There was a surprise last week. There were some scares. But for the most part, the teams did what they had to do to ensure the top four seedlings advanced to the semifinals. Will one of the four fall? Let’s break down the Arizona High School Football 6A Quarterfinals, which will take place on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the high seeders.
No. 8 Phoenix Mountain Pointe (8-3) at No. 1 Queen Creek Casteel (8-3)
If Mountain Pointe can find a defense, the Pride has a chance to cause a stir with his vaunted running game led by regional player of the year Jay’len Rushing. Christian Clark and Randle Parker are capable of running backs. And Chris Arvizo is a 2,100-yard passer with 21 TDs. So this is an offense that can put up big numbers. But Pride hasn’t shown it can stop people. This game will be a mandatory defense as Casteel quarterback Landon Jury and his playmakers can move up and down the field.
Forecast: Castle 48, Hilltop 34
No. 5 Queen Creek (7-4) at No. 4 Phoenix Pinnacle (7-4)
Everyone is still trying to figure out what happened to Queen Creek in that 39-13 loss to Pinnacle on Sept. 16. Sophomore QB Wyatt Horton and senior wide receiver Duce Robinson were just too much for the Bulldogs. You must place great emphasis on stopping Pinnacle’s passing attack or this game could get away. Expect a much better performance from Queen Creek, who haven’t conceded more than 24 points in a game and have been very good over the last month.
Forecast: Queen Creek 24, Summit 21
#14 Mesa (8-3) at #6 Mesa Red Mountain (7-4)
Mesa is playing house money after beating No. 3 Tempe Corona del Sol 24-21 last week. QB Manny Pino rushed for 100+ yards and two TDs and had 100+ passing yards. But Red Mountain just has too many game changers, starting with running back Lenox Lawson and wide receiver and USC-bound Ja’Kobi Lane. If QB Carter Crispin can continue playing with an injured knee, the Lions have a good chance of progressing to the semifinals.
forecast: Red Mountain 34, Table Mountain 20
No. 7 Tucson Salpointe Catholic (7-4) at No. 2 Gilbert Highland (8-3)
Highland should easily make it to the semifinals but the Lancers are well trained, disciplined and have some big boys up front. They also have a freak athlete on the edge defensive end in junior Elijah Rushing (11.5 sacks) that has every major college in the world after him. Salpointe had injuries on the offensive line. It hasn’t had the same starting five in a game on the line. Highland’s defense, led by free safety Joseph Allen, is out of control and the offense is catching up, led by running back Carsoin Mullenaux, who has 747 rushing yards to lead five players with at least 267 rushing yards.
Forecast: Hochland 28, Salpointe 14