By Greg Perkins–
It seems like just a couple of weeks ago players were lacing up their cleats for the first game of the year, but tonight (Oct. 28) will mark the final game of the regular season for the Roadrunners.
Holbrook has had a rough season with just one win in eight attempts. Round Valley has fared somewhat better, but the Elks are not anywhere near the level of team they have been in the past several years. A new coach, and a totally different philosophy have taken the Elks through an adjustment period. They come into tonight with a 4-5 record, but will still most likely reach the playoffs in Division V.
The last time these two teams met in the dome was two years ago in the first round of the old 3A playoffs. Round Valley won that game 35-8. Unless the Roadrunners can solve their turnover problem, which has plagued them throughout this season, they could be looking at a similar score tonight. The Roadrunners fell to Chinle on Homecoming night, primarily due to their failure to protect the ball. Round Valley poses a much bigger threat than Chinle did. If the Birds turn the ball over with regularity, they will be in for a long night.
After three weeks on the road, the Lobos finally get to play a home game when they welcome in the Safford Bulldogs on Senior Night. Snowflake has gone through a tough three-game road stretch, picking up three straight wins to push the season mark to an impressive 8-1. The Lobos’ only loss came at the hands of unbeaten Blue Ridge in week three of the season. Safford has struggled to a 3-6 record this year with wins over smaller schools, but hasn’t had an impressive win all season. The Bulldogs have lost three of their last four contests, and unless the Lobos have a total collapse tonight, they will head home with another loss. These two last met in the second round of the 3A playoffs in the 2008-09 season and the Lobos came out on top. Snowflake is simply too good this year. Hopefully, the Lobos will end up on the opposite side of the bracket from Blue Ridge, because these are the best two teams in Division IV.
Winslow gets the pleasure of hosting Blue Ridge on Senior Night at Nasser Stadium. The Bulldogs have a nice record at 7-2, but they struggled with two teams the Yellowjackets have already beaten, Show Low and Snowflake. Coach BJ Little and his staff have done a solid job this season with a young football team that promises to be good in the near future. Unfortunately, Blue Ridge is good now. The Jackets have been in the state championship game the past two years and all things point to another return trip this season. The last time these two teams met was in the 2005-06 season, when Winslow won 19-14. Unfortunately for Bulldog fans, that kind of outcome isn’t likely to happen tonight. Winslow is good, but Blue Ridge is better.
Tonight’s game in Joseph City mark’s just the second time the Wildcats have been on their home field in a month. They had a bye in their schedule early in October and last week they earned a first round bye in the playoffs. Their opponent tonight will be archrival Mogollon. Playing as the No. 5 seed, the Mustangs took care of 12th seeded Duncan in the first round last week. These two teams are very familiar with one another. In their earlier meeting the Wildcats won 72-26, although the total yards for both teams were much closer than the final score. Joseph City has won back-to-back state titles and appears to be headed for a threepeat. The Cats put up 98 points against Orme two weeks ago. They won’t score that many tonight, in fact this game will most likely be much closer in score than their first meeting this year. Even so, playing at home will give the Wildcats enough of an edge to advance to the state semi-finals.