Can South Region, Winslow dent White Mtn. schools in 3A?

November 11, 2010 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

An all-White Mountain 3A semifinal? It has happened before. Could happen again.

That scenario is as much up to Winslow, Coolidge, Florence and Fountain HIlls as it is to Show Low, Snowflake, Round Valley and Blue Ridge  as 3A quarterfinal matchups come to the East Valley on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Doubleheaders are set Saturday at Williams Field and Desert Ridge high schools. The twinbill at Williams Field pits Show Low against Winslow at 4 p.m. followed by Coolidge and Snowflake at 7. Action at Desert Ridge begins at 4 with Fountain Hills taking on Blue Ridge and  Florence tangling with Round Valley at 7.

In the limited interaction among those schools this season, the outcomes have favored White Mountain squads. Coolidge lost in overtime to Round Valley, 36-35, and Fountain Hills had a tough time with Show Low, bowing to the Cougars, 44-2. Winslow lost a couple of close games with Round Valley and Snowflake.

Here's a peek at the quarterfinal matchups:

No. 8 Winslow (9-2) vs. No. 1 Show Low (10-1): Slowing the passing game of Show Low may not be possible, but it has to be Winslow's focus. Show Low quarterback Rathen Ricedorff has enjoyed a record-breaking season. He's passed for 3,432 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes. Wide outs Josh Weeks already has more than 1,000 yards receiving and 14 TD receptions. Trevar MacArthur with is closing in on 1,000 with 901 on 46 catches and 13 TDs. Winslow will rely on the ground game, led by running back Wendell Carter, who has rushed for 1,743 yards and 28 TDs. Carter had 159 yards last week against Empire. Quarterback Kraig Shirley also made a big contribution with three TDs and 91 yards rushing and has been effective since returning from injury.

No. 5 Coolidge (10-1) vs. No. 4 Snowflake (8-2): Coolidge has only one loss, a huge one, 51-0, to Florence back in mid-September. The Bears rely on ruunning backs Seth Ellis and Tone Hooker, who have combined for  2,306 yards rushing and 31 TDs. The Bears haven't played anyone from the 3A East this season so they are bound to see better defenses from here on out. Snowflake likes to run more than throw. The Lobos are led by running back Tyler Johnson, who has 16 touchdowns (10 rushing and six receiving). The team's leading rusher is Ammon McKinlay with a little more than 800 yards. The Lobos two losses are to Show Low and Blue Ridge, neither of whom they came close to beating.

No. 6 Round Valley (7-4) vs. No. 3 Florence (10-1): The teams will be hard pressed to match the excitement of their first meeting in September, the Elks winning on a two-point conversion in the final 30 seconds. Round Valley opts to wing it with quarterback Chantz Davis throwing it all over, especially to Rulon Udall and Shad Lindsey. Florence would love to avenge its only loss of the season. The Gophers running game gave Round Valley trouble the first time with Kyle Washington and Nick Brown each rushing for better than 100 yards. Washington leads Florence with 20 TDs and is an equally dangerous receiving threat averging 28 yards per catch. He has 10 TDs rushing and 10 receiving. Florence hasn't had senior quarterback Jace Hulsey the last couple weeks. Junior Harrison Parker has filled in admirably, making the rushing game more difficult to defend. Hulsey is questionable to play this week.

No. 7 Fountain Hills (8-3) vs. No. 2 Blue Ridge (10-0): Fountain Hills survived to this game with an overtime win over Wickenburg last week, one in which the Falcons trailed 28-7 in the third period. The Falcons will need every weapon at their disposal to upset Blue Ridge. The return of QB Rainer Greenstreet, who passed for 211 yards and three TDs to key the victory last week, was critical. Fountain Hills ground game is led by Trace Johnson and Wesley Musa. Wide out Mike DeGroote is its top receiving threat. Blue Ridge has quite an arsenal on offense. It starts with the rushing attack, which features six players with 200 yards or more. The leaders are Chayse Russell and Jorgan Morgan, who have combined for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets average 10 yards per carry and have thrown an average of just seven times a game. Their most impressive stat is on defense. They've allowed just 66 points all season.