High school football two-a-days: Division II, Sections VI and V

High school football two-a-days: Division II, Sections VI and V

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High school football two-a-days: Division II, Sections VI and V

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Saguaro's Kamron Johnson hurdles a Williams Field defender at Scottsdale Saguaro High School in Phoenix, AZ on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014.

Saguaro’s Kamron Johnson hurdles a Williams Field defender at Scottsdale Saguaro High School in Phoenix, AZ on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014.

Leading up to the high school football season on Aug. 21, each day we’ll look at two divisions and sections.

Division II, Section VI

The teams: Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor, Scottsdale Saguaro, Glendale Deer Valley, Glendale Mountain Ridge, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Glendale Apollo.

The favorite: Saguaro. Should make easy transition from Division III, where it dominated last season going 14-0.

MORE TWO-A-DAYS: Div. VI and V | Div. IV and Div. III, Section IX | Div. III and Sections VIII and VII | Div. III, Section VI | Div. III, Section V | Div. III, Sections IV and III  | Div. III, Sections II and I

The contender: Sandra Day O’Connor. Was a strong D-I playoff team last season and should only be better.

The dark horse: Apollo. The Hawks are fast and steep.

BORDOW: Predictions for 2015 high school football season

The players: Byron Murphy, Saguaro, DB/WR, 6-0, 170, Sr.; Bailin Markridge, Sandra Day O’Connor, QB, 6-2, 175, Sr.; Kare’ Lyles, Saguaro, QB, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Kayden Lyles, Saguaro, OL/DL, 6-3, 300, Jr.; Julian Carter, Saguaro, WR, 6-3, 190, Sr.; KJ Jarrell, Saguaro, DB/WR, 6-3, 185, Jr.; Thomas Sahotsky, Deer Valley, WR/DB, 6-0, 165, Sr.; Walter Tinsley, Deer Valley, TE/DL, 6-2, 220, Sr.; Easton Palomino, Deer Valley, QB, 6-3, 195, Sr.; Turner Bernard, Mountain Ridge, LS/LB, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Donovan Dalton, Desert Mountain, WR, 6-3, 200, Jr.; Austin Nuessle, Desert Mountain, QB, 6-3, 190, Jr.; Brett Teller, Desert Mountain, WR/RB/DB, 6-0, 185, Jr.; Kade Warner, Desert Mountain, TE/WR/LB, 6-2, 205, Jr.; Carson Taylor, Apollo, DE/TE, 6-4, 212, Sr.; Dre Marin, Apollo, WR, 5-11, 155, Jr.; Steffon Canady, Apollo, RB/LB, 6-0, 225, Sr.

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The intrigue: Saguaro has azcentral sports’ top-rated 2016 (Byron Murphy) and 2017 (Kayden Lyles) prospects in the state. … Saguaro might have more two-way players than any time since coach Jason Mohns has been at the school. … Saguaro has won seven state championships since 2006. … SDO QB Bailin Markridge is also a top pitcher in baseball. Markridge passed for 2,327 yards and 23 TDs, including three TDs in a 38-34 Division I playoff loss to Chandler Basha. … One of Markridge’s top targets is Michael Tytler, who had 44 catches for 691 yards and eight TDs last season. … Deer Valley won eight games in each of coach Eric Bolus’ first two seasons as head coach. … Mountain Ridge long snapper Turner Bernard is ranked the No. 1 long snapper in the nation in the 2016 class. … Desert Mountain, with a special group of juniors, led by QB Austin Nuessle and WR/TE Kade Warner, will try to get new offensive coordinator Kurt Warner’s offense rolling. Desert Mountain opens the season Aug. 21 against Queen Creek, which is making the move up from D-III. … Apollo expects to bounce back from a rare losing season with big, fast athletes. Steffon Canady, who led Apollo in rushing last season with 460 yards, is expected to more than double his numbers.

FIND A GAME: 2015 Arizona high school football schedule

Division II, Section V

The teams: Tempe Corona del Sol, Tempe Marcos de Niza, Gilbert, Gilbert Campo Verde, Gilbert Mesquite.

The favorite: Marcos de Niza. Despite losing top talent to other schools, the Padres always have enough athletes to win.

The contender: Mesquite. Will be strong in the trenches.

RELATED: More high school coverage from Richard Obert

The dark horse: Gilbert. New coach but new attitude.

The players: Austin Freese, Corona del Sol, QB, 6-1, 170, Sr.; CJ Shrimpf, Corona del Sol, C, 5-10, 250, Sr.; Avery Sanders, Marcos de Niza, RB/LB, 6-0, 200, Sr.; Nazareth Greer, Marcos de Niza, QB, 6-3, 210, Jr.; Shaun Richards, Marcos de Niza, DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Zach Phillips, Gilbert, LB, 6-0, 195, Sr.; Thayne Jackson, Gilbert, OL/DL, 6-6, 265, Sr.; Cole Pineda, Campo Verde, QB, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Elijah Jones, Campo Verde, WR, 6-0, 170, Sr.; Roy Lopez III, Mesquite, OL/DL, 6-2, 290, Sr.; Zach Lamatrice, Mesquite, LB/TE/LS, 6-0, 210, Sr.

The intrigue: Former Mesa Dobson QB Derek Zellner is Gilbert’s fourth head coach in five years. … Gilbert and Corona del Sol both were allowed to move down a division after six years of mostly struggling on the field. … Mesquite senior Roy Lopez III was a heavyweight state wrestling champion. … Marcos de Niza senior Shaun Richards is regarded as one of the top 10 defensive backs in the state. … Campo Verde and Mesquite are two of the state’s biggest neighborhood rivals, who will meet on Oct. 23, the second-to-last game of the season. … Campo Verde’s schedule is stacked, opening Aug. 21 at Tucson Salpointe Catholic, which went 14-0 and won the Division II title two years ago. … Corona del Sol is trying to bounce back after a 1-9 season in Cory Nenaber’s first season as head coach at his alma mater.

Reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

PHOTOS: High school football preseason 2015

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