High school football scrimmages are this week for teams with Zero Week games and next week for teams that start playing for real on Week 1.
Here is a look at some of those scrimmages across the state.
Chandler at Peoria Centennial, Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Centennial coach Richard Taylor said Chandler has told him, “They’re going to go NASCAR on offense.”
So that means, Centennial’s defense will get a pretty good workout, making sure it lines up quickly, because Chandler won’t be huddling, trying to get plays off in nanoseconds.
Expect the 1s to go a couple of series but there will be a quick whistle, and nobody is allowed to hit the quarterbacks.
Top players to see for Chandler include QB Jacob Conover, WR Gunner Romney and running backs DeCarlos Brooks and Drake Anderson. For Centennial watch for RB Zidane Thomas, QB Ruben Beltran and DB Dominique Hampton, who just committed to Washington. It will be interesting to see Hampton matched against Romney.
Both of these teams have big national games during the season: On Aug. 26, Chandler plays host to IMG Academy of Bradenton, Fla. In late September, Centennial plays host to Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas.
Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge at Tucson Salpointe Catholic, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Two of the best Southern Arizona programs. Salpointe move down to 4A last year and made a run to the semifinals. This team should be better.
It starts in the backfield with junior Mario Padilla and sophomore Bijan Robinson-McCloud. They have a great lineman to run behind in Washington-commit Matteo Melo (6-6, 275).
Gilbert Perry at Mesa Skyline, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Skyline’s big defensive front will give Perry’s line a test. Perry QB Brock Purdy will use this as a tune-up after last year’s All-Arizona season.
Phoenix Brophy Prep at Mesa Red Mountain, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
This won’t be held on Red Mountain’s stadium field, but its far south lighted practice field. Great chance to see what new Red Mountain coach Mike Peterson has going with Lance Lawson expected to see action on offense and defense. Brophy needs to know what it has before facing Spencer Rattler and Pinnacle next week in Flagstaff.
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Scottsdale Saguaro, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor at Queen Creek, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Three-way scrimmages are fun, because teams can match up not just against one team but two, getting different looks.
Saguaro will see how the run game goes now that Josiah Bradley could become the featured guy with two-time, 2,000-yard rusher Stone Matthews gone. Saguaro also will be working in a guy who arrived only last week. Michael Maafu, 6-3, 260, a defensive tackle, transferred from Phoenix Arcadia and is immediately eligible because he didn’t play football last year. He was on the national rugby team. His little brother, Alani, is a stud freshman on Saguaro’s varsity. Coach Jason Mohns said Michael Maafu put on the pads for the first time Monday and “might be one of the best DTs in the state.”
Phoenix Maryvale at Buckeye Youngker, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Youngker is in a growing area but it has had a hard time keeping coaches. Tony Cluff is next in line and he hopes to stay at Youngker for a long haul.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe at Anthem Boulder Creek, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
A chance to see how far Mountain Pointe running back Gary Bragg has come since having season-ending knee surgery midway through last season.
Buckeye, Buckeye Verrado, Phoenix North and Surprise Shadow Ridge, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
This is a round-robin scrimmage with each team running 20 offensive plays against each other.
Casa Grande at Queen Creek Casteel, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Casteel, a top 3A team, needs to get used to playing up a conference, so it might as well take in this scrimmage. Next year will be Casteel’s first senior class.
Gilbert Campo Verde, Chandler Basha at Gilbert Highland, Wednesday, 6 p.m.
Good three-way among three solid programs. Brock Farrel should have much more to work from at Highland than he did at Shadow Mountain. And Rich Wellbrock will get a quick taste of Southeast Valley football after moving from Goodyear Desert Edge.
Phoenix Pinnacle at Phoenix Desert Vista, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Good chance to see of the state’s top 10 quarterbacks: Pinnacle junior Spencer Rattler (the state’s only junior who has committed to college, Oklahoma) and Desert Vista senior Derek Kline (a move-in from Reno, Nev.). Two big arms, lots of athletes on display.
Gilbert Mesquite at Chandler Hamilton, Thursday, 6 p.m.
Mesquite usually has a strong defense, so this will be a good test for Hamilton QB Tyler Shough and his good, young receivers.
Laveen Betty Fairfax at Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Kurt Warner’s next step after entering the Hall of Fame is directing Desert Mountain’s offense as the team’s coordinator. His new pupil is junior Kedon Slovis, 6-3, 195.
Prescott at Phoenix Horizon, Thursday, 6 p.m.
Horizon is laying low, flying under the radar and Cody Collett is back coaching at Prescott, this time as an assistant.
Apache Junction at Phoenix Arcadia, Thursday, 6 p.m.
New Arcadia coach Tony Stillings promises to push the tempo with senior QB Luke Ashworth.
Phoenix Alhambra at Phoenix St. Mary’s, Friday, 6 p.m.
St. Mary’s feels good about its offensive and defensive lines. But will the young skill-position guys be able to make the most of it? This scrimmage will be held at the park across the street from St. Mary’s gym.
Maricopa at Scottsdale Notre Dame, Friday, 7 p.m.
This is not only a good chance to see a strong, veteran Notre Dame team but to see how the lights are working since the school had to go through so much tweaking since last season when the residents in the area complained of the brightness.
Show Low at Thatcher, Friday, 7 p.m.
Good chance to see how much of the same offense and defense Monte Maxwell kept at Show Low after replacing state champion coach Randy Ricedorff. Thatcher is reloading after capturing the 2A state championship.
Phoenix Thunderbird at Peoria, Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Andy Wittenwyler is in his third year at quarterback leading his father’s offense at Thunderbird. Nate Dobson is an emerging quarterback who is coming off a strong season at Peoria.
Mesa Desert Ridge at Mesa Mountain View, Aug. 16, 6 p.m.
Mountain View has one of the best wide receivers in the state with junior Jacobby Dinwiddie. Desert Ridge has one of the state’s top lock-down corners in senior Donjae Logan, a recent Stanford commit. Great match-up.
Peoria Sunrise Mountain, Surprise Valley Vista, Glendale Ironwood at Glendale Deer Valley, Aug. 16, 7 p.m.
Good four-way scrimmage and a chance for Deer Valley to see if it can mix in a passing game with what should be a potent run game behind junior running back Dez Melton.
Scottsdale Coronado at Phoenix Northwest Christian, Aug 16, 6 p.m.
The Curt LeBlanc era at Coronado should be interesting and his Dons will get a good test against a solid Northwest Christian team that brings back a strong line, led by Jaden Hoyt.
Glendale Mountain Ridge at Goodyear Millennium, Aug. 16, 6 p.m.
Two new coaches will try out new systems hoping to find reasons for hope heading into the regular season.
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