The Arizona Interscholastic Association has posted the 2017 high school football schedules.
Let’s take a look at the must-see games from each week of the 2017 season.
This is Aug. 18-19, and leading off is Red Mountain, under new coach Mike Peterson, against defending 6A champion Chandler, which might be even better than last year’s team (very scary thought). That game is Aug. 18 at Chandler at 7 p.m.
On Aug.19, Pinnacle and Brophy Prep continues what has become a great rivalry during the Spencer Rattler era at Pinnacle with a 3 p.m., game in the cool pines of Flagstaff at Coconino High. That is the only Aug. 19 game on the AIA schedule.
Other top Aug. 18 games: Desert Edge at Centennial, Perry at Desert Vista, Chaparral at Desert Mountain, St. Mary’s at Tucson Salpointe Catholic, and the rematch of last year’s 4A title game with defending champion Saguaro at Tucson Catalina Foothills.
The Chaparral-Desert Mountain game is intriguing more so if Chaparral sophomore Jack Miller is eligible to play. His family believes he has a good hardship case after transferring from Scottsdale Christian to not have to sit out the first half of the season.
Chandler will be jam packed with fans on that Saturday night at 7 for the much-anticipate Saturday, Aug. 26 game against IMG Academy, the national powerhouse from Bradenton, Fla., that plays a national schedule and actually has two varsity teams. This will be IMG’s A team taking on the defending champs.
That same day Mountain Pointe will be hosting Upland (Calif.) at 5 p.m, and Saguaro will be in Henderson, Nev., to take on Nevada’s Liberty, a pretty good team.
Top games on Fridya, Aug. 25: Desert Ridge against Brophy Prep at Phoenix College, Williams Field at Deer Valley in a game between colossal lines, Salpointe at Marana Mountain View, Desert Edge at Notre Dame and the start of the George Prelock era, defending 3A champ American Leadership at Tucson Pusch Ridge, Ironwood Ridge at young but talented Sunnyslope and Pinnacle at Basha with former Desert Edge coach Rich Wellbrock ready to get Basha to establishing a winner.
On the slate for Sept. 1: Desert Vista at Basha, Desert Mountain at Notre Dame, Chandler at Pinnacle, Hamilton at Red Mountain. All quality games. YurView Arizona (formerly known as Cox7) will televise the Desert Vista-Basha game. It will be interesting to see if Wellbrock has Basha’s defense improved from last year when the Bears gave up a ton of points. The Chandler-Pinnacle game features the state’s top two junior quarterbacks: Rattler against Chandler’s Jacob Conover.
On Sept. 7, the AIA lists the 6A final rematch between Mountain Pointe and Chandler. The game will be at Chandler, which avenged last year’s embarrassing 52-7 loss at Mountain Pointe with a state championship win. Chandler won’t let itself get embarrassed again, but this game comes after starting the season with a gauntlet of games (Red Mountain, IMG Academy and Pinnacle). Mountain Pointe’s schedule to this point won’t be as difficult.
On Sept. 8, Desert Ridge will try to beat Hamilton for a second year in a row after never having beaten the Huskies before last season. That game will be at Hamilton. Higley will try to wind up all-everything Draycen Hall and see what he can do at Saguaro. This is a TV game. This will be a good gauge to see how much more competition Saguaro will have in 4A after steamrolling through it last year.
That Thursday night, Sept. 14, Pinnacle and Centennial take center stage at Centennial. It should spotlight Rattler against running back Zidane Thomas.
The best games on Sept. 15 appear to be defending 5A champion Williams Field at Chaparral, and American Leadership at Northwest Christian.
On Sept. 22, Casteel should know how much stronger it is than after its first year of varsity football with just freshmen and sophomores. The Colts plays host to 3A power Show Low, which is in the post-Randy Ricedorff era.
Other good games that night: Pinnacleat Mountain Pointe, Centennial at Westview.
A Thursday night (Sept. 28) game will pit Chandler at Basha. Once again, Wellbrock’s team will be in the spotlight but junior quarterback Collin Collins likes Thursday night games. Last year, the Basha quarterback filled in for Ryan Kelley and passed and ran the Bears to a win over Desert Mountain.
On Sept. 29, the spotlight is on Centennial, which will be hosting Florida juggernaut St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale. This will also be on YurView Arizona (formerly Cox7). St. Thomas Aquinas was among the top five teams in the nation in the final USA TODAY rankings last season after capturing its 10th Florida championship.
The same night, the west-side rivalry heats up with Peoria at Cactus. Yuma Catholic travels to take on Casteel. Casteel’s only two losses last season came against Yuma Catholic.
The spotlight should be on Perry at Chandler on Oct. 6. Last year, quarterback Brock Purdy came of age against Chandler with a brilliant performance in a loss.
Desert Ridge may be starting eight sophomore in this game, but they’re eight really good sophomores. Coach Jeremy Hathcock hopes his team will be competitive on Oct. 13 at Mountain Pointe, which should have a good idea by then how strong running back Gary Bragg’s knee is after having his season cut short last year with surgery to repair an ACL.
Desert Vista will be at Desert Ridge for another Thursday night meeting on Oct. 19. Last year, when they played on a Thursday at Desert Vista, the Thunder rallied late to snatch victory from Desert Ridge. Alijah Gammage is back for Desert Vista. He had two interceptions in that game last year.
On Oct. 20, the best Southern Arizona game should be at Vail Cienega, where quarterback Jamarye Joiner (Arizona commit) will try to find room to maneuver against disciplined Ironwood Ridge. That same night, Hamilton is at Perry and Skyline travels to play Lance Lawson-led Red Mountain.
This is the final week of the regular season, which means lots of rivalries, starting off with Hamilton at Chandler on Oct. 27. Marana Mountain View is at Cienega, Horizon at Pinnacle, Basha at Perry, Williams Field at Queen Creek, Desert Edge at Verrado and Cesar Chavez at Alhambra.
YurView (Cox) Arizona high school football 2017 TV schedule
Aug. 24: Mountain View at Valley Vista, 7 p.m.
Sept.1: Desert Vista at Basha, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8: Higley at Saguaro, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14: Pinnacle at Centennial, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22: Glendale Raymond Kellis at Gilbert Mesquite, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29: Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas at Centennial, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6: Perry at Chandler, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: Desert Ridge at Mountain Pointe, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20: Mesa Skyline at Red Mountain
Oct. 27: Hamilton at Chandler
YurView Arizona is on channels 7 and 1007 for Phoenix Metro and Pinal as well as Tucson and Southern Arizona Cox cable TV customers.