By Greg Perkins
The final games of the regular season are slated tonight (Oct. 26), including a definite season ending game for Holbrook, a potentially season ending game for Joseph City, and a look ahead to the state playoffs for Snowflake and Winslow.
Joseph City advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 60-34 first round over St. David last week. With that victory the Cats move on to face Joy Christian in a rematch of last year’s state title game. Playing as the fifth seeded team Joseph City will have to travel to Glendale tonight to face fourth ranked Joy Christian.
The Eagles come into this matchup unbeaten with eight wins on the season. The two only have one common opponent this year, with each getting past Bagdad, although Joy Christian had a larger margin of victory in its win.
Last year the Wildcats won the title game 38-6 with relative ease as they claimed their third consecutive title. If they want to earn a fourth straight crown, they will have to play very well tonight trying to stop an Ea-gle offense which regularly puts 60-plus points on the board.
Holbrook comes into tonight’s game having dropped five straight games, including a disappointing loss to Chinle last week. The Roadrunners have been playing without some key players on both sides of the ball, which has had a direct effect on their last two losses. Tonight Holbrook hosts Round Valley in what will be the final action of the year at Roadrunner Stadium.
While the Roadrunners are out of the playoff hunt, the Elks come into this game ranked No. 17 in Division V and need a win to get into the state playoffs. Round Valley is just 3-6 on the year and has lost two straight games, including last week’s 28-13 loss to Thatcher. Two weeks ago the Elks took a very good Snowflake team to overtime before losing by seven.
Round Valley may have a smaller student enrollment, but it also has a strong tradition in its football pro-gram. That combined with the Elks needing a win could be enough for them to take care of the Roadrunners.
Snowflake survived Round Valley two weeks ago, then beat a solid Mingus team 37-17 last week. If the Lobos can avoid a letdown, they should easily get past a 2-7 team in Safford tonight. The Bulldogs, who have struggled for most of the year, come into this matchup on a four-game skid.
Last season Snowflake won this contest 49-7 and this year’s game could have a similar outcome as the Lobos prepare to make a deep playoff run.
Winslow humbled Monument Valley last week, handing the Mustangs their first loss of the sea-son. Tonight they will see another unbeaten team across the field, but the quality of the opponent has increased immensely. Blue Ridge is 10-0 on the year and headed to another state title game appearance. Last week Blue Ridge was tested a little in a 24-14 win over Show Low, but Winslow doesn’t have the same horsepower of the Cougar team. The Bulldogs are a good team and have a chance to advance past the first round of the playoffs, but like most other teams in the division, they can’t match up with a really good Yellowjacket team, especially in Lakeside.
Blue Ridge prevailed 45-7 last year, and fans can expect a similar outcome tonight.
By Greg Perkins