Richard Obert's top high school football matchups - Nov. 9, 2012

Five stars

No. 7 Scottsdale Chaparral (8-3) at No. 2 Tempe Marcos de Niza (10-1), 7 Friday night

This was supposed to be the transition year for Chaparral after three consecutive state championships, undergoing a coaching change and fielding mostly underclassmen. But coach Dave Huffine and his staff have done a remarkable job with senior leaders Jake Roh and Alex Arnold to get Chaparral this far with a chance to avenge the 29-27 August loss to Marcos de Niza, a game that was lost on the last play.

No. 5 Mesa Red Mountain (9-2) vs. No. 4 Phoenix Brophy Prep (10-2), at Phoenix College,7 Friday night

Brophy’s last loss was to Red Mountain 33-31. Brophy has won six in a row since then starting with the second-half turnaround against top-seed Phoenix Mountain Pointe. QB Tyler Bruggman has been on target with senior WR Clarence Clark emerging as his go-to guy. WR Devon Allen may be out with an ankle injury, but senior RB Marche Dennard is expected back from an ankle injury after missing last week’s first-round game for senior-loaded Brophy.

No. 6 Phoenix Desert Vista (9-2) at No. 3 Chandler Hamilton (9-2), 7 Friday night

This marks the return of Desert Vista two-way lineman Zach Tamburo, who has not played since suffering an Achilles injury in the Hamilton loss this season. Desert Vista will have other options available if Hamilton decides to load the box to stop RB Jarek Hilgers again in this Division I quarter.

No. 9 Scottsdale Saguaro (9-2) at No. 1 Goodyear Desert Edge (11-0), 7 Friday night

Nose tackle R.J. Tui will be the key to Desert Edge trying to slow down Saguaro’s potent offense, led by junior QB Luke Rubenzer, in this Division III quarterfinal. Desert Edge has 36 sacks this season. It will need to get into the backfield quickly to try to disrupt Saguaro’s fast-tempo offense. RB Kyle Woolard is Desert Edge’s main man on offense, but QB Sawyer Lung can find receivers.

Four stars

No. 5 Gilbert Williams Field (10-1) at No. 4 Peoria Liberty (10-1), 7 Friday night

Liberty lost to Desert Edge and Williams Field to Queen Creek in the regular season. Desert Edge and Queen Creek are the 1 and 2 seeds in Division III. Williams Field relies mostly on the run. Liberty will spread the field with senior QB Tyler Rogers directing a read option attack.

No. 4 Glendale Joy Christian (10-0) vs. No. 3 Pima (10-0), at Phoenix Sunnyslope, Saturday, 6 Friday night

This is for the Division VI, eight-man championship. Pima won an eight-man title in 2005. Joy Christian is going for its first, before moving up to 11-man ball next season. These are two dyanmic offenses with Joy Christian finding success in the air and Pima pounding out touchdowns on the ground behind a big, strong line. But this could be a low-scoring affair for eight-man ball.

No. 6 Glendale Apollo (10-1) at No. 3 Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge (10-1), 7 Friday night

Apollo’s defense will be severely challenged by Ironwood Ridge’s speed. Ironwood Ridge has one of the state’s more dynamic athletes in dual-threat QB Tyler Williams. Ironwood Ridge’s defense also presents problems with its speed and atleticism.

No. 3 Chandler Seton Catholic (10-1) vs. No. 6 Cottonwood Mingus (8-3), at Glendale Apollo, 3 p.m. Saturday

This is a Division IV quarterfinal. Mingus’ option offense will try to keep Seton’s quick-striking, pass-oriented offense off the field. Seton will start QB Nick Gesicki but Ryan Bresnahan will be ready to play. Mingus has improved its running game in the past few weeks. Ball security is key for Mingus to have success.

Three stars

No. 10 Buckeye (8-3) vs. No. 2 Show Low (10-1), at Apollo, 7 Saturday night

Buckeye’s defense has improved in recent weeks with injured players returning to the lineup. But Show Low has a talented bunch on defense and a potent run game, led by junior Dallin Crandell (993 rushing yards, 10 TDs). Last year, Buckeye’s season ended to Lakeside Blue Ridge in the Division IV quarterfinals.

No. 10 Avondale Westview (9-2) at No. 2 Mesa Desert Ridge (10-1), 7 Friday night

Both Division I teams are built to run, but Desert Ridge’s line may be a little more seasoned. This could be the best offensive line that Jeremy Hathcock has had at Desert Ridge. The running game was impacted by the knee injury to tailback JJ Husar late in the season. That has put extra responsibility on running QB Tareq Morrison. Westview runs a Wing-T offense with tailback Seivion Morris starting to really turn it on.

No. 9 Scottsdale Desert Mountain (9-2) at No. 1 Phoenix Mountain Pointe (10-1), 7 Friday night

This Division I quarterfinal is a college coach’s delight with several top underclassmen featured. Mountain Pointe has a dazzling junior receiver in Jalen Brown and a strong two-way lineman in junior Natrell Curtis. Desert Mountain has the best junior passing combo in Arizona with QB Kyle Allen hooking up with 6-foot-6, 220-pound wide receiver Mark Andrews.

No. 5 Yuma Catholic (10-1) vs. No. 4 Scottsdale Christian (9-1), at Gilbert Williams Field, 3 p.m. Saturday

This Division V quarterfinal figures to be a defensive struggle, but Yuma Catholic running back Kody Hazlett has been difficult for any team to stop. He has more than 2,000 rushing yards and is averaging 10 yards a carry. Scottsdale Christian’s offense mainly runs through QB Luke O’Neill.

No. 9 St. Johns (8-3) vs. No. 1 Phoenix Northwest Christian (10-1), at Williams Field, 7 Saturday night

In this Division V quarterfinal, St. Johns will lean on running back Konner Lee on offense against a strong defense, led by safety Trevor Osborne. With linebacker/receiver James Mosbrucker back from an injury, Northwest Christian figures to be even stronger on both sides of the ball.

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