Bordow: High school football teams that could surprise

Bordow: High school football teams that could surprise

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Bordow: High school football teams that could surprise

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Here are Scott Bordow's 10 'surprise' teams to look for in the 2015 season.

Here are Scott Bordow’s 10 ‘surprise’ teams to look for in the 2015 season.

As the gap between the haves and have-nots in high school sports continues to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify a team that will come out of nowhere. Usually, the same teams win and the same teams lose, year in and year out.

But the reclassification process initiated by the Arizona Interscholastic Association has given more programs a chance to be competitive on Friday nights. So here are 10 “surprise” teams to look for in the 2015 season. They probably won’t win a state championship, but at some point during the year, they’ll make us take notice.

RELATED: 2015 high school football preview

High school football preview

  • June 8: Top 10 players to watch as a fan
  • June 11: Top 10 dynamos
  • June 15: Top 10 venues to see a game
  • June 18: Top 10 Dynamic Duos
  • June 22: Who to watch on Saturdays
  • June 25: Top 10 QBs

  • June 29: A long-time coach’s advice
  • July 2: Top 10 RBs
  • July 6: Top 10 rivalries
  • July 9: Top 10 WRs/TEs
  • July 13: Teams that could surprise
  • July 16: Top 10 OL
  • July 20: Top 10 things about Friday nights
  • July 23: Top 10 DL
  • July 27: Can defending champs repeat?
  • July 30: Top 10 LBs
  • Aug. 3: Top 10 games to look forward to
  • Aug. 6: Top 10 DBs
  • Aug. 10: Bordow’s top 10 predictions
  • Aug. 13: Top 10 kickers
  • ALL 10 PUHSD TEAMS

    One of the best things the AIA did in its reclassification process was put all 10 Phoenix Union High School District teams in the same section in Division III. That simple and long overdue move will enable teams like North, South Mountain and others to be competitive week in and week out. After years of being on the wrong end of 63-6 scores, that will be a very pleasant surprise.

    CACTUS SHADOWS

    The drop from Division II to Division III will help Cactus Shadows, which finished 3-7 last year. The section placement in Section III doesn’t hurt, either. Paradise Valley is probably the class of the division but there’s no other powerhouse program. Coach Mike Hudnutt has to identify a new quarterback, but the program has been strong in the past and should find its footing again in D-III.

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    CENTENNIAL

    How can the defending Division II champs be considered a “surprise” team? Well, Centennial is now in Division I and the prevailing opinion is that it will take some time to compete with teams like Chandler, Chandler Hamilton and Phoenix Mountain Pointe. I’m not so sure about that. Coach Richard Taylor has arguably one of the best offensive lines in the state and a terrific quarterback in Isaac Steele. Don’t be surprised if Centennial is a Final Four team come November.

    DESERT MOUNTAIN

    The move to Division II will certainly help Desert Mountain’s fortunes. So will the hiring of Kurt Warner as offensive coordinator. Here’s guessing his expertise might help Desert Mountain’s passing game just a bit. So will a schedule that now includes teams like Yuma, St. Mary’s and Apollo rather Chaparral, Desert Ridge and Brophy.

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    DESERT VISTA

    Mountain Pointe’s emergence has pushed Desert Vista aside but Dan Hinds’ club is poised for a return to relevancy after a combined 7-13 record the last two seasons. Desert Vista returns nine starters on offense and 10 on defense. If senior quarterback Alex Farina has improved as a passer – Desert Vista threw for just 1,279 yards as a team last year – the Ahwatukee Bowl will again be one of the most anticipated games of the season.

    MARICOPA

    Maricopa finished 4-6 last year but two of its losses were by four points or less to Williams Field and Tucson Canyon del Oro. Most importantly, Maricopa returns senior quarterback Aaron Owens, who threw for 2,658 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. The schedule is much more favorable this year, so a 7-win season isn’t out of the question.

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    MESA

    Another team that, like Desert Mountain, should greatly benefit from the move into Division II. Mesa lost some key seniors from last year’s 3-7 club, but Scott Hare knows how to coach and the section placement with Dobson, Higley, Skyline, Westwood and Williams Field gives Mesa a chance.

    POSTON BUTTE

    Chalk this one up to coaching. Paul Moro won 13 state championships at Pinetop-Lakeside Blue Ridge and had a successful first season at Poston Butte, going 7-4. Now, with that awkward first year under his belt, a growing community and one of the state’s top running backs in Brandon Hatfield (1,498 yards in 2014), Poston Butte could emerge as a power in Division II.

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    RED MOUNTAIN

    No team may be poised for a bigger comeback than Red Mountain, which finished 3-8 last year while playing a brutal schedule and, in the playoff game against Chandler, starting a freshman quarterback in Lance Lawson. Lawson, who ran for 98 yards against Chandler, is back and coach Ron Wisneiwski believes this will be his most talented offensive line. That’s a combination that could produce double the amount of wins, if not more.

    WINSLOW

    It’s hard to label a team that went 8-4 last year and 5-0 in section play a “surprise.” But Winslow could be ready to make the jump to championship contender in Division IV after losing in the quarterfinals last year. It returns three running backs who combined to rush for more than 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns and a productive senior quarterback in Ray Velez.

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