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GRIDIRON ARIZONA

Your Source for 6A & 5A High School Football Scores, Schedules, and Power Points

Schedule

GAME OF AUG. 17, 2017:

Nogales at Sunnyside
 

GAMES OF AUG. 18, 2017:

Corona del Sol at Highland
Perry at Desert Vista
Mountain Pointe at O'Connor
Hamilton at Boulder Creek
Chaparral at Desert Mountain
Horizon at Cibola
Mesquite at Mesa
Red Mountain at Chandler
Westwood at Skyline
Cesar Chavez at Queen Creek
South Mountain at Maryvale
Kofa at Trevor Browne
Basha at Westview
Pueblo at Rincon
Nogales at Sunnyside
Tucson at Buena
Desert Edge at Centennial
North Canyon at Goldwater
Verrado at Paradise Valley
Willow Canyon at Maricopa
Arcadia at Williams Field
Notre Dame at Shadow Ridge
Ironwood Ridge at Marana
Fairfax at Camelback
Alhambra at North
Cholla at Douglas
Campo Verde at Agua Fria

 

GAME OF AUG. 19, 2017:

Pinnacle vs. Brophy
(Game @ Coconino HS - Flagstaff)


GAME OF AUG. 24, 2017:

Mesa Mtn View at Valley Vista
 

GAMES OF AUG. 25, 2017:

La Joya at Corona del Sol
Desert Ridge at Brophy
Mesquite at Gilbert
Highland at Skyline
Boulder Creek at Liberty
Mesa at Desert Mountain
Horizon at Chaparral
Mountain Ridge at Tucson
Tolleson at O'Connor
Pinnacle at Basha
Dobson at Rincon
Westwood at Copper Canyon
Central at Fairfax
Camelback at North
Trevor Browne at South Mtn
Queen Creek at Hamilton
Perry at Millennium
Imperial (CA) at Cibola
Kofa at Central (CA)
Sunnyside at Pueblo
Agua Fria at Washington
Williams Field at Deer Valley
Desert Edge at Notre Dame
Goldwater at Poston Butte
Arcadia at Verrado
Centennial at Apollo
Ironwood at Campo Verde
Kellis at Shadow Ridge
Maricopa at Paradise Valley
McClintock at Vista Grande
Ironwood Ridge at Sunnyslope
Sierra Linda at North Canyon
Amphitheater at Cholla
Desert View at Palo Verde
Buena at Flowing Wells
Cienega at Marana
Salpointe at Marana Mtn View
Sabino at Sahuaro
Cortez at Glendale
Greenway at Independence
Carl Hayden at Alhambra


GAMES OF AUG. 26, 2017:

Lake Havasu vs. Willow Can.
(Game @ NAU in Flagstaff)

IMG Academy (FL) at Chandler

Gilbert producing high-caliber student-athletes

Tigers set sights on a better season in the win-loss column

WEEKLY BLOG:  6/24/17

Gilbert had a rough go under second-year head coach Derek Zellner last year.  The Tigers finished on a six-game losing streak, allowing 35 or more points in five of those defeats.  Gilbert did upend Westwood in the teams' first meeting since 2010.  The 1-9 record, however, was the Tigers' worst since 1994.

Yet, there were a handful of games that GHS wishes it could have back.  A few relatively narrow losses - Dobson (23-21), Corona del Sol (24-16), Highland (36-34), and even Desert Ridge, where Gilbert went toe-to-toe with the Jaguars for the first half, until collapsing in the second half in a 41-7 loss - left a sour taste.

Last year was filled with injuries (two players were lost due to ACL's), which then led to having to field inexperienced players in the lineup.  But in this new year, which started with spring ball and continued into 7-on-7's in June, it's a time of optimism.

"(Spring ball was) three weeks of looking at where we want to improve from last year," Zellner said.  "If we can stay healthy and have our linemen come around, we should be much stronger this year."

It's a good thing that Jack Plummer, one of the state's best quarterbacks, returns for his senior season.  In his second year as the starter, Plummer passed for 2,475 yards and 18 touchdowns.  The Tigers had just three rushing TDs on the year and Plummer accounted for 348 pass attempts and 116 carries (including sacks).  Runs by anyone else on Gilbert were made on just 101 plays (18 percent).  Quite simply, Plummer did just about everything for Gilbert on offense.  Earlier this month, he committed to Purdue, choosing the Boilermakers over finalists South Carolina and Boise State.

"I've had some great quarterbacks," Zellner said.  "This guy is very special.  Accurate, and one of the smartest quarterbacks I've had the opportunity to coach.  I have great trust in him."

Purdue is getting a gem indeed.  An excellent student, Plummer has a 4.6 GPA.  He is also 6-5 and has bulked up by being dedicated in the weight room from 193 to 212 pounds.  So, how did he get to Big Ten country?

Gilbert defensive coordinator Brandon Johnson was a linebacker in his college days at Louisville.  He was drafted in 2006 by the Arizona Cardinals and also played for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.  While Johnson was at Louisville, Jeff Brohm was one of the assistants on the staff.  Fast forward to December of last year, when Brohm was hired to be Purdue's new head coach.  Johnson put a call in and set up an unofficial visit for Plummer.  After arriving in West Lafayette, Plummer fell in love with the place, saw it as a good fit, and committed shortly thereafter.  By committing early, he doesn't have the looming decision consuming his thoughts during the season.  Plummer is the first QB recruit for Brohm, who was a quarterback at Louisville, and later for seven years in the NFL.

The starting receivers look to be seniors Dawson Tanner and Corvan Otanez.  Zellner called Tanner 'lightning in a bottle'.  He can line up in the slot or on the outside.  Tanner carries that all-important burst of speed, which is also valuable as a punt and kick returner (averaged 23 yards per kick return in '16).

"Dawson is a great kid with a tremendous work ethic," Zellner said.  "He plays bigger than 5-10."

In addition to his pass-catching skills, Otanez plays a key role in the defense.  He can play safety or linebacker and is a jack-of-all-trades.  The bright spot on the Gilbert defense, Otanez paced the Tigers with 134 tackles.  He took down 17 ball carriers in three different games last season.  Also an honors student (4.4 GPA), Otanez holds an Ivy League offer from Columbia.  He has also seen results in the weight room and is up from 190 pounds to 205.

Returning from an injury that cost him nearly all of last season (foot fracture) is senior WR Tyler LaGanke.  Also, Jack's younger brother Will, who played quarterback on the freshman team (and later the JV) last season is up on varsity as a sophomore and is his brother's backup.  Coach Z has also been working Will at tight end during 7-on-7 season.

Zellner said the team dedicated itself to offseason training.  About 48-55 kids have been arriving at 5 a.m. for practice on Monday through Thursday since school let out.  Following some (really) early morning outside work, the team hits the weight room.  With all of the injuries, Gilbert finished with 34 players in Week 10 against Mountain Pointe.  The lines should be improved as three players got significant playing time as sophomores.  With Plummer at the controls, the Tigers should score.  But the defense, which allowed 378 points, has to improve.

Johnson will go with either a four-man or three-man front.  The coaches analyze their personnel to see what the best fit is for the scheme against a particular opponent.  Helping the decision making will be the schedule, which is identical to last year.  In 2016, the Tigers faced just four similar opponents from the year before.  A boost will come to the defense in Ray Vega.  The linebacker doesn't shy away from contact.  He sat out last season after having to undergo wrist surgery.

Many times, Gilbert was forced to go five-wide on offense due to the lack of a running game (average 31 yards per game).  Senior running back Cameron Middleton was in and out of the lineup with injuries in '16.  Dominick Amendolara was forced to sit his junior year as he transferred into GHS from Perry.

The goal for the Tigers is to keep improving.  The 2015 team, which was within a last-minute field goal of making the Division II playoffs, had 25 seniors on it.  Last year, there were only a handful of contributing seniors.  This year's team features so many more.

The start of the buy-in for the program comes in the classroom.  Zellner has reiterated to his team that the first thing college coaches ask when they come on campus are the grades of their prospective recruits.  The message has registered as 28 of those 34 players that finished the 2016 season had a 3.0 GPA or higher.

"It's important how well the character of the students is," Zellner said.  "They're being much more respectful on campus.  We take great pride stressing the academic side of things."

One of the benefits of 7-on-7 passing league tournaments is the confidence that can be instilled through experiencing success.  At ASU on June 12, Gilbert defeated Desert Mountain in the quarterfinals and then Notre Dame Prep in the semis.  The Tigers fell to Cienega by a 25-19 score in the championship.  On June 17 at NAU, the Gilbert linemen finished in 7th in the Big Man competition (out of 32 schools).  It's a process of learning how to win.  While it's not the same as winning a "regular" football game, it's still stepping stones in the process.

Gilbert will be challenged right out of the gate with games against district rivals Mesquite (home) and Campo Verde (road).  The Wildcats and Coyotes combined to go 15-7 last season.

Last May, Gilbert High graduated its 100th class.  The sign in the press box that reads sportsmanship, citizenship, and scholarship rings true to the lessons that Zellner is teaching to his athletic pupils.

"We have come a million miles, but we still have a ways to go," Zellner said.  "We have full support of the administration.  They're pleased with what we're doing."


PHOTO CAPTION:  The setup begins in the press box at Gilbert High on another Friday night.  The Tigers will open their 2017 campaign on August 25 against rival Mesquite.  The teams have met in all 18 of Mesquite's seasons with GHS holding a 13-5 advantage in the series.  Gilbert will be looking to atone for last season's 37-3 loss to MHS.  In that one, the Wildcats scored on their first five possessions in the game.

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GRIDIRON ARIZONA POWER POINTS - 2017

 
6A CONFERENCE
  School Section         Record Power Points First Game      
1. Alhambra Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ North (8/18)
1. Basha Premier   0-0      0.0000 @ Westview (8/18)
1. Boulder Creek Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Hamilton (8/18)
1. Brophy Premier   0-0      0.0000 vs. Pinnacle (8/19)
1. Central Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ Fairfax (8/25)
1. Cesar Chavez Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ Queen Creek (8/18)
1. Chandler Premier   0-0      0.0000 vs. Red Mountain (8/18)
1. Cibola Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Horizon (8/18)
1. Copper Canyon Southwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Westwood (8/25)
1. Corona del Sol Central   0-0      0.0000 @ Highland (8/18)
1. Desert Mountain Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Chaparral (8/18)
1. Desert Ridge Central   0-0      0.0000 @ Brophy (8/25)
1. Desert Vista Central   0-0      0.0000 vs. Perry (8/18)
1. Dobson East Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Rincon (8/25)
1. Gilbert Central   0-0      0.0000 vs. Mesquite (8/25)
1. Hamilton Premier   0-0      0.0000 @ Boulder Creek (8/18)
1. Highland Central   0-0      0.0000 vs. Corona del Sol (8/18)
1. Horizon Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Cibola (8/18)
1. Kofa Southern   0-0      0.0000 @ Trevor Browne (8/18)
1. La Joya Southwest   0-0      0.0000 @ Corona del Sol (8/25)
1. Maryvale Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. South Mountain (8/18)
1. Mesa East Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Mesquite (8/18)
1. Millennium Southwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Perry (8/25)
1. Mountain Pointe Central   0-0      0.0000 @ O'Connor (8/18)
1. Mountain Ridge Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Tucson (8/25)
1. Mesa Mountain View East Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Valley Vista (8/24)
1. North Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. Alhambra (8/18)
1. O'Connor Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Mountain Pointe (8/18)
1. Perry Premier   0-0      0.0000 @ Desert Vista (8/18)
1. Pinnacle Desert Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Brophy (8/19)
1. Red Mountain East Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Chandler (8/18)
1. Rincon Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Pueblo (8/18)
1. Skyline East Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Westwood (8/18)
1. Sunnyside Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Nogales (8/17)
1. Tolleson Southwest   0-0      0.0000 @ O'Connor (8/25)
1. Trevor Browne Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. Kofa (8/18)
1. Tucson Southern   0-0      0.0000 @ Buena (8/18)
1. Valley Vista Southwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Mesa Mountain View (8/24)
1. Westview Southwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Basha (8/18)
1. Westwood East Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Skyline (8/18)


The top team from each section based on section record is guaranteed one of the 16 playoff berths.  These 16 teams will be placed in a bracket according to the final power points.

The AIA works with Maxpreps in devising the power points formula. The first official update won't come until after Week 5.  For the first few weeks of the season, we'll bring back the old 2009 formula just to give people an idea of where the teams stand.

 

5A CONFERENCE
  School Section         Record Power Points First Game    
1. Agua Fria Desert West   0-0      0.0000 vs. Campo Verde (8/18)
1. Apollo Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. Centennial (8/25)
1. Arcadia Northeast Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Williams Field (8/18)
1. Buena Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Tucson (8/18)
1. Camelback Union   0-0      0.0000 vs. Fairfax (8/18)
1. Campo Verde San Tan   0-0      0.0000 @ Agua Fria (8/18)
1. Carl Hayden Union   0-0      0.0000 @ Alhambra (8/25)
1. Centennial Northwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Desert Edge (8/18)
1. Chaparral Northeast Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Desert Mountain (8/18)
1. Cholla Sonoran   0-0      0.0000 @ Douglas (8/18) 
1. Cienega Southern   0-0      0.0000 @ Marana (8/25)
1. Deer Valley Desert West   0-0      0.0000 vs. Williams Field (8/25)
1. Desert Edge Desert West   0-0      0.0000 @ Centennial (8/18)
1. Desert View Sonoran   0-0      0.0000 @ Palo Verde (8/25)
1. Fairfax Union   0-0      0.0000 @ Camelback (8/18)
1. Flowing Wells Sonoran   0-0      0.0000 vs. Buena (8/25)
1. Glendale Union   0-0      0.0000 vs. Cortez (8/25)
1. Goldwater Desert West   0-0      0.0000 vs. North Canyon (8/18)
1. Independence Union   0-0      0.0000 vs. Greenway (8/25)
1. Ironwood Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ Campo Verde (8/25)
1. Ironwood Ridge Southern   0-0      0.0000 @ Marana (8/18)
1. Kellis Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ Shadow Ridge (8/25)
1. Lake Havasu Desert West   0-0      0.0000 vs. Willow Canyon (8/26)
1. Liberty Northwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Boulder Creek (8/25)
1. Marana Sonoran   0-0      0.0000 vs. Ironwood Ridge (8/18)
1. Maricopa Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. Willow Canyon (8/18) 
1. McClintock Metro   0-0      0.0000 @ Vista Grande (8/25) 
1. Mesquite San Tan   0-0      0.0000 @ Mesa (8/18)
1. Marana Mountain View Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Salpointe (8/25)
1. North Canyon Northeast Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Goldwater (8/18) 
1. Notre Dame Northeast Valley   0-0      0.0000 @ Shadow Ridge (8/18) 
1. Paradise Valley Northeast Valley   0-0      0.0000 vs. Verrado (8/18)
1. Poston Butte Sonoran   0-0      0.0000 vs. Goldwater (8/25)
1. Queen Creek San Tan   0-0      0.0000 vs. Cesar Chavez (8/18)
1. Sahuaro Southern   0-0      0.0000 vs. Sabino (8/25)
1. Shadow Ridge Northwest   0-0      0.0000 vs. Notre Dame (8/18)
1. Sierra Linda Northwest   0-0      0.0000 @ North Canyon (8/25)
1. South Mountain Union   0-0      0.0000 @ Maryvale (8/18)
1. Sunnyslope Metro   0-0      0.0000 vs. Ironwood Ridge (8/25)
1. Verrado Desert West   0-0      0.0000 @ Paradise Valley (8/18)
1. Vista Grande San Tan   0-0      0.0000 vs. McClintock (8/25)
1. Williams Field San Tan   0-0      0.0000 vs. Arcadia (8/18)
1. Willow Canyon Northwest   0-0      0.0000 @ Maricopa (8/18)

The top team from each section based on section record is guaranteed one of the 16 playoff berths.  These 16 teams will be placed in a bracket according to the final power points.

The AIA works with Maxpreps in devising the power points formula. The first official update won't come until after Week 5.  For the first few weeks of the season, we'll bring back the old 2009 formula just to give people an idea of where the teams stand.

 

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