Playoffs? Yes, Skyline is in the picture
Four weeks ago, Skyline’s football team lost 42-0 to Mountain View. A couple days later first-year coach Angelo Paffumi spoke of his kids, some of whom he felt had thrown the towel in physically and mentally long before the final whistle that night. The struggles to change a culture and mentality at the school were on vivid display to Paffumi, and a long, potentially arduous road lay ahead.
It still does, because some things could take a few years to have firmly entrenched, not to mention attracting kids to play football at the school, and especially the lower levels of the school’s surrounding neighborhoods.
But in the here-and-now, his approach and messages appear to have sunken in with “more” instead of “few.”
Since that Week 3 walloping by Mountain View, Skyline beat Dobson, then was beaten soundly by Desert Ridge and Highland. You may notice the Jaguars and Hawks are in the top 10 in this week’s AIA power rankings, so let’s chalk some of those games up to a sheer discrepancy in numbers, depth and talent.
Last Friday, the Coyotes (4-3) beat Mesa in overtime, and coupled with a September victory against Dobson, was all-time wins Nos. 2 and 3 in Coyotes history against a fellow-Mesa district school. Both in the same season.
Don’t look now, but the Coyotes are fighting for a playoff spot.
The obvious caveat here is the Coyotes’ four wins are against Carl Hayden (3-4), Kingman (3-4), Mesa (2-5) and Dobson (1-6), while all three of their losses weren’t competitive. There’s no denying that part of this.
Still, the Coyotes are No. 20 in this week’s power rankings, which is why this week’s matchup with Gilbert is huge. The Tigers (1-6) have struggled this season, and if Skyline wins Friday night and in Week 10 against Trevor Browne (sorry, but we’re leaning toward a loss to Red Mountain next week), the Coyotes would finish 6-4 and have a chance.
At 5-5 without much help its from strength of schedule, probably not.
Who knows what shakes out with other teams in the next couple weeks, along with the requisite of three automatic playoff berths from each section in Division I.
Yes, heading into Week 8, Skyline has a chance at a playoff spot, and given where they’ve been in 2012 and most years’ prior, the Coyotes should have no problem ignoring any subsequent “but…” statements.