By Greg Perkins
Of the four remaining teams in the Division IV State Football Playoffs, area fans are quite familiar with three as Snowflake, Blue Ridge and Show Low all reached the semifinal round. In this case, the power point rankings were right as these are the top four ranked teams. Top seeded Blue Ridge takes on No. 4 Snowflake on Saturday, Nov. 17. Second seeded Show Low meets up with third ranked Seton Catholic.
The matinee game between Show Low’s Cougars and the Sentinels could turn into an offensive explosion. Both teams like to utilize the pass, with the Sentinels having the better quarterback. Show Low’s hopes may lie with its defense and ground game. If the Cougars can keep the ball away from Seton, they have a good chance to reach the final game for the third year in a row.
Many people believe the championship will be determined in the nightcap at Washington High School in Glendale. Blue Ridge is the undefeated defending champion and with the exception of a 10-point win over Show Low, the Yellowjackets really haven’t been tested this season. They shut out Snowflake 50-0 in their first meeting this year, but this will be a different Lobo team they will be facing. Chase Walden was not on the field in the first meeting and his return to the Snowflake lineup has given the Lobos a well balanced attack.
Blue Ridge is still Blue Ridge, and even with a stellar game by the Lobos, the Jackets still have to be considered the favorites based on the whole season’s performance. In order to beat them, the Lobos will have to play much better than they did in the quarterfinal round win over Empire. If the Lobos put together their best performance of the season and catch the Yellowjackets looking ahead to a third straight title game appearance, they might just be able to pull the upset. If the Jackets are firing on all cylinders, they will be tough for anyone to beat.
Either way, the winner of this game will be the favorite in the title game against either Show Low or Seton Catholic.
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By Greg Perkins