Derek Simmons Top 16, Week Four

Monday, September 9th

Here is a brief week four update. If you don't know by now, Show Low QB Keegan Clark has likely ended his season due to injury. Blue Ridge narrowly escaped home win against 2A's St. Johns. Snowflake bounced back. Ben Franklin dominated top ten program. Norwest and Yuma spent their BYE weeks.


16. Fountain Hills (0-2) / Payson (2-0) - Winner of this game should be considered top 16 team. If Payson were to win at home this week against Ftn Hills, they could very well start their season 6-0 before Payson later in the season. Fountain Hills desperately looking for win before they spiral out of the playoff picture early on. The Falcons have Pusch Ridge and ALA Gilbert coming up and will probably not win either of those.

15. Florence (1-1) - Six of their final eight games are against  teams in my top 14. A win this week at home against Blue Ridge would go a long way in their hunt for a playoff spot in a couple months. Home field advantage will be huge as the high will be 103 degrees and will have a big impact on the visiting Yellow Jackets.

14. Safford (1-1) - It was a defensive gem against Wickenburg that gave the Dawgs their first win of the season. Thatcher, Show Low and Florence coming up on the schedule.

13. Pusch Ridge (1-1) - This is a very young team who could be playing for next season. They were shutout last week against 4A's Walden Grove and will probably be outmatched this week against CDO from 4A.

12. Coolidge (3-0) - Sahuarita isn't likely to give the Bears their first loss this season but next week is a huge matchup against Ben Franklin. It seems very possible that Coolidge could finish their regular season at 8-2 or 7-3.

11. Odyssey Institute (2-0) - If they can beat Florence next week, there is a good chance they could be 6-0 before challenges start. That would likely get them into the playoffs, regardless of what follows that.

10.Valley Christian (2-0) - After home games against AZ Lutheran and Page, the Trojans will see Northwest Christian, Yuma Catholic and Odyssey Institute. In five weeks, we'll know if these guys are real or not.

9. Blue Ridge (3-0) - It was a score in the final minute that sealed a 19-15 win at home against St. Johns. The next two games are more than a challenge, at Flornence and at Sabino in triple-digit heat. It will be big to return with a win in either of these games. That will be followed by a very likely win against Ganado before region play begins.

8. Show Low (2-1) - Keegan Clark has been sidelined, quite possibly for the season. If you haven't already heard it, he suffered a broken jaw and entered surgery last Saturday after the Cougar loss at home to Thatcher. It is clear that this loss will be big but the coaching staff believes their Cougars will answer the call and the "next man up" mentality will prevail. Watch them live this week against ALA Ironwood on or on your Sports Zone Radio mobile app.

7. ALA Gilbert (2-1) - Yes, they lost to Ben Franklin this week, but Snowflake did last week also. Most teams will lost to Ben Franklin this year. Junior QB Jack Ricedorff still leads all 3A passers in yardage, already almost at 900 through three games.

6. Snowflake (2-1) - The Lobos bounced back with shutout at home against Florence. The travel to Page this week will be long but should result in a win. The next challenge comes next week against Pusch Ridge at home and you can watch that one live on or your SZR mobile app.

5. Yuma Catholic (1-1) - Gage Reese is closing in on all the career passing yardage and touchdown records and though he isn't likely to get them this week, should have them by the end of next week. Be on the lookout.

4. Sabino (1-1) - Still hard to pin-point exactly where the Sabercats are following huge loss to 4A Sahuaro of Tucson but still expecting them to be the typical power-house that they are.

3. Ben Franklin (3-0) - The Chargers sent another message to the 3A after another convincing win over another good team. The victim this time was ALA Gilbert. The game this week that all eyes will be on is at Northwest Christian and the winner should be ranked No. 1 on October 1st when the official AIA rankings are released.

2. ALA QC (3-0) - After three games, quarterback Rand Jensen has already passed for 16 TD's. The Patriots have outscored opponents 168-25, thus far.

1. Northwest Christian (2-0) - Two physical power-house teams go at it this week in the most intruiging game on the schedule. The Crusaders should have the advantage, given they are at home against Ben Franklin and also that they come off of a BYE, unlike BF who just played ALA Gilbert. Don't be shocked to see Ben Franklin win, but my pregame prediction is a 10-pt win for the home team.

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