha side of that equation.
Will the Wolves sustain it? No. 1 Mountain Pointe is next. Yowza.
Hamilton rose to the occasion (and then some) in pushing around Desert Ridge, a matchup heavy on hype going in. Now the Huskies get struggling Mesquite. Hamilton has perfected the back-to-work, even-keeled approach for the better part of 15 years, even against a desperate team such as Mesquite.
Desert Ridge, meanwhile, has to lick its wounds quickly and face Skyline, a matchup “on paper” which heavily favors the Jaguars. But there are plenty coaching sidebars with these schools (Skyline coach Angelo Paffumi was a Desert Ridge assistant until this year) and kids who know one another given the close proximity.
Basha needs a pick-me-up after its 17-0 and 31-21 leads were respectively renounced against Chandler in a high-wire, emotional matchup. The Bears had a golden chance to make a move and, for now, lost it. Now comes Highland, a team which can’t match Basha athlete-for-athlete but is playing well as a sum-of-its-parts-is-greater type team.
Desert Mountain’s goal-line stand on Chaparral was another big win for the Wolves as they distance themselves from the past two years of struggles. This isn’t Chaparral of 2011 or 2010, but that’s not Desert Mountain’s concern. The Wolves are quietly undefeated after beating their rivals. Notre Dame is next for Desert Mountain, a Saints team with talent but has again struggled through a brutal opening month to their schedule. This one could get interesting.
Who among them is for real? One or two weeks never decides a season, but it will be cause for concern if the proverbial balloon bursts on these schools during this all-important “week after.”