By Greg Perkins
The state playoffs for Division VI get underway this weekend with fifth seeded Joseph City playing host to No. 12 St. David. The 7-1 Wildcats face a 5-3 Tiger team they defeated by just seven points in their last meeting two years ago.
Joseph City has played well this year, but unlike the past couple of years they enter the state playoffs as an underdog to win their fourth straight crown. Their only loss was to fourth ranked Mogollon, but with an expected first round win, they will meet up with unbeaten Joy Christian in the second round. Joseph City defeated Joy Christian in last year’s state title game.
Look for the Wildcats to be challenged a little in round one, but if they can get past St. David, they will really be tested in the second round.
Monument Valley has cruised through the season unbeaten, which has placed them in the top four of the Division IV power point rankings with two weeks left in the regular season. The Mustangs might be a good team, but their 8-0 record may be misleading. While they deserve credit for having won every game, they have certainly not played any quality teams. Tonight they face Winslow, which will mark their first outing against a good club.
The Bulldogs are coming in off a big win over Coconino last week and while their 5-3 record is not as out-standing as the Mustang’s, their level of opponents has been much tougher.
In their past four meetings, Winslow has defeated Monument Valley by an average of 38 points per game. Last year’s outcome was a 60-12 decision in favor of the Bulldogs. If the Mustangs are worthy of their lofty ranking they will make this a closer game than most people think. If their wins, all over reservation teams have done a poor job of preparing them for a good team, they will get steamrolled by the Bulldogs. Winslow is not in the upper tier of Division IV, but they are a good middle seeded team and will give the Mustangs their first real test.
Snowflake hosts Mingus in what should be another close game for the Lobos. Last week’s 14-7 overtime win over a stingy Round Valley squad showed how a good defense can slow down the Lobo attack.
Mingus and Snowflake come into this game with identical 6-2 records. The Marauders had their six-game winning streak snapped last week as they suffered a 17-0 shutout by rival Prescott. The Lobos survived a scare against the Elks and have now won four straight games.
Last season the Lobos won a close 32-29 game in Cottonwood. With both teams again headed to the post-season this year expect this to be another closely contested game that could come down to the final possession.
Holbrook’s disappointing home field loss to Walden Grove last week dimmed its state playoff chances, but tonight the Roadrunners do have an opportunity to avenge an ugly 15-12 home field loss to Chinle last year. Traveling to Chinle the Roadrunners will still have their hands full, especially playing without some key players due to injury.
The Wildcats are 4-4 on the season, but their wins over Ganado, Window Rock, Many Farms and Rough Rock are similar to Holbrook’s wins over Window Rock and Alchesay. Neither team has beaten a quality opponent, making this game competitive.
With Round Valley slated as Holbrook’s final game of the year, if the Birds want to finish the season with three wins they need to get it tonight (Oct. 19). Last year the Birds won just one game. They have already doubled that to two wins this season, but a second straight loss to Chinle would be deflating to a program hoping to improve. If they can play with a full roster, Holbrook has the talent to win this game. If they have to play without some key players, they could be in trouble in Wildcat country.
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By Greg Perkins