Prep football previews: Oct. 22
Antelope at Tonopah Valley
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Records: Rams (2-5 overall, 1-3 2A West Region); Phoenix (2-5 overall, 1-3 2A West Region)
Last week: Antelope lost to Arizona Lutheran 61-32; Tonopah lost to Phoenix Christian 26-23
Players to watch: Receiver Chris Weimer had a monster game for the Rams, scoring all five touchdowns on 230 receiving yards. ... ILB Russell Pierce is nearing 100 tackles on the year for Lutheran, and is also the team's third-leading rusher.
Antelope coach John Blabe's comments: “We have to tackle a lot better than we did last week. We had 350 yards in offense, but we gave up 550. We have to tackle people. That's been our problem all year long. That's the key is to make some defensive stops. I haven't had anyone catch five touchdowns in a game before, so our offense is sure there. But stopping their running game — that's the key.”
The lowdown: It's the penultimate game for both teams, and the last game for the Rams before they face rival Yuma Catholic next week. ... Tonopah scored 24 points in its first four games, including two shutouts. It's scored 78 points in its last three games, in which they've gone 2-1. ... Antelope's two wins are against teams that are a combined 0-13. Tonopah's two wins are against teams that are a combined 3-12.
Lake Havasu at Cibola
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Raider Field
Records: Knights (6-1 overall, 3-0 GVR); Raiders (7-0, 2-0)
Last week: Lake Havasu defeated Kofa 51-8, Cibola defeated Yuma High 42-6.
Players to watch: Running back Paul Lake, who leads the Knights with 849 yards, ran for just 13 yards in his team's loss to Cibola earlier this year. ... Cibola sophomore Jordan Mitchell ran for 201 yards and four scores in the teams' first meeting this year and has 1,513 yards on the season.
Cibola coach Lucky Arvizo's comments: “They've got some speed on offense and are going to try to spread us out and make some gaps. We're going to have to be disciplined in our assignments.”
The lowdown: The Raiders won the first meeting 42-18 in Lake Havasu — the 18 points being the most Cibola has surrendered in a game this year. ... Havasu's average region win is 51-11, Cibola's is 42-9. ... Cibola has won 11 of its last 12 regular season games. The Knights lost four straight to end last year, and have won four straight this year since losing to the Raiders. ... Andre Hernandez has three sacks to lead Raiders. He also had a season-high nine tackles against Havasu earlier this year.
Gila Ridge at Kofa
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Irv Pallack Field
Records: Hawks (6-1 overall, 2-0 GVR); Kings (0-8, 0-2)
Last week: Gila Ridge defeated San Luis 55-6; Kofa lost to Lake Havasu 51-8.
Players to watch: Gila Ridge QB Mike Pancrazi has completed 32 of 52 passes for 602 yards and eight touchdown passes. He's also the team's third-leading rusher and is averaging 8.6 yards per carry. ... Anthoni Rubal had a touchdown pass for Kofa against Havasu last week.
Gila Ridge coach Jay Denton's comments: “We're just working on getting ourselves better. We have to prepare for them. They throw it a lot and you always have to prepare for that, but we've been working on correcting our things and getting ready for them.”
Kofa coach Kevin Moore's comments: “Hopefully I think our guys didn't like taking it on the chin last time and come back with the thought about getting some kind of payback.”
The lowdown: The teams met in Week 2, a 40-8 win for the Hawks. The Hawks outgained the Kings 343-102 in the game and had four fourth-quarter touchdowns. ... The win earlier this year didn't count toward region standings, leaving Kofa as the only foe the Hawks haven't defeated in region play. ... Kofa is 4-14 since winning the GVR in 2008. ... Andy Meza leads the Hawks in both rushing and solo tackles. ... Kevin Vizcarra has a team-high eight sacks for the Hawks, which also leads the region.
Yuma High at San Luis
Kickoff: 7 p.m., The Pit
Records: Criminals (0-7 overall, 0-3 GVR); Sidewinders (0-5, 0-2)
Last week: Yuma High lost to Cibola 42-6; San Luis lost to Gila Ridge 55-6.
Players to watch: Yuma High running back Travon Clark had one of his biggest games of the season last year against the Sidewinders, rushing 11 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the teams' second meeting last year, a 61-0 win. ... San Luis quarterback David Contreras threw for 123 yards last week, his best performance of the year.
Yuma High coach Tom Fox's comments: “I think one thing people don't understand is that even when you're struggling at 0-7, the kids are still enjoying it. The practices have been fun and upbeat, and they're going out there every day, every week and competing. There's a lot to look forward to over the next three weeks. ... Guys are upbeat and having a great time. There's a lot of football left to play.”
San Luis coach Fernando Solano's comments: “We just have to put a complete game together. We're doing a good job of tackling on defense. Offense-wise we have to take care of the ball to give ourselves a chance and don't let them get a rhythm.”
The lowdown: One team is going to have to win against this battle between the two programs at the bottom of their respective power rankings. San Luis is No. 31 in the 5A-I rankings, while Yuma High is No. 32 in 5A-II. ... The teams played twice last year, with the Criminals winning both by a combined 116-0. ... The six points the Sidewinders scored last week was the first time they've scored against a 5A school this year. It was also the first time they scored in a region game since an Oct. 16, 2009, game against Gila Ridge. The last time they scored in region not against the Hawks was a 50-32 loss to Yuma High to end the 2008 season. That year started with a 14-6 win over Carl Hayden, the last time the Sidewinders have won — a span of 24 games.
Phoenix Christian at Yuma Catholic
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Ricky Gwynn Stadium
Records: Cougars 3-4 overall, 3-1 2A West Region); Shamrocks (7-1, 4-1)
Last week: Phoenix Christian beat Tonopah Valley, 26-23; Yuma Catholic lost to Northwest Christian 14-10.
Players to watch: Inside linebacker Brennan Talcott has 92 tackles this year, and has forced a fumble and recovered one for the Cougars. ... Defensive end Matt Ousna has 6.5 sacks to lead the Shamrocks this year, and has been seeing more time at fullback.
YC coach Rhett Stallworth's comments: “It's just business as usual. We have to control what we can control and not worry about the rest. There's nothing wrong with our formula, we just had a few mishaps and it wasn't good enough to win. It won't happen again.”
The lowdown: The loss to Northwest Christian moved the Crusaders to the top of the 2A power rankings, while the Shamrocks fell from No. 1 to No. 4. ... YC quarterback Tommy Pistone has completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,565 yards. He's thrown 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. ... Julian Higuera is second on the team with 551 rushing yards, but has 12 touchdowns — eight more than the closest Shamrock rusher. ... Before last week, the Shamrocks' lowest offensive output was 28 points. Aside from 42 points against winless Westwind Prep, the Cougars' highest single-game score was 28 points against Antelope.