Brackets set: It's time for playoff picks

Brackets set: It's time for playoff picks


Brackets set: It's time for playoff picks


Want to know everything that will happen in the football postseason before it happens?

Read on.

(Unless, of course, I’m wrong.)


Best first-round matchup: How can you pick just one among Mesa Mountain View vs. Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Phoenix Brophy vs. Chandler and Phoenix Desert Vista vs. Chandler Basha? I’ll take Desert-Vista Basha only because Basha’s ability to move the ball offensively gives it a puncher’s chance.

The bracket did no favors for: Mesa Desert Ridge. Jeremy Hathcock’s team is a No. 2 seed, yet Chandler Hamilton, Desert Vista and Basha are on its side of the bracket. Ouch.

The championship game: Brophy vs. Hamilton.

And the winner is: Hamilton. I’m not completely sold on this pick because Brophy is the most versatile offensive team in DivisionI. But Hamilton’s defense is just too good, and the offense will be able to run the ball on Brophy, control the clock and keep Tyler Bruggman and Marche Dennard on the sidelines.


Upset special: I thought about taking Scottsdale Notre Dame over Tucson Salpointe, but even I’m not that crazy, so I’ll settle for No. 11 Horizon over No. 6 Apollo. Horizon’s only two losses were to Chaparral and DivisionI Phoenix Pinnacle.

The bracket did no favors for: No. 2 Tempe Marcos de Niza. If the Padres win their opener, they face a potential second-round game against Chaparral? That’s just not right.

The championship game: Peoria Centennial vs. Chaparral.

And the winner is: Centennial. Only because I’m not sure a young Chaparral team is ready to win a state title this year.


The computer needs a new motherboard: How in the world is Scottsdale Saguaro a No. 9 seed when two of its three losses were to Division I Desert Vista and Division II Chaparral? I’m sure that made the day of Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier, because his Cobras are the No. 8 seed and face Saguaro on Friday in a rematch of last year’s state-championship game.

Oh, the two teams played earlier this season as well. The score: Saguaro 67, Cactus 14.

Best first-round matchup: No. 7 Maricopa against No. 10 Phoenix Thunderbird. Maricopa is one of the better stories this year — it won three games all of last season and hadn’t enjoyed a winning season since ’07 — and Thunderbird features one of the better backs in the state in Kani Benoit.

The championship game: Saguaro vs. Queen Creek.

And the winner is: Saguaro. The Sabercats’ only Division III loss came in the season opener when its entire starting secondary was out with injuries. Queen Creek has a terrific running back in Matt Guida, but Saguaro is a cut above everybody else in the division.


Cut to the chase: Pinetop-Lakeside Blue Ridge and Show Low have met in the past three state-championship games. It will be a shock if they’re not facing each other a fourth time on Nov. 24.

Potential challenger: The one team that has some shot to upset the favorites is No. 3 seed Chandler Seton Catholic. Seton doesn’t have Blue Ridge on its side of the bracket — a fate that instead befalls Snowflake — and its dynamic passing game will be difficult for Show Low to defend.

The championship game: Who else? Blue Ridge vs. Show Low.

And the winner is: Blue Ridge. If not for five turnovers, Show Low might have beaten Blue Ridge two weeks ago. But the guess here is that Blue Ridge controls the game on the ground with Nolan Cook and Chans Cox and is more effective with its passing game than in the regular-season matchup.


The bracket did no favors for: Oddly, No. 1 seed Phoenix Northwest Christian. A matchup with either Phoenix Christian or St. Johns is on the horizon in the second round, and defending champ Yuma Catholic also is on that side of the bracket.

Look out for: No. 3 Tempe Prep. Tempe Prep upset Northwest Christian on Friday, and the Knights are a physical, punishing team that won’t beat itself.

The championship game: Northwest Christian vs. Tempe Prep.

And the winner is: Northwest Christian. Casey Jahn won’t be in uniform, but the loss to Tempe Prep will get the Crusaders’ attention and launch them to a championship.

Reach Bordow at or 602-444-7996. Follow him on Twitter at


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