If the forward pass is your passion the Division I Mesa Mountain View-Desert Mountain clash at Desert Mountain on Thursday night (Oct. 10) is your destination.
These are teams who routinely throw for close to opr beyond 300 yards in games. It doesn't compute that either will diverge from an aerial show. It's one of six games of note featuring East Valley and southern Arizona schools this week in D-I, D-II, D-III, D-IV and D-V to be broad-brushed in Week 7,
Here are those games of note in a rapidly winding down football season:
THURSDAY OCT. 10
DIVISION I: Mesa Mountain View (5-1) at Desert Mountain (2-4) — This is the fourth time the teams have matched up the last three seasons and Mountain View is itching to break into the win column over that span. The Toros feature senior quarterback John Clark, who is enjoying a terrific season. Clark has passed for 1,675 yards, 19 touchdowns and thrown only two picks. He has passed his TD completions of a year ago by five and interceptions are down seven. Clark has an array of receivers to throw to which makes the Toros tough to defend. Desert Mountain has a pair of losses that could have been victories (Brophy and Chaparral) and had them sitting at 4-2. Instead the Wolves are playing for their postseason lives with four games left. Texas A&M-bound QB Kyle Allen is having a decent season (1,515 yards, 13 TDs and 6 interceptions). Allen has piloted three wins over the Toros — one in 2011 and two in 2012. Wide receiver Mark Andrews, committed to Oklahoma, has enjoyed matchups with Mountain View. In three games Andrews has 25 receptions for 453 yards and seven TDs. Desert Mountain will have to tighten up the D to make it 4-for-4 vs. the Toros of late. The Wolves gave up nearly 600 yards of offense to Red Mountain last week.
FRIDAY OCT. 11
Basha (4-2) at Hamilton (4-2) — It's Zach Werlinger-or-bust Friday for Basha as the Bears try to beat Hamilton for the first time in this their fifth meeting. Hamilton dropped a second consecutive game last week in a fourth-quarter, ping-pong affair with Chandler. Werlinger has yet to be slowed by any opponent. The senior QB has passed for 1,843 yards and 15 TDs. Offensively it's advantage Basha; but Hamilton's defense gets the nod over Basha, which has had trouble stopping most opponents. Last week was an exception against offensively-challenge Perry. The bright spots for Hamilton's offense have been Tyrell Smith and Elijah Williams. DIVISION II: Ironwood Ridge (5-1) at Tucson High (5-1) –Ironwood Ridge is enjoying a surprisingly strong season after losing virtually all its top D-II title-team titans to graduation. Coach Matt Johnson doesn't have as stout a defense as last year, but the Nighthawks have survived and thrive with a potent ground game. Leading the rushing attack is senior Jake Vartanian, who patiently waited his turn last year in a part-time role behind a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Vartanian has rushed for 900 yards and 14 TDs so far. He chipped in 492 yards and six TDs last year. Ironwood Ridge is averaging 41 points a game. Tucson has never beaten Ironwood Ridge in six previous tries and has been routed in five of the six. The Badgers hope they can change that with senior quarterback Donovan Moore and sophomore running back Bryce Coleman a solid tandem. Ironwood Ridge will be the best offensive team Tucson has faced. Expect a high-scoring contest. DIVISION III: Saguaro (5-1) at Williams Field (6-0); It seems pointless for opponents to attempt to shut down Saguaro quarterback Luke Rubenzer. Rubenzer has posted prolific numbers against all-comers thus far, including more than 400 yards rushing and passing last week in a 35-28 win over defending D-III champ Queen Creek. Rubenzer has amassed 2,127 yards rushing and passing with 23 TD passes and three rushing scores. He makes few mistakes. Williams Field operates effectively behind senior QB Jeddediah Fagg, but the Black Hawks don't rely as much on one player as Saguaro does. Williams Field needs its best defensive game and a few big plays from either its stable of able running backs or receivers Cole Forsgren and Nick Adamcik. Limiting Saguaro to 28 points or less would be a reasonable goal. If that's the case it could result in a Williams Field' triumph in the first-ever meeting between the schools. DIVISION IV: Coolidge (6-0) at Seton Catholic (5-1) — Coolidge is the last unbeaten team in D-IV, but retooled defending champion Seton is capable of dealing the Bears their first loss. Seton has played a tougher schedule to date with its only loss to Snowflake, which lost by three to perennial D-IV power Blue Ridge last week. Coolidge relies on speed and its rushing attack. The Bears will need big plays from the likes of backs Charles McCarty and Dominic Ellis to have a chance of handling Seton, a solid contender in its division the past three seasons. Quarterback Kyle Johnson has stepped in to guide the offense, which can ground out yardage with running back Antonio Campanella or go vertical with Johnson and receivers George Wolter and Ryan Trilk. The teams have one common opponent — Coronado. Coolidge edged Coronado, 27-20, last week. Seton blanked Coronado 34-0 in late September. Sometimes tha comparison is meaningful, other times ….. DIVISION V: Yuma Catholic (4-1) at Arizona Lutheran (6-0) — ALA enters as the No. 1 team in D-V power-rankings while Yuma Catholic is No. 4. Both teams can move it via ground or air and have played a couple of solid teams. Arizona Lutheran knocked off defending state champ Northwest Christian last week and will need to be emotionally up for the visitors. Yuma Catholic's lone loss was to No. 2 Thatcher (20-14). YC committed four turnovers in that one. YC is led by mult-threat back Carter Rodriguez. Quarterback Jagan Cleary has been a bit inconsistent, but capable of a solid game. Cleary threw three picks in the loss to Thatcher, but was much better in a win over D-IV, top-10 River Valley a couple weeks ago. The Shamrocks have a two-way standout in tight end-defensive end Matt Pistone. Pistone scored four TDs last week in the win over Tonopah Valley (two receiving and two on defense). Arizona Lutheran is led by quarterback Cameron Haag (17 TD passes, 4 picks) and running back Jeff Zwick and receiver Brady Cook. Zwick and Cook have combined for 20 TDs.