By Greg Perkins
Four weeks remain in the regular season for 3A East Region teams, but only two are left in the 1A ranks.
Joseph City enters tonight’s contest ranked 12th in the 1A rankings and needs to remain at that sport or higher to reach post-season play. With a match up with current No. 2 team Mogollon as the season finale, the Wildcats’ home tilt against Fredonia on Friday night, Oct. 6, becomes critical in terms of their state playoff hopes.
Last week the Wildcats took care of business with a solid road win at El Capitan. Fredonia won its first game of the season, but has since dropped five straight including the last two to Mogollon and Williams by a combined total score of 117-8. Last season the Cats won this match up in Fredonia 45-0. Look for another Wildcat victory in this game, although the score may be closer than last year’s outcome. As long as the Wildcats don’t get caught looking ahead to next week they should be able to keep their post-season hopes alive with a win.
Winslow is coming off its first loss of the season and now hits the road for a tough match up with Blue Ridge. Last year this game resulted in an 8-7 decision in favor of the Bulldogs, who were playing on their home turf. With the game in Lakeside this year, the Dawgs will have their hands full. The Yellowjackets showed last week they are balanced on offense with a strong running game complemented by a good passing game. If the Bulldogs can bounce back emotionally from their first loss of the season to Snowflake a week ago they may have a chance to pick up a win. Both teams are capable of winning this game.
The Bulldogs dropped in the rankings from third to eighth with just the one loss. With the top eight teams getting a first round home game, they need to come back with a road win at Blue Ridge. The Jackets moved up to No. 19 in the rankings and need to climb at least three spots higher to qualify for post-season action. This is a big game for both squads.
Snowflake took down unbeaten Winslow last week and tonight the Lobos get a chance to avenge last year’s opening round playoff loss to Payson. The Lobos entered the post-season last year as the No. 2 overall seed, but quickly saw their season come to a close at the hands of Payson. The Longhorns are just 1-5 on the season, but have played some tough competition. The Lobos proved last week they are in the upper tier of the East Region. Despite this game being played in Payson, the Lobos should be able to climb above their current No. 7 ranking with a win, although the game could be very close.
Holbrook limps into Friday’s contest with Show Low on the heels of last week’s crushing Homecoming loss to Blue Ridge. Show Low, on the other hand, defeated Payson somewhat easily and has moved to No. 11 in this week’s rankings. Last season the Cougars won this game 45-22. Unless Holbrook can somehow fix its issues on defense the Cougars may eclipse last year’s point total. Holbrook has to take care of the ball and will have to put points on the board in a big way to keep pace with a good Show Low unit.
Last week’s loss pretty much eliminated the Roadrunners from any thoughts of post-season action. The Cougars are hoping to secure a top eight seed and the first round home game that comes with it. Holbrook may not provide much in the way of a roadblock to the Cougars’ plans.