By Greg Perkins
Week four of the football season has all area teams playing on the road tonight (Sept. 14).
With Winslow and Snowflake both losing last week, the Joseph City Wildcats are the only local team left with an unbeaten streak. The Cats will be tested for the first time this season when they travel to Heber to match up with a Mogollon Mustang team which is also 3-0 on the campaign. Neither team has played a real tough schedule to date, and they have similar statistics in their wins, although Joseph City did receive a forfeit win in week number two. Last year the Wildcats got the better of the Mustangs twice, once during the regular season and again in the playoffs, with neither game being very competitive score wise. Look for this year’s contest to be much closer than either of last season’s matchups. Mogollon has given up just six points in three games, so the Wildcat offense, which has racked up some impressive numbers through the first three weeks, will be put to the test if Joseph City wants to remain unbeaten. Despite the outcome of this game, these teams could easily see each other again later in the playoffs, as both are in the upper tier of Division VI.
Going into last week’s game with Blue Ridge, several Lobo fans and many area football fans in general expected to see a good game between two of the top three ranked teams in Division IV. As it turned out, what fans witnessed was just how good Blue Ridge really is and just how far the Lobos need to go if they aspire to upset the Yellowjackets’ bid for another state title. This week the Snowflake squad needs to regroup quickly as it makes a short trip down the road to face another tough White Mountain squad in Show Low. The Cougars are 3-0 with quality wins over St. Johns, Florence and Round Valley, all three playoff caliber teams in their respective divisions. Snowflake won last year’s matchup at Lobo Stadium by just 13 points. The two prior meetings were controlled by the Cougars. Show Low usually plays tough at home, and if the Lobos are having any mental residue from last week’s shutout loss to Blue Ridge, they could easily head for home with their second straight loss.
After winning on the road in the first two weeks, the Winslow Bulldogs were surprisingly upset in their home opener by a Flagstaff team they easily handled last season. The Eagles battled Winslow tough on the turf, using some strong special team play and a strong defense, which turned away the Bulldogs in the red zone on several occasions. Winslow had its chances, but the Bulldogs’ mistakes combined with a solid Eagle defense were enough to keep them on the wrong side of the 18-10 final. This week the Dawgs will be able to take out their frustrations on the Hornets in Ganado. This matchup has been entirely dominated by Winslow over at least the past decade. While the Hornets come in with the same 2-1 mark as the Bulldogs, their wins over Valley and Hopi are nothing to write home about. Their loss to an improved Chinle team shows how vulnerable they will be to a much tougher group from Winslow. The Bulldogs will roll to a 3-1 start.
Holbrook picked up its first win of the season in impressive fashion with a rout over a winless Alchesay team. This week the Roadrunners have a chance to even their mark at 2-2 if they can maintain their momentum. Playing at Window Rock is tough for any opponent, although the Scouts are the only team the Holbrook program has had control over in the past three seasons. The Roadrunners have won the last three meetings, with last year’s 10-point margin being the closest in those meetings. Window Rock comes into this game with wins over Many Farms and Valley. Their only loss was a 50-point blow out against St. Johns. Not only will this game determine who is better between the Roadrunners and the Scouts, it will also give Holbrook fans a chance to see how they compare with a Redskins team they will see later in the season. This game will most likely be closer than last week’s for the Birds, but if the offensive line can put together good performances in back-to-back weeks Holbrook has a chance to move to 2-2.
By Greg Perkins