Derek Simmons Top 16, Week Ten

Tuesday, October 22nd

Blue Ridge has suddenly been put into a position of possibly making the top four when the playoffs arrive. Pusch Ridge has snuck back into the playoff picture, dispite a loss last week. Winslow and Payson playoff lives may depend on their game this week. Show Low is down to their last gasp this week against Snowflake. Yuma Catholic losing to ALA Gilbert opened up the possibilty of Snowflake or Blue Ridge hosting them in the first round in a couple of weeks. It seems more and more possible that a team will have to finish inside the top 15 as the North winner will likely end up out of the top 16 and bump whoever is No. 16. Listen to the Hatch Toyota Friday Night Football Show this week for further breakdown.

18. Show Low (3-5) - If the Cougars beat Snowflake and Holbrook to finish their season, it is possble to still sneak into the playoffs. It would take some help from above, but it is possible. It has been a heart breaking outcome this year, due to an allotment of injuries no one could have predicted. What a different season it could have been. I believe, if the Cougars had stayed healthy, they would have finished in the top eight, competing for a region championship, and hosting a first round playoff game. Nonetheless, they have battled in every game and shown a lot of character as they've played backups, underclassment and JV kids who weren't expected to play, muchl ess start. It is cliche, but Monte Maxwell and his Cougars should hold their heads high. They can still play spoiler to Snowflake this week at home as Floyd Simmons  broadcasts his 1000th game. Watch/listen on our channels. AIA - 23

17. Pusch Ridge (4-4) - If they win-out, I think they will have about a 75% chance at making the playoffs. It starts at Safford this week. AIA - 17

16. River Valley (5-2) - No one from 12-17 is a lock in the playoffs yet. Their cancelled game last week dropped them two spots and they need to finish top 15. They have a good chance to win the next two games and will be in a decent position to make the playoffs. If they lose either of those, they likely won't make it. AIA - 14

15. Winslow (7-1) - This week at home against Payson could be their one last chance to make it. It won't guarantee them making it, but if they lose, they will almost surely be out. AIA - 15

14. AZ College Prep (7-1) - They are safely inside the playoffs, but don't deserve to be top seven in the state rankings. They'll lose this week against ALA Gilbert and hopefully make room for a better team to host a first round game. AIA - 7

13. Odyssey Institute (6-2) - Yuma Catholic remains on the schedule and it's hard to say who will win that one. If it's Yuma, like I beleive it will be, This team will finish 7-3 and somewhere around 11 or 12. AIA - 10

12. Payson (7-1) - If they win this week at Winslow, they are in a good position to make the playoffs, because Pusch Ridge is almost four points behind in the rating system and the Lions still have Safford on the schedule. If they win both remaining games, they'll win the region and won't have to worry where they lie in the final rankings. AIA - 16

11. Coolidge (7-1) - The question here is, how far will they drop next week after they lose to ALA QC. They could be making room for Blue Ridge to sneak into the top four if BR beats Payson in week 11. If BR loses, Snowflake could find themselves back in the top four. Coolidge will probably finish around five or six. AIA - 4

10. Valley Christian (6-2) - I see this team finishing 8-2 and finishing top eight. AIA - 9

9. Safford (6-2) - If they win this week against Pusch, they will pencil themselves into the playoffs. If they lose, they'll be another bubble team in trouble. If they win this week and next against Sabino, they could be overtaking someone for a home playoff game.  AIA - 12

8. Yuma Catholic (4-4) - Disciplinary actions, lack of defense led to another loss for the Shamrocks, after they started looking like they were back near the top. They still have the talent to beat any team in the field, but now look like they'll be heading to a top six-ish team in the playoff opener. If this happens to be Snowflake, this will be one of the most hyped first round games in recent memory.  AIA - 13

7. ALA Gilbert (4-4) - The Eagles held Jamar Macfarlane to less than 70 yards on the ground and intercepted Gage Reese three times in a win that moved them up four spots and put them back on all of our maps. Questions surface around starting quarterback, Jack Ricedorff, who didn't appear in this game. Senior backup, Jacob McAleavy completed six of nine passes for almost a hundred yards and three touchdowns. AIA - 11

6. Blue Ridge (6-2) - The Yellow Jackets got a much needed rest last week and return to play Holbrook, and then at Payson. There is still a chance to finish in the top four and host two playoff games, but by virtue of playing Holbrook, it will take a hit to their rating. AIA - 5

5. Snowflake (6-2) - They are possibly in a trap game this week as they head to Show Low. The Cougars are ranked No. 23 and have almost nothing to lose, making this dangerous for the Lobos who are trying to remain in the top eight and still have hopes of moving back into the top four. Watch this game live on SportsZone123.com or on our Sports Zone Radio app, as Floyd Simmons broadcasts his 1000th game.  AIA - 6

4. Sabino (6-2) - Next week, when they play Safford, we will see how real the Sabercats are. Still, they should finish in the top eight, given that they win both remaining. AIA - 8

3. Northwest Christian (7-1) - They aren't on the field this week, due to Kingman Academy cancelling their season. Remember last year, when Snowflake dropped from two to three, after Holbrook cancelled. They played Sabino instead of Safford and lost at home in the second round. Northwest is quite a ways ahead of No. four in the rating system and should be safe, but it's a worry for the Crusaders, I'm sure. AIA - 3

2. Ben Franklin (7-1) - Last week against Queen Creek, the Chargers found themselves with the ball and marching late in the fourth quarter. Coach Jeffries says he made a mistake on a runningback pass play that resulted in a pick-six and sealed a 26-14 loss. The main takeaway here is that they played nearly four quarters, close with the top team in the state, making QC more human and giving hope to the rest of the field. Expect them to stay at No. 2 and hosting No. 15, who could be the winner of Payson/Winslow this week. AIA - 2

1. ALA QC (8-0) - They held Ben Franklin to 14 points and remain at the top for me. They have finally moved into the top spot in the official rankings as well and should finish No. 1 when the playoffs begin in two weeks. AIA - 1

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