By Greg Perkins
Snowflake and Winslow both advanced to the second round of the state football playoffs and each has a tougher second round opponent waiting.
Seventh seeded Winslow now has to travel to second ranked Seton Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 16, where the Bulldogs will meet up with the defending state champions. The Sentinels have dropped just one game this year against Snowflake, the only common opponent the Bulldogs and Sentinels share this year. Snowflake defeated Winslow 46-16 and beat Seton in a much closer game, 28-23.
Both Winslow and Seton average nearly 400 yards of offense per game, although the Sentinels average nearly 225 yards through the air, while Winslow primarily uses a strong rushing attack to gain yardage. For the Bulldogs to keep this game close they will need to put pressure on Seton’s air assault. Playing in the Valley will make Winslow’s job that much more difficult. The Bulldogs piled up eight wins against only three losses this year, but this may be their toughest test of the season.
Snowflake struggled early last week, but eventually cruised to a big opening round win over Rio Rico. This week the Lobos will welcome in River Valley. The Dust Devils are ranked sixth in power points and bring an impressive 10-1 record to Lobo Stadium. Snowflake played the toughest schedule of any Division III team this year and that will be to the Lobos’ advantage in this game.
Both teams gain over 400 yards per game, and both can put points on the board. River Valley averages 47 points per game, while the Lobos score 42 per game. Snowflake has more balance in its offensive attack with Ty Reidhead running the show. Combine that with their tougher schedule and the Lobos have the edge. Their only common opponent this year was Estrella Foothills. River Valley defeated the Wolves 55-7, while Snowflake beat them 42-21. Of the four quarterfinal round match-ups, this may well be the best game.
Once the dust settles expect this year’s final four to look the same as last year’s. Blue Ridge, Show Low, Snowflake and Seton Catholic just might be the four remaining teams on Saturday night. Winslow and River Valley could make their games close, but the edge in both games has to go to the higher seeds.
By Greg Perkins