By Greg Perkins
After Joseph City fell to Joy Christian 74-24 in the second round of the Division VI state football playoffs last week, that leaves only two area teams involved in post-season action tonight (Nov. 2). Snowflake finished as the fourth overall seed in Division IV and Winslow enters the playoffs as the number seven team in the rankings.
Tonight the Bulldogs definitely have the tougher test as they welcome in 10th seeded Buckeye. This may well be the most competitive of all eight first round matchups.
Buckeye is 7-3 on the season, but lost to the only team on its schedule that advanced to the post-season, fifth ranked Estrella Foothills. Buckeye hasn’t played as tough of an overall schedule as Winslow, but will still present a formidable test for the Bulldogs.
Winslow finished the regular schedule with a 6-4 mark, but three of those four losses came to some of the top teams in the state tournament, Blue Ridge, Show Low and Snowflake. The Bulldogs’ only other loss was to a solid Flagstaff team early in the season.
Buckeye will be making a very long road trip and playing at a higher altitude could give the Hawks problems. If Winslow can get in front early and force Buckeye to play from behind, the Bulldogs may have a chance to advance to face Show Low in the second round. The Cougars should easily get past Fountain Hills in their first round match up.
Snowflake finished the season 8-2 as the fourth overall seed and enters the post-season on a roll, having won the past five games. The return of Chase Walden has given Snowflake a potent offensive attack both on the ground and through the air. Playing as perhaps the most balanced team in terms of rush and pass offense, Snowflake should certainly advance to the semifinal round where Blue Ridge is sure to be waiting.
Tonight the Lobos host No. 13 Payson, which comes in with a 6-4 record. The Longhorns have been in a rebuilding mode for the past couple of years, and have put together enough of the pieces to make the post-season. They share two common opponents, with the Longhorns losing big to both Mingus and Show Low. Snowflake beat Mingus impressively, but fell to the Cougars in a close game played without Walden. If the Lobos play to their potential they will make Payson’s visit to the post-season a brief one. The Lobos are playing well and will advance to see either No. 5 Estrella Foothills or No. 12 Empire in round two.
By Greg Perkins